Natural gas vs LP gas?

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If you use propane you may want to ask for a larger tank than you think necessary.
I have a house in Michigan with nominal 330 gallon propane tank that for safety can only be filled to 85% level, about 280 gallons. The tank is located in the back yard behind a small barn so that its size or appearance is not a problem. I use 420 to 480 gallons per winter. If I had requested a 500 gallon tank (425 gallons)I could fill up when prices are low in August, top off the tank in November, and avoid the December through March price rise.
Most of my neighbors use the same supplier that I use because it is the cheapest. Michigan requires that I pay to lease the tank from the owner but it is only a dollar a year.
They refused to increase the tank size unless I required a refill every month.
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That's normal.

Don't bet on it. If the supplier owns the tank, it's likely that you can't get anyone else to fill it. That's why you got better price quotes from the other suppliers: they were quoting you the rate for filling homeowner-owned tanks, but you're currently paying the rate for a supplier-owned tank.
Check out the cost of buying the tank. It may take ten years before you save enough on the price of fuel to break even.

Not likely. Why would the supplier agree to sell to you at a discount? He owns your tank. He knows you can't buy the gas from anyone else.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Tony, The problem isn't that propane freezes, it is that the boiling pressure of the propane in the tank varies with temperature. Propane normally burns at 10-11 inches WC. 14 Inches WC is 1/2 psi. If the pressure in the tank drops too low, the burner won't fire. Propane boils at around 6 degrees as I recall at atmospheric pressure (A GUESS!!). If it gets too cold outside, something else needs to be added (Butane) so there is enough pressure in the tank to make the burner fire. That is why the LP gas company has a "Winter Mix"
Stretch
PS: If i can find better information on the boiling point of propane, I will post it tomorrow. I will have to look it up. We had a customer in Pennsylvania who had propane at his factory, and when it got very cold outside, he had to reduce operations because the propane wouldn't boil fast enough to fire his boiler.
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Bob G. wrote:

Hi, Really? Ever had 100% moisture free anything? Ever remember car carburetor throat covered with ice in winter in old days? Gasoline freezes as well. Anything will freeze at 300 degree what? F, C or K? I live in cold climate my cottage neighbors who have LP suppy always worry about freeze while I am on NG with worry free. LP contains more Butane in winter. Tony
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Strange I just did a quick search on Propane and did not find the freezing point...they only listed the boiling point...which was minus 44 degrees F... Butane on the other hand boils at positive 32 degrees F...
So BOTH gasses will be boiling when the air temp reaches 32 deg F..or freezing...
Yes I realize that moisture can get into almost everything..including gas lines....BUT it would take a heck of a lot of moisture in a pretty small gas line to stop the flow of gas...not impossible I will admit but unlikely ...
Bob Griffiths
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I just purchased a tank a few weeks ago...400 pound tank...a little over 100 gallons..brand new @275 bucks... Just the difference in my last 100 gallon purchase would have been 60 odd bucks..since I filled it 3 times last winter payback time is slightly less then 10 years ....more like about 1-2 years...

All very true that is why I purchase my own tank...
Bob Griffiths
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Gas BP C State at 20C As LPG propane - 42 gas pressure: BP: state: 14 atm 38C liquid butane - 0.5 gas pressure: BP: state: 2.6 atm 38C liquid
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Small Propane tanks can freeze at 70f or so , ask a roofer that uses 20 lb tanks with 300000 btu torchdown burners. Even using a small cilinder on my weed burner it gets cold when it is hot out.
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Butane boils at 31.1 degrees F @ atmospheric pressure Propane boils at -42.1 degrees F @ atmospheric pressure. (OOPS!) I don't know what the boiling point is at say 20 PSIG gauge.
I know when charging a/c units, as I remove freon from the drum, the remaining liquid in the drum gets cold. It is harder to evaporate the remaining Freon. The same thing happens with propane. The colder it is outside, the more gas you use and the higher the draw from the tank. The remaining LPG in the tank acts as a refrigerant and the pressure goes down
The regulator at the tank is at some hegher intermediate pressure. The regulator at the house is normally set at 11 Inches water column. How well the propane evaporates will depend on the outdoor air temperature, the amount of liquid in the tank (as a heat sink), the surface area of the liquid in the tank and the surface area of the tank (the size of the tank) to absorb heat from the outside. The pressure at the burner will also depend on pressure drop in the piping. They could also add butane to the LPG in the summer but not in the winter. We used to buy it as LPG, not as propane. I can see how that would affect things.
Boy, a little research first would have been good instead of shooting my mouth off first! :-). I'm glad that I admitted it was a GUESS in my first post!
Stretch
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bucks...

gee, now i don't feel so bad. i have a 500 lp gallon tank (buried) that i fill once/year. i haven't turned my heat on this winter yet, only using a couple of gas fireplaces to take the chill out of the air when needed.
does burying the tank make it work better (less consumption), in that the air temp really is ground temp, causing a higher boiling off temp?

regards, charlie cave creek, az
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Here in central Indiana where I live, a hundred gallons is a *very* small tank for a residence. You'd be filling that sucker at least once a week in January and February. In Minnesota, probably more like every two or three days.
Lots of people around here have *thousand*-gallon tanks. Try pricing one of *those*.

IIRC, you posted that there was a difference of some 30 cents a gallon; that makes a difference of 30 dollars per hundred gallons, not 60.

If you can get through a winter on three fills of a hundred-gallon tank, then you should quit complaining and count your blessings. :-) Either your house is unbelievably well insulated, or you live in a climate with *very* mild winters. We're in a home with natural gas now, but in our previous home with LP, we needed five and sometimes six fills of a FIVE hundred gallon tank to get through the fall and winter.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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==============Sorry BUT I am not heating my home ... The building I am heating is my garage/woodshop.... and I keep the thermostat set at 45-50 degrees ..until I am out in the building ..
Bob
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