Just bought house with 1,000 gallon propane tank (is this normal?)

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I just bought a house with a 1,000 gallon propane tank owned by the house and property tax is paid on the tank which is a California-only thing I hear.
They just filled the tank up to 85% (they wouldn't fill further they told my wife, otherwise it could blow up, they said).
They told me the price is $1.45 per gallon of propane plus about a twenty dollar "hazmat" fee whatever that means, for a total price a bit over a thousand dollars for the fill.
They said they "inspected" the system (which was existing), and they inspected the tank which is on on four-inch thick concrete slab bolted down by straps for earthquakes), and they charge $100 for that inspection (my wife let them in the house but she doesn't know what they did).
I never had propane before. I don't begrudge them anything.
But, I also don't know what's normal. Is this normal stuff?
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On Thu, 17 Dec 2015 22:55:01 -0000 (UTC), "M. Stradbury"

I have a 500 gal tank. They only fill mine to 80%. But they can not fill any tank to 100%. Even those 20lb tanks for your BBQ grill are only filled part way. In the sun, they expand, so if they were filled 100%, they would at least release gas, if not explode.
I dont know anything about your CA tax or what the Hazmat fee does. That's local to your area, I assume...
I'm charged for inspection too, and if the tank gets completely empty, they do it again, and charge me again. My fee is $50, and if you ask me, that's too much for spending 10 minutes looking at my pipes, tank, and regulator. They used to come indoors and light my furnace pilot light, but the last time they did that was years ago. They know I can light it, and I'm not always there when they deliver the gas. But they made me sign some disclaimer in order to light it myself, and they shut off the tank valve, so I have to turn it on. (Which makes sense because some things. like a gas range would release gas into the home is the pilot was not lit).
If I ONLY use propane, I have to get a fill mid winter. 500 gal is not enough for a whole winter for me. But I now use a pellet stove, and hope I can make it thru a winter on one tankful. This is my first year with that pellet stove, so I am not sure???
If I did not OWN my tank, it would cost me over $100 a year to lease a tank from them. I paid around $1000 for my tank about 8 years ago, so it's about paid for itself. Before that, I was leasing one from them, and because of that, I was limited to ONLY get my gas from that company. Now I can shop for the best price.
Your price per gallon is about 16 cents (per gal) lower than I paid last summer, but gasoline is way down now and LP (propane) is a petroleum product. I'd probably pay about the same as you now...
Two winters ago, propane was almost $5.00 a gallon. That hurt !!! (It had something to do with a shortage). That's what caused me to invest in the pellet stove.
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On 12/17/2015 6:52 PM, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moc wrote:

Another web portal user. Who won't see my reply.
When I worked for one place, they told us the 80% capacity was already figured in, and we put 20 pounds in the 20 pounders. I thought it was 16, but the boss said 20, and also the guy who taught the certification course so I could pump propane.
Also read on line, Blue Rhino was at one point put 15 pounds instead of 16. Maybe still do.
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On 12/17/2015 08:09 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:
[snip]

I just got a 20 pound propane tank filled. It weighted 20 pounds more than the empty tank.
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On 12/18/2015 7:05 PM, Mark Lloyd wrote:

