My insurance company wants me to protect our propane tank from possible
impact by a vehicle.
I propose sinking three six inch PVC pipes about 2 feet into the ground,
anchoring them with concrete and filling each pipe with concrete and two
steel reinforcing rods. There will be a barrier at each end of the tank and
in the middle. They will be the same height as the tank and be about two
feet out from it.,
Will this do the job?
The difference between intelligence and stupidity is that intelligence has
I suspect that if they did not break off, the posts would just rip out of
Maybe six inch steel pipe filled with concrete, sunk about 3 feet in the
ground, then pour a footing 1-1/2 or 2 feet square and 2 feet deep.
Ask your insurance compny what they expect for a barrier. Do they acually
want it to stop a car, or just look like it might! Do they want to stop a
vehicle traveling 60 MPH? or 5 MPH?
The appearance of compliance may be enough! (Then your PVC idea may be
You will need steel columns. Cement is very brittle and will not stop the
impact alone. PVC is very flexible and also will give too much. Steel
holds the cement intact and together complement each others strength. You
can get these posts pre cut and filled for this very purpose. Look in the
phone book for Highway safety equipment dealers. If you make it yourself,
use high strength cement inside, not the cheap posthole stuff (use that for
the footing should be OK).
I expect that 2 feet in the ground is also insufficient depending on the
ground surface you are putting it in. Check with the insurance inspector or
local planning board (your city hall) for recommendations for the local
conditions. Sandy soil, hard clay, frost level etc may effect how deep and
how much footing to pour around it.
As with anything you can engineer a wimpy barrier just sufficient to satisfy
the insurance company and minimize cost or you can build one that works when
you need it to.
The house on the corner of my street was hit 3 times last year. Third time
they had steel/cement posts (looked like 3 feet deep with about 18" of
cement footing) and the last impact tilted the post 45 degrees as the car
rode over it but it did stop it before it hit the house again.
If your protecting against a minor bump (backed up too far when pulling
out), you can place them close to the tank (as far as they are tall). If
you are protecting from a full impact (car careens off road) You'll need 4-6
feet between the barrier and the tank.
Make sure the top of the barrior does not become a point with which to
puncture the tank if it is hit (thus the minimum distance of more than its
height). That would defeat its purpose.
If this area has had an accident before, it would be a good idea to over
engineer it because the odds of it happening again are pretty good. If it
just looks suspect to the inspector, you can probably get away with a
Your will like your propane tank alot better by "submerging it" in
your yard! Just leave the top of it sticking out enough that your
propane delivery man can connect to the fittings. In this manner,
vehicles won't hit your tank and your yard won't look like a petroleum
refinery! My wife loves the way I replaced her old 160 gallon above
ground tanks with one 500 gallon underground tank. You can rent
a backhoe to dig the hole if you aren't up to hand shoveling the dirt.
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