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Old 02-26-2021, 09:04 PM   #1
Glendale Deli Boy
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Default Propane Tank Question

I would like to put in a propane gas log set for my fireplace and will need to have a small propane tank set up on the exterior of my house. Iím having trouble locating the regulations governing the use of external propane tanks. Anybody know the regulations?

Also, any recommendations on buying tank outright or just using one provided by the propane company?

Lastly, what size would you recommend for occasional use of the fireplace?

I have called a couple companies but itís very difficult to get clear answers to my questions.

Thanks!
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:27 PM   #2
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I have a gas log set in my place and will tell you my personal experiences.

It's really nice and pretty to look at. It's not the most efficient heat source and it uses a lot more gas that I thought it would. The exact amount I don't know other than to say I notice it when filling up our tank when using it versus not using it. The exact regulations I can't quote chapter and verse put we had the flexible piping inside our house and had to replace it with iron piping when we replaced our unit to bring it to code. I am pretty sure the flexible piping is acceptable for outdoor but not indoor. Please be sure to remember that some of the installers don't have gas licenses so you will need someone to do the plumbing first prior to installing the unit.

If I had a choice I would buy my own tank so you are not beholden to one supplier like I am. Depending on the usage I would probably get a 100 gallon tank assuming you are only using it for the gas log set but if the pricing to go larger is not too bad you may consider going bigger to save the hassle on the fill ups. They will only fill to 80 percent of the capacity.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by DesertDweller; 02-27-2021 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:59 PM   #3
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We replaced a wood pellet fireplace insert with a propane fireplace insert in the fall of 2019. We did not already have propane, and the dealer suggested contacting Eastern Propane. Eastern did the complete installation including tank (we decided to purchase it), exterior line, interior black pipe in the basement, and up into the fireplace with flex line. That included drilling through the firebrick to bring the line in. And they came back and connected the stove once that had been all set up.

I was very happy with the work, and the cost was much less than i'd expected. The installation, 50 gal tank, and first fill was around $1200.
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Old 02-26-2021, 11:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDweller View Post
I have a gas log set in my place and will tell you my personal experiences.

It's really nice and pretty to look at. It not the most efficient heat source and it uses a lot more gas that I thought it would. The exact amount I don't know other than to say I notice it when filling up our tank when using it versus not using it. The exact regulations I can't quote chapter and verse put we had the flexible piping inside our house and had to replace it with iron piping when we replaced our unit to bring it to code. I am pretty sure the flexible piping is acceptable for outdoor but not indoor. Please be sure to remember that some of the installers don't have gas licenses so you will need someone to do the plumbing first prior to installing the unit.

If I had a choice I would buy my own tank so you are not beholden to one supplier like I am. Depending on the usage I would probably get a 100 gallon tank assuming you are only using it for the gas log set but if the pricing to go larger is not too bad you may consider going bigger to save the hassle on the fill ups. They will only fill to 80 percent of the capacity.

Hope this helps.
How often do you find you need to fill your tank and what does it cost (on average) to fill it up ?

Thanks.
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Old 02-27-2021, 06:52 AM   #5
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Cost to fill is based on how much gas you use. I filled my four gas tanks last fall and paid about about $3.40 a gallon because I donít use much gas. Others were $1 a gallon less because they use more gas.
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:10 AM   #6
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glendale Deli Boy View Post
I would like to put in a propane gas log set for my fireplace and will need to have a small propane tank set up on the exterior of my house. I’m having trouble locating the regulations governing the use of external propane tanks. Anybody know the regulations?

Also, any recommendations on buying tank outright or just using one provided by the propane company?

Lastly, what size would you recommend for occasional use of the fireplace?

I have called a couple companies but it’s very difficult to get clear answers to my questions.

Thanks!
DOT Tanks filled on site need to be 10' from a source of ignition and 3' horizontally from an entry point below the relief valve discharge , 10' from an intake to direct vent appliance. I'm assuming you're going to buy a 100# tank from one of the box stores. If it's not filled on site 5' from any source of ignition, openings into direct vent gas appliances, or mechanical ventilation air intakes.
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:12 AM   #7
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Default Propane tank question

I would start by asking the local Code Enforcement Officer about the rules for locating the tank. Each Town seems to have its own slight variations, so save yourself any problems by asking your local Officer.

