Propane Tank Homeowner Guide
This is a guide designed to help you be prepared when first purchasing or renting a home with a propane tank. The first step is to confirm what appliances are powered by propane in your home. Propane can be a source of heat and can also provide power for appliances such as water heaters, dryers, stoves, or backup generators. Propane is one of the safest and cleanest energy sources today.
Do you own the tank?
This is very important for a new homeowner or renter. Just because a propane tank is on the property does not mean that it is "customer owned." If you are still in the process of purchasing the home we recommend asking the realtor to confirm if the tank is customer owned or leased. If owned ask for proof of purchase and if leased verify the supplier.
If you are still not sure check the tank for information. Often a sticker with the company name and phone number will be located on the physical tank. Call the supplier and provide your address for more information.
A leased propane tank can only be filled by the company that owns the tank. If the tank is customer owned it can be filled by any propane provider in your area.
Leasing a Propane Tank
Leasing your tank from a supplier means that company is trusted with maintaining the condition of the tank and also must be the sole provider of your propane needs. There are many advantages to renting or leasing a propane tank. The biggest advantage is that your supplier is making the investment in the tank and maintaining that tank. This does mean that you MUST have all of your propane delivered by the owner of the tank. Even if you are completely out of propane you are required to get filled by the supplier who owns the tank. (Propane companies are unable to fill a tank owned by another company. This is the law, and not just company policy). Likely there will be an annual lease fee and/or delivery charge when the tank is delivered. This is to cover the cost of investing and maintaining the tank.
Owning a Home Propane Tank
Owning a propane tank is an investment. Beyond purchasing the tank you are responsible for maintenance of the tank and regulators. Typically tank maintenance includes painting the tank to avoid rusting and checking valves regularly to ensure that they are in good safe working order. Owning your tank outright does mean that you are able to use the propane supplier of your choice. However, we do recommend developing a relationship with a propane supplier. It is helpful to ensure you keep your updated contact information on file with propane suppliers so that you are eligible for any programs that they offer. Keep in mind some companies do NOT sell tanks and only offer lease tanks for some areas.
Just like in any industry picking a supplier solely based on price is not recommended. There are many other important factors to consider, such as reliability, safety and reputation in the community. You should understand if your propane supplier has any extra charges beyond the price per gallon. For example, some companies have a delivery, hazmat, or after hours emergency charge.
At Baker's Propane we offer both lease and customer owned tank options. We are transparent with costs and never have any hidden fees. If you are looking for pricing on the purchase or lease of a propane tank please reach out to our team.
Buy or Lease?
If you are a first time homeowner with propane we suggest leasing your tank with a supplier you trust. We suggest asking questions and making sure that you check your tank percentage regularly to avoid running out or getting low. This will ensure you have a dedicated supplier and can rely on them for questions and a smooth delivery process as you learn more about propane.
Baker's Propane offers a tank monitoring service with lease tanks. This will allow you to view your tanks percentage from an app on your cell phone so that you can set up alerts.
When Should you Order Propane?
The ideal time to order propane is when your tank percentage is at 30%. This gives the supplier plenty of time to make your delivery. In the winter we suggest checking your percentage more regularly as you may use more during the heating season when there are colder temperatures.
First Time Propane Delivery
The first time you have a propane delivery someone over the age of 18 years old must be home. There are required safety checks and paperwork for your first delivery as the new owner or renter of the home. The delivery should be quick and painless. We suggest asking the preferred payment method in advance so you can have it ready for the driver or paid in advance. Most deliveries will not be made without payment.
How can I tell if there is a Propane Leak?
Propane is a colorless and odorless gas. For the safety of everyone using propane the manufacturers add mercaptan odorant for smell. The smell is similar to rotten eggs. Believe us, you will know if you smell it. The safety information provided to you will include a scratch and sniff sticker so that you can familiarize yourself and your family with the smell of propane so that you are better able to identify if you may have a leak in your home.
Another test to detect a small leak would be spraying soap on the lines. If there are bubbles that can detect where a leak is coming from.
In the event that you smell propane, immediately call your supplier, or 911.
How much does Propane Cost?
This is a tough one because Propane is a commodity and does change regularly. Similar to gas prices there is variability in the price potentially on a daily basis.
Once you have established an estimate of your annual propane usage we suggest allocating a budget to propane. Once you have a supplier you can ask them about any winter programs that they offer to help you prepare for the price of propane, such as Pre-Buy or Price Cap programs. These programs allow you to have a fixed price or lock in a maximum price so that you can plan and budget for the peak usage season.
We have a complete guide to Pre-Buy coming soon!