Proper Placement of Liquid Petroleum/Propane Tanks

By
Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Proper Placement of Liquid Petroleum/Propane Tanks- Chelan Home Inspection



In most of North Central Washington (Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties) it is common to find Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)/Propane tanks on homes. These are mainly for fireplaces in this area but  may be used for BBQ’s and a few cooking appliances.




                                            DOT Propane Tank

Due to the nature of LPG there are some safety requirements needed in the placement of these tanks.

Propane is heavier than air so it will tend to settle in low spots, such as crawlspaces and basements.

There are two main dangers due to it being heavier than air. One- it is a possible explosion if the mixture of LPG and air is right and if there is an ignition source. Two – LPG can pool and displace air, causing a decrease in oxygen concentration that could lead to suffocation.  LPG is not toxic but suffocation is an issue. This is why the 3 or 5 foot requirement for crawlspace vent is in place.

                             

There are two main tank type DOT (Department of transportation), this is most common, and ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), these are usually the buried tanks.
For DOT cylinders (tanks)that are filled offsite  a 5 foot minimum between relief valve discharge and external source of ignition (air conditioner), direct vent, or mechanical ventilation system.

If the DOT cylinder is filled on-site from a bulk truck, the filling connection and vent valve must be at least 10 feet from any external source of ignition, direct vent or mechanical ventilation system.

DOT diagram for setbacks and clearances -

                        DOT Propane tank placement


The rules are that any ASMErated tank that is filled on-site must be located so that the filling connection and fixed liquid level gauge are at least 10 feet from external source of ignition (i.e. open flame, window A/C, compressor, etc.), intake to direct vented gas appliance, or intake to a mechanical ventilation system.

For tanks that are 125 water gallons or less you need to maintain five (5) feet from any opening of a house (doors and windows). If the bottom of a window is higher than 32 inches, the tank can go directly under the window.

Though this picture is poor picture the tank valve is less than 5 feet from an operable window.

ASME Propane Tank


ASTM diagram for setbacks and clearances -

                              ASME Propane tank placement

 

“If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Red Adair


NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Orville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…       

Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

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  1. Don Sabinske 12/16/2012 05:49 AM
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Topic:
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Location:
Washington Chelan County
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Green Homes Northwest
Puget Sound - WA Real Estate
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Tags:
propane safety
chelan home inspection
liquid petroleum tank placement
propane tank placement

Comments 11 New Comment

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Show All Comments
Rainer
131,024
Laura Murray
Search Montgomery Co., MD for homes www.MDRealEstateOnline.com
Weichert

Thanks for this post.  I am creating a file of just this kind of info.  There is so much to know in this industry and i really appreciate it when there are helpful blogs.  Of course if i were loca, i would be able to use your services.

June 26, 2012 07:50 AM
Rainmaker
1,217,656
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

There are some long tunnels near here (Baltimore and Norfolk) where any vehicle, like RVs, with propane tanks, are not permitted.  Leaking would settle in the low areas and possibly ignite with a spark.

Good post Don.

June 26, 2012 08:29 AM
Rainmaker
358,433
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Laura, Thank you. There is so much to know. Safety is the most important part of a home inspection.  There are many things we see on a daily basis that many do not put much thought to why the rules are there.

 

Jay, Thanks. When I was doing my years of HazMat training we use to play with some of the gases. We would do a lighter than air explosion and then a heavier than air explosion (all small scale). Got love getting payed to make things go boom : )

It was to get the responders to understand the dynamics of gases and why specific gravity was so important.

June 26, 2012 08:53 AM
Rainmaker
1,217,656
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Wow, specific gravity is a term I have not heard much since 9th grade lab science! 

June 26, 2012 02:46 PM
Rainmaker
358,433
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, You just never know what dribble will come out of me. But it's all fun when things go boom ; )

June 26, 2012 03:00 PM
Rainmaker
1,883,940
Roy Kelley
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs
Retired Real Estate Broker, Maryland Blogger

Very good information for home owners.

Have an outstanding week with your camera in hand.

June 26, 2012 04:18 PM
Rainmaker
358,433
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Roy, Thank you and you too sir. Keep them flowers coming also. 

June 26, 2012 05:59 PM
Ambassador
1,067,618
Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

Hey, Don, how come seismic strapping isn't required on these tanks?

June 26, 2012 10:47 PM
Rainmaker
626,489
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

I wrote about this a while back after seeing a tank with several issues due to its location. 

June 27, 2012 12:14 PM
Rainmaker
584,543
Don Sabinske
Sabinske & Associates Inc.
Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc.

You have some great posts here.  This is definitely one for a reblog.  Thanks, Donald.

December 16, 2012 05:47 AM
Rainmaker
358,433
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie, That really is a good question. YOu think they would need one.

Jim, I am sure you see these guys also.

Don, Thank you very much.

December 16, 2012 06:08 AM
Anonymous
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Rainmaker
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Donald Hester

NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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