A 120 gallon tank will probably last you quite a while with intermittent use. If you use a tank from a supplier they will install it and hook up the connections for you. The downside is that you are "tied" to that supplier; however, upside is that you are "tied" to that supplier, so you probably will not have trouble getting a refill. Because items like a gas fireplace use fuel at an irregular rate it is difficult to calculate usage, and therefore difficult to determine an auto-fill schedule, the homeowner is generally responsible for calling the provider when a fill-up is necessary.

You will get a lot of answers "on air", but in my humble opinion you will be better off contacting your Town Code Enforcement Officer for the location details, and then a supplier for their suggestions about size, etc.

Good luck.
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Old 02-27-2021, 12:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimeTraveler View Post
How often do you find you need to fill your tank and what does it cost (on average) to fill it up ?

Thanks.
We have propane heat, hot water heater, and appliances at our place and have a big (1,000 gallon) tank that the previous owner put in. I usually get it filled every other month in the winter (I could go longer). I do a pre buy each year and the prices vary. I am with Amerigas so I don't get get the pricing that others get on this site.
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Old 02-27-2021, 02:35 PM   #9
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Having done what you are proposing to do on 3 different houses in 3 different states that we've lived in, this would be my recommendation:

1) First, find a fireplace store that you like. I would highly recommend Fire 'N Stone in Belmont. Angelo the owner is extremely knowledgeable. He converted my wood-burning fireplace to a gas fireplace and we couldn't be happier. I've also heard good things about Fireside Living in Laconia.

2) Regardless of who you go with, they will ask you to measure the inside of the firebox of the fireplace. This will determine which gas log set and size is appropriate. Once you choose the gas log set, the Fireplace store guy can give you a sense as to how much propane it will burn per hour. From that, you can guesstimate what size tank you need. (Example: unit burns 1 gal/hr; I'll use it 2 hrs/day, 3 days per week, etc)

3) I would pick one propane company and have them drop the tank(s) and run the line into the firebox on the fireplace. They will pull the necessary permits and have your town do the inspection once it's done. Since you'll be using a relatively small amount of propane per year for just the fireplace, I don't think it's a big deal that it would be a rented tank. Additionally, you'll have "one-stop-shopping" with getting the tank, getting the line installed, getting it inspected by the town. I would recommend Rymes. Have been a customer of theirs for years and they did exactly this for me when we converted our fireplace.

4) Lastly, as someone else mentioned, you shouldn't be relying on a gas fireplace as a true heat source. They will take the chill off a chilly room and add ambience, but that's about it.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 02-27-2021, 03:20 PM   #10
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Default Other propane appliances?

Even though you might not have them now, in locating the new tank, I'd consider what future appliances might be added and where these will go. We have a gas kitchen cook top, and a standby generator. Really happy with both. Do you have a BBQ grill that uses propane? And you keep a spare 20# tank because it runs out when you're cooking? Maybe that should be connected to the big tank, and stop hassling with a run to the store for a 20# refill or paying an exorbitant price to swap tanks at the corner store. Our kitchen stove has a gas grill, so we don't have one in the back yard.
The stove was first, so we had a 50# tank. When we added the generator, the gas co. just swapped to a larger tank so we could run the generator for a week, 24/7. It's their tank, so no charge. Same when the tank ages out and needs to be replaced.
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Old 02-28-2021, 06:43 PM   #11
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Thanks everybody for the information. Very helpful!
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Old 09-05-2021, 11:39 AM   #12
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Default 50 gal tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by NHskier View Post
We replaced a wood pellet fireplace insert with a propane fireplace insert in the fall of 2019. We did not already have propane, and the dealer suggested contacting Eastern Propane. Eastern did the complete installation including tank (we decided to purchase it), exterior line, interior black pipe in the basement, and up into the fireplace with flex line. That included drilling through the firebrick to bring the line in. And they came back and connected the stove once that had been all set up.