http://www.orangecoat.com/the-truth-about-filling-20-lb-bbq-grill-propane-tanks
These "20 lb" tanks are designed to take up to 20 pounds of propane. You may get a pound or 2 less, depending on the temperature of the tank and surrounding air when the tank was filled. Cooler = more propane in, hotter = less in. Tanks can actually fit another 20% in the tank, but that extra space is designed for expansion as the temperature rises.
In very cold winter climates, like Canada, there may be more concern/rules about filling a tank to a complete 20 lbs. This is because if you leave a tank outside in very cold temps, filled the tank when the tank is cold, and then bring it into a hot basement/garage for a space heater, the gas will expand as the tank warms. With enough of a temperature increase, the tank's pressure relief value will release a bit of gas. This would be less of an issue if the relief value were bleeding to outside air.
Propane Tank Tare Weight on Collar
All propane tanks have a "tare weight" or "T.W." stamped on the collar of the tank. For a grill sized tank you simply calculate the tare weight + 20 lbs, and that's how much the tank should weigh when it's full. Most 20 lb tanks have a tare weight of +/- 17 pounds when completely empty. This means a "full" propane tank should weigh about 37 pounds.
There is also a month and year on the collar indicating the date the tank was made. For 20 lb propane tanks, you have 12 years from the manufacture date before the tank must be re-certified with a new date stamped on it. The re-certification only adds 5 years before having to re-certify again. The cost and inconvenience of re-certifying almost always outweighs the price of a new tank.
Brand new propane tanks may come with air inside and need to be "purged" before the first fill. Some newer tanks, like Bernzomatic, will have a sticker on them saying they don't need to be purged within 6 months of the manufacture date.
Purging requires a special adapter to allow a small amount of propane in. The pressure then pushes air out of a one-way bleeder valve. Purging may add another $3-4 dollars to a new tank, though some places don't charge, especially if you buy the tank from them.
Internet searches suggest the following:
1 gallon of propane weighs 4.2 pounds A "full" 20 lb cylinder should have 4.7 gallons or propane in it
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On Thu, 17 Dec 2015 17:52:37 -0600, Paintedcow wrote:

This outfit is called Amerigas.
They charge $60 per year to rent the tank, with the first year free. Of course, if you rent their tank, you don't have to pay for 10-year inspections of the regulators and the like, but you are limited to only getting gas from them.
Since the tank came with the house, and since I pay property tax on it every year, I can go to anyone I want.
But Amerigas seems to be the cheapest (Suburban and Kamps being two of the others).
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On Fri, 18 Dec 2015 04:47:01 -0000 (UTC), "M. Stradbury"

I've heard of them....

That's cheap to rent the tank compared to here. It was $120 here, but that was 8 years ago. It's either the same, or more now. (Nothing ever goes down in price except the gas itself).

Then you OWN the tank, which is great. They are not cheap! When I bought my 500gal tank, the new ones were around $1600, but they had these older models, and were still at $1000. I got the last one. I asked the guy what the difference was between the older model and the newer one. He said nothing except it's from a a different company, and the color is different. Mine is gray, the newer ones were white. He said the price went up because steel prices rose, and they changed companies because they got a better deal. They were selling the old ones at the same price they were the year before, because they wanted to get rid of them, so to not have different colors. (like I could care about the color).
Is there a special entry on your prop tax for the tank? I have never seen that. We pay taxes on the home and any permanent other buildings, and the land itself. That's all. I have a couple small sheds I built on wheels (old hay wagon frames). They are not permanent, so no taxes. Plus I can move them if I decide I want them closer to the house, or whatever. I could move them if I was to move elsewhere too. When I build livestock shelters, I dont put the posts in the ground. They are built on top of railroad ties, and that means they can be moved, so no taxes. (I do put trailer home anchors in the ground so they dont blow over during storms, but that's still legal).

The company I usually get my gas from, is a local farmer owned company that also sells livestock feed, crop seed, and fertilizers.
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M. Stradbury wrote:

Asking questions after the fact? Funny!
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I once lived in a city and just paid my gas bill for Natural Gas. When I moved to the country, I also was confused and somewhat intimidated by the propane company. I called and thought they would just install a tank and fill it. I quickly learned about the tank lease fee, other fees, and I had to buy a regulator (on the house), and other costs that I did not expect. And I was not allowed to install my own underground pipes, which would have saved me quite a bit.
I was also not aware that each and every time I let the tank get completely empty, that I would be charged for an inspection. I quickly learned to never let the tank go below 2%. Then I learned something else.... If the tank does go empty, DONT TELL THEM THAT AT THE OFFICE. The same guy always fills my tank, and he told me that if I dont tell them, he's not going to report me, or charge me for an inspection.... (A nice guy). However, they will fill the tank faster if I DO tell them it's empty. The BEST solution is to get it filled BEFORE it goes empty. Especially when it's very cold outdoors.
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On Thu, 17 Dec 2015 18:24:09 -0600, Paintedcow wrote:

