Can A Propane Company Take My Tank?

When you lease your gas tank from a propane supplier, you’ll have to jump through a few more hoops if you wish to transfer propane suppliers. If companies work together, this can be a simple task. It might also be aggravating if the companies refuse to collaborate.

The company that owns the tank will take the tank back

In the propane gas sector, this is routine procedure. However, many customers are taken aback when their propane tank is removed.

Make a note of when the tank will be taken from your property so that you can arrange for an installation with the new provider. This manner, you avoid any service interruptions that would be inconvenient for you.

There will be extra fees involved

There are always costs associated with terminating your gas contract. These costs may apply if the firm is removing their tank from your property:

  • Fee for removing a propane tank that is more than 5% full – tanks can’t be removed if they are more than 5% full. To remove the surplus propane, the firm will charge you a pump out fee. Check the price per gallon that the company is willing to pay for your propane when you sell it back.

* Please note that not all businesses will levy these fees. These are just some of the regular industry costs to inquire about with your propane company.

You might be able to purchase the tank from the old company (and resell it to your new company)

Before you go through the trouble of removing and replacing the gas tank on your property, see if you can buy the tank from the propane supplier. Then, when you’ve decided on a new company, propose to sell it to them. You can either own or lease your tank, however leasing is frequently more cost-effective.

While this is not a regular practice, we have seen some companies participate.

If you have an underground propane tank, this method is extremely useful. You won’t have to have your yard excavated this way.

by Rich Morahan

Green’s Propane Gas, Smiths Station, AL, owner Mike Green, is committed to locking his propane tanks. To better control his tanks and increase his cash flow, he has invested in tank locks. “By stopping delinquent customers from traveling to other suppliers and protecting our tanks from tampering, Lock America’s filler valve lock will pay for itself.”

A locked tank was previously a relatively new notion in the propane industry, but it has existed in another industry for decades. Even if we learnt about self-storage from Storage Wars, most of us have a basic understanding of how it works. They will lock up your belongings if you do not pay your payment.

That’s why Frank Minnella, CEO of Lock America in Corona, California, decided to apply his understanding of self-storage “lock out” locks to propane tanks. “What happens if I don’t pay my bill?” he inquired of his propane dealer. The answer is “we cease delivering,” which almost always results in revenue loss revenue that goes to a rival.

Frank and his partner, Steve Shiao, along with his propane dealer, developed the Fill Valve Lock and the POLock based on their 30 years of experience inventing security solutions for self-storage. Although padlocks and “clamshell” locks had previously been available, these were the first locks built expressly for propane tanks. They are still the only ones designed for this application.

Wake-Up Calls and Leased Tanks

POLock and Fill Valve Lock are revenue enhancers and asset protectors, according to Bill Pohlhaus of Tevis Oil, Inc. in Hempstead, MD. The POLock is used by his company to cut off the output valve of overdue customers’ tanks. The lock, according to Bill, is a “wake-up call” that gets consumers up to date on their bills.

Tevis’ investment in leased tanks is protected by the Fill Valve. Propane tanks are owned and maintained by the propane company in almost all states, and propane customers’ contracts prevent other companies from filling the tanks. It is actually against the law in Pohlhaus’s state for any company to fill another company’s propane tanks. The Fill Valve lock enforces the law while also providing two additional benefits: it guarantees that Bill’s customers stay to their agreements to buy fuel from him, and it shields him from any liability if an unqualified outside agent interferes with his tanks.

Steady Growth in Propane

For nearly five years, Ray Murray, Inc. (RMI) of Lee, MA has distributed the Fill Valve Lock and POLock. These novel concept locks designed exclusively for propane tanks have shown steady growth in sales. Other locking goods, such as a normal padlock and a metal clamp, or “clamshell,” are outsold by them.

The industry-focused design and unique key code that each Lock America customer receives, according to John Murray, Vice President and LP Product Manager for RMI, are significant benefits. The Fill Valve Lock or POLock can only be opened by an authorized propane driver or corporate representative.

From Lock Out to Roll Out

The locks were put by Mike Svoboda of Axmen Propane in Missoula, Montana, to secure his investment. “Competitors were filling our tanks,” he recalls, particularly when properties changed hands. “The Lock America Fill Valve and POLock were used to solve the problem. The driver can secure every leased tank on his route with a single registered key code, ensuring that Axmen Propane is the only dealer that puts propane in our leased tanks, protecting our business and our consumers from private dealers and, ultimately, protecting our investment.”

Initially, propane dealers used the tank lock to disconnect delinquent consumers, but many expanded their usage of it. As Bill Green points out, “I started with my ‘Will Calls,’ then moved on to the automatics, and now I’m implementing the lock on all of my new tanks. When a customer had a past due account or an unethical firm came, the tags on our tanks would occasionally vanish. There are no talks, no disagreements, simply bills completed before delivery with the lock.”

A similar scenario is told by Brian Wanner of Silvertip Propane in Billings, Montana. “When people shopped for credit, we were losing business. When they owe us money, we now lock the fill and outflow valves. Profits have increased. We’re installing locks on all of our new tanks and gradually implementing them across the industry.”

