Comparing Aboveground & Underground Propane Tanks

Here’s How to Make the Best Choice for Your Home

propane tanks new yorkHave you decided to add propane to your Hudson Valley home this year? Congratulations! It’s a versatile, eco-friendly choice that can power a variety of your home’s systems and equipment efficiently, helping you save money. Now, you must decide whether an aboveground or an underground propane tank is the right choice. Aesthetics certainly make putting your tank underground the obvious option, but safety and budget are important considerations. Here’s everything you need to consider before you make your choice:

Budgeting for a Tank Installation

Of course, a bigger tank is more expensive than a smaller tank, but your choice here should be based on your needs. For a home around 2,500 square feet, with multiple propane appliances, a 500-gallon tank is usually appropriate.

However, locating your tank underground will double your costs. You need to budget for excavation, including contractors and extra labor to bury your tank properly and safely. You will also need permits, and not all locations are suitable for underground tanks. In addition, “sacrificial anodes,” which help prevent tank corrosion, need to be buried near the tank. An underground tank also needs a special anti-corrosion coating and regular maintenance checks.

An above-ground tank simply needs to meet distance requirements and have appropriate permits. Sometimes, a concrete base is needed for stability, but the cost is small, and we can usually handle it for you. Because it’s aboveground, routine maintenance is never a problem.

Safety Conditions

Generally, underground tanks are considered “safer” than above-ground tanks. One main reason is that they are protected from temperature fluctuations. Underground tanks are also safer in the event of a leak. Unlike oil, propane can’t harm soil or water, and because the tank is buried, leaking propane can’t escape into the air, causing a fire hazard.

However, if you live in a flood-prone area, an above-ground tank would ultimately become the safer option. That’s because an underground tank can potentially float away if the water rises above the propane level in your tank. Above-ground tanks stand a few inches off the ground and are bolted down making them more stable and less exposed during hazardous flood conditions.

That said, above-ground tanks are very safe, although exposure to the elements can make them a little less durable, particularly if they’re subjected to extreme or extended heat and cold year-in and year-out.

Curb Appeal

When you invest time and money in making your home and yard look nice, you don’t necessarily want a tank obstructing the view. But sometimes there isn’t the space—or the budget—to bury your tank. We completely understand. Usually, we can help situate your tank at the side or the back of your home, in as unobtrusive a place as possible.

So…Which Choice is Best for My Propane Tank?

There are advantages and disadvantages of both above-ground and underground propane tanks. For aesthetics and safety, underground tanks are a great option. However, if you’re on a tight budget, live in a flood-prone area, or can site your tank in a less prominent spot, an above-ground tank may be more practical.

Whether you decide on an above-ground or underground propane tank, know that the pros at Depew Energy can walk you through the selection, installation, and maintenance of your tank simply, and easily. What’s better? We’ll provide you with local, reliable propane delivery services you can always count on. Contact us for more information today to help you get started—and don’t forget to ask about our convenient wireless tank monitoring once your tank is installed!