What's the danger if the tank goes empty anyway?
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On 12/17/2015 09:47 PM, M. Stradbury wrote:

The pilot lights go out. For furnaces and so forth once the pilot is out the valve should shut off until you relight the pilot. I have a gas range where the pilot would continue to leak gas until it's lit. No big deal since the flow is so low.
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On Thu, 17 Dec 2015 22:50:40 -0700, rbowman wrote:

This house has no pilots other than, I guess, the hot water heater. The gas stove & the gas fireplace is electrically ignited. So is the furnace. I think the hot water heater has the typical big red knob & pilot light.
So, I guess, if the gas runs out, the only problem is that the pilot goes out, so, we'd simply turn off the big red knob.
Is that correct?
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On Fri, 18 Dec 2015 08:04:45 -0000 (UTC), "M. Stradbury"

I thougght one of the big problems was that if the tank is empty it might mean there is a leak.
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On 12/18/2015 01:27 AM, Micky wrote:

If the usage is abnormal, sure. If you just let it run out, no. I did have one time when after they filled the tank the tank check valve didn't seat. It was very cold and there might have been enough moisture to ice it up. I could smell it and the tank was going down too fast. They came out, refilled the tank, and screwed another valve onto the filler fitting until they could sort it out in the spring.
With the ethanethiol they put into the gas you'd have to be nasally challenged not to smell a leak.
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On Fri, 18 Dec 2015 08:04:45 -0000 (UTC), "M. Stradbury"

You dont even have to turn that off. Once the flame goes out, the thermocouple prevents gas from coming out the pilot light. But when you re-light the pilot, you need to turn that big red knob to OFF, then to PILOT, and when that's lit, turn it to ON.
Generally, only older kitchen ranges might leak a little gas from the pilot lights. But it's very little. Actually, in the summer, I turn off my range pilot lights to eliminate that extra heat in the house and to save gas. This is partly because I cook outdoors on my grill more than indoors in hot weather. Pilot lights are really not needed on ranges. Just keep a cig lighter next to the stove, and use that to ignite the flame. But some people seem to want everything "instant on". To me, stuff like that is insignificant. So it takes me an extra 5 seconds to flick my bic... Who cares.
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On Fri, 18 Dec 2015 03:42:26 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moc wrote:

Absolutely. Even my mother, who worried about a lot of things, wasn't worried when the pilot light went off. When we smelled the gas, she relit the pilot. Most noses are very sensitive and it takes barely anything to smell the natural gas. ... Isn't propane the same way?
Of course were were home 351 days a year. If she'd been away for a week and the smell was stronger than 6 hours of pilot leakage, she probably would have opened the windows and waited for it to air out.

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wrote:

Our oven didnt' have a pilot, and that was lit with a match. Somehow the flame was sucked off the match to the burner, and the match wasn't burning anymore. Spooky.
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On 12/18/2015 04:32 AM, Micky wrote:

I usually have a few sticks of incense and I'll light one and use that to light the oven. You can get the stick down through the hole easier than a match. With the match if the gas is slow getting up through the hole you can get a pretty good whoosh. Knocks the carbon off the oven racks :)
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wrote:

My mother didn't use incense. What do you think she was, a hippie? A hippie born in 1908 and it's then 1955!
She used matches for cigarettes too, until she stopped smoking about 1957.

We only got a little whoosh.
See my soon to be posted thread about antique ovens. Well, I'm sleepy. Maybe tomorrow.
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On 12/18/2015 08:08 PM, Micky wrote:

My mother used incense and she was born in 1903..
http://www.laurelleaffarm.com/1930s-indian-incense-boxes.htm
There was always a box of Rani incense and a green plaster Buddha on the bathroom radiator. She preferred the sandalwood variety. I wish they still made it; it had a nice smell.
I still use incense, mostly in the winter when the cave is buttoned up tight. I like it better than the air freshener stuff.
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