I was very happy with the work, and the cost was much less than i'd expected. The installation, 50 gal tank, and first fill was around $1200.
Hi NH Skier,

Can you share with us how the 50 gal tank is working out for you? Are you still using it for just your fireplace insert and stove? How often do you need to have it refilled? Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2021, 07:27 PM   #13
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We still have just the propane fireplace, and the 50 gal tank size has worked out fine for us. From December 2019 through December 2020 we used a little over 50 gallons. From mid-Dec 2020 through next delivery in mid-Feb '21 we used 24 gallons. That's been the largest delivery to date, not even close to running out.

We tended to use the fireplace for several hours each day on weekends, and several afternoons during the week, so a decent amount of usage.

Eastern Propane delivers automatically. Since initial installation in August 2019 we've had 5 deliveries.
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Old 09-05-2021, 11:35 PM   #14
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Thanks NHSkier, I appreciate the update
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Old 09-09-2021, 08:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHskier View Post
We replaced a wood pellet fireplace insert with a propane fireplace insert in the fall of 2019. We did not already have propane, and the dealer suggested contacting Eastern Propane. Eastern did the complete installation including tank (we decided to purchase it), exterior line, interior black pipe in the basement, and up into the fireplace with flex line. That included drilling through the firebrick to bring the line in. And they came back and connected the stove once that had been all set up.

I was very happy with the work, and the cost was much less than i'd expected. The installation, 50 gal tank, and first fill was around $1200.
I wanted to look at wood or pellets inserts this winter. Any particular reason you got away from one? Are you liking the propane more than the pellets?
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:22 PM   #16
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When the feed mechanism on our pellet insert died we did look at new pellet stoves and considered a Harmon. But after finding that a complete propane setup including tank and plumbing wasn't going to be any more expensive we decided to go that route.

We used to run the pellet insert more continuously to supplement our oil heating system while the propane insert is used more for enjoying a fire. It kicks out plenty of heat but we don't run it overnight or anything like that. I don't miss lugging a ton or two of 50lb bags around, nor do I miss frequently cleaning out the stove. And there's nothing like just pushing a button to turn the propane fireplace on/off, so we tend use it even for just an hour or two. Very glad we went the propane route.
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Old 09-10-2021, 05:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHskier View Post
When the feed mechanism on our pellet insert died we did look at new pellet stoves and considered a Harmon. But after finding that a complete propane setup including tank and plumbing wasn't going to be any more expensive we decided to go that route.

We used to run the pellet insert more continuously to supplement our oil heating system while the propane insert is used more for enjoying a fire. It kicks out plenty of heat but we don't run it overnight or anything like that. I don't miss lugging a ton or two of 50lb bags around, nor do I miss frequently cleaning out the stove. And there's nothing like just pushing a button to turn the propane fireplace on/off, so we tend use it even for just an hour or two. Very glad we went the propane route.
As best I've seen, propane is the most expensive heating fuel and fireplaces like that are not the most efficient, so I think the distinction between decoration and utility is important?

As a wood stove user, you make the pushbutton operation sound very attractive otherwise!

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Old 09-10-2021, 12:36 PM   #18
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I went from a wood stove to propane for the ease of use. (It is not a primary heat source). Nothing like sitting down in the morning with the paper, pushing a button, and getting a fire & some heat and never even thinking about stacking wood, carrying it to the house, and cleaning out ashes!!


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Old 09-10-2021, 09:56 PM   #19
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Fireplace inserts of any sort are going to be less efficient/effective than free-standing stoves because you've got less radiant surface. We didn't want to lose the floor space required for free-standing so inserts were the best choice for us. The propane insert we purchased has a full ceramic-type firebox enclosure which helps to radiate heat outward, improving efficiency, and it puts out plenty of heat for our purposes.

While propane is certainly a more expensive way to go, for us the convenience is well worth it. Through our last delivery (late February) we've used about $375 worth of propane in total since the insert was installed, covering one full season and a good chunk of a second. At that level of cost I don't really look at it as a much of a concern.
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