Propane is a clean, abundant fuel that keeps homes and businesses warm and inviting. Propane is stored in tanks and cylinders that are installed, filled, inspected and serviced by Superior’s team of technical experts.
There’s a lot to know about tank sizes, tank placement, tank safety and more. Whether you are new to propane or already using this clean-burning, environmentally friendly energy source, here are the top 10 features you should know about propane tanks.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that propane is stored in either a cylinder or a tank. A cylinder can be transported with the fuel in it, whereas a tank is transported and installed empty and then filled onsite. We will call them tanks for the purpose of this article.
- Lifespan. A residential or commercial propane tank can last for decades with periodic inspection and maintenance. You’ll find the expiry date stamped on the collar of a cylinder or on a plate attached to the tank. If you rent from Superior Propane, rest assured we keep records of your expiry date as well as required inspections to ensure your tank is in proper working order.
- Safety. The storage and handling of propane is regulated by each province and our technical specialists work with authorities to comply with all safety codes and standards when it comes to installing, inspecting and servicing our propane tanks. Our customers’ safety is our number one priority.
- Cost. The cost to fill a propane tank depends on the size of the tank, but another important factor to consider is the efficiency of this fuel source and related equipment. Propane furnaces can exceed 95% efficiency and can result in cost savings of more than 25% compared to oil. Adding to your overall savings, appliances and furnaces that run on propane typically have a longer life span and lower maintenance costs. You can also control costs with our budget-friendly fixed price plan, which guarantees your propane rate for a year at a time, protecting you from unpredictable energy prices.
- Weather. Propane tanks can withstand extreme temperatures with a few measures. In very extreme scenarios such as certain commercial applications or arctic climates, you may need to place a larger storage tank on the property, keep it fuller, or use a tank blanket or vaporizer — we can make a recommendation. In snowy conditions, please remember to clear a path to your tank so that our drivers and technicians can continue to deliver your propane or service your tank.
- Refilling. Superior customers have a few options for having their propane tanks refilled. Most customers prefer automatic deliveries so that they don’t have to remember to call us for a refill. Other customers prefer to monitor their own fuel level and will call us when their tank is 30% full, leaving enough time for the tank to be refilled before they run out.
- Gauge. Our SMART* TankTM wireless sensors are the best way to keep track of how much propane is left in your tank. We’ll email or text you a weekly update with your propane level, but you can also check it anytime on the mySUPERIOR web portal or by looking at the tank gauge.
- Valves. Propane tanks have three valves: a fill valve to fill the tank, a service valve that allows the propane vapour to leave the tank and enter the gas piping system, and a pressure relief valve to relieve excess pressure that might result in the rare event of overfilling or exposure to excessive heat or fire. None of these valves are serviceable by you, the customer. The only actions you should ever take are either closing the service valve (which will turn off the propane supply) by turning the hand-wheel clockwise or opening the service valve by turning the hand wheel counter-clockwise.
- Storage. Propane is stored under pressure in your tank as a liquid and is converted to a gas (or vapour) as the pressure decreases when the valve is released. For most applications, propane is burned as a gas. As a liquid, it resembles water and is colourless and odourless in its natural state. An odourant is added to propane to help detect a leak.
- Capacity. When propane changes from liquid to gas, it expands to more than 200 times its volume. Therefore, storing it in liquid form allows for more propane to fit in the tank. The volume of propane that can fit into a tank depends on the tank size.
- Disposal. If you need to dispose of a smaller propane cylinder like a barbecue tank, you can take it to most barbecue refill stations or contact your municipality. Larger cylinders and tanks are refurbished and reused until they can no longer be safely refinished.