Protection Against Potential Liability

The POLock can also safeguard a propane supplier from a consumer who tries to enter a locked tank and causes an accident.

Two multimillion-dollar lawsuits show how costly propane tank explosions can be. A jury found a Louisiana gas supplier accountable for damages caused by an explosion, despite the fact that the firm had installed what it thought was a secure outlet plug mechanism on the tank before it detonated.

The consumer allegedly had little trouble removing the device with a wrench, culminating in a catastrophic explosion. The propane firm had made insufficient efforts to secure the disconnected gas connection and protect its consumer, according to the jury. An insecure outlet valve plug and a plain red warning label couldn’t stop the consumer from reconnecting the gas line, and the corporation couldn’t defend itself from the consequent responsibility.

Any mechanism “that may be opened with simple household equipment cannot be termed a locking device,” according to the ruling.

A propane gas dealer in Indiana elected to disconnect a half-full tank and secure it with only a warning notice and an outlet plug device in a second case. Despite tampering with the outlet plug mechanism, the plaintiff in this case sought damages. Following the removal of the device, the plaintiff reconnected the tank on his own, resulting in an explosion that harmed a number of individuals.

Surprisingly, he then sued the propane company for failing to protect him from… himself.

The court found that the firm “owed a general responsibility of reasonable care to everyone who might be hurt by its gas” in that case. The court refused the company’s request for summary judgment, despite the fact that the outlet valve stopper “was suspiciously removed and the gas line was strangely reconnected.”

Both cases demonstrate how reliance on a faulty outlet valve plug and a red warning label can result in a lawsuit. Even if the propane dealer wins, legal fees might add up quickly.

Protect Revenue and Assets

The Fill Valve Lock and The POLock keep the propane dealer in control of their tanks by keeping competitors out and stopping consumers from tampering, preserving both the dealer’s company and the safety of their customers. To control delinquencies and tardy payments, a corporation can start with a “lock out” program, or it can lock all of its tanks to enforce its contracts. Propane tank locks pay for themselves in either case.

Are there serial numbers on propane tanks?

A set of stamped markings can be found around the handle. These documents contain vital information regarding the tank’s origins as well as its capacity rating. A date should appear near the valve on the handle, showing the date of manufacturing. It’s usually written in the normal Month-Year format. It would say “06-20” if your tank was built in June of 2020.

Each tank also has a unique identifying mark, similar to those found on cars. This enables the US Department of Transportation and propane dealers to keep track of and maintain safety data for each tank in use.

Additional markings show the cylinder’s empty weight, which is recorded as “TW.” If you want to weigh the tank to see how much propane is left in it, this is useful. The “WC” stamp denotes the water storage capacity of the tank, which allows dealers to determine the exact amount of propane that can be securely stored inside.

It’s also very uncommon to see the identity of a requalifier imprinted into the handle area of your tank. You’ll be able to tell how near the tank is to hitting its expiration date if you know the manufacture or recertification date.

Is having your own propane tank preferable?

  • Propane at a lower price: If you own your tank, many propane suppliers will offer you a lower propane pricing.
  • There will be no monthly or yearly rental payments: You will have to pay for the tank and installation up front, but there will be no monthly or yearly rental payments.
  • There’s no need for a contract: You are not required to sign a contract that includes minimum usage rates and fees.

Is it possible to transfer propane from one tank to another?

It’s generally a gas, but it can be held as a liquid in a portable tank with a pressure of at least 12 standard atmospheres (atm). The propane in the portable tank will need to be replenished from a supply tank on a regular basis. It is possible to move propane from one tank to another while keeping it liquid.

What is the average lifespan of a propane tank?

1. What should you do if your propane tank has run out?

When those 12 years are over, you have the option of replacing the tank or having it inspected for requalification for another five years of use.

2. What is the expiration date of the propane tank?

The date of manufacturing or requalification of a propane tank is stamped on its collar. It will be written in a month-year format, such as 06-21 for June 2021.

3. How should old propane tanks be disposed of?

Propane tanks with a volume of 100 pounds or less have a 12-year shelf life from the date of manufacturing. When those 12 years are over, you have the option of replacing the tank or having it inspected for requalification for another five years of use.

4. What is the average lifespan of a tank?

Propane tanks with a volume of 100 pounds or less have a 12-year shelf life from the date of manufacturing.

5. Do all tanks have an expiration date?

Large propane tanks used for residential heating and hot water are restricted by federal container restrictions in most states. According to the legislation, a propane tank can only be filled by the owner or someone authorized to act on their behalf. In practice, this means that the majority of household propane users lease their tank from a fuel supplier, who is responsible for keeping track of the tank’s expiration date.

6. Where can I have my propane tanks recertified?

Is it true that Blue Rhino accepts used tanks?

However, certain propane exchange firms, such as Blue Rhino, will gladly accept and recycle your unused propane cylinders at no cost to you. If you don’t want your propane tank, simply set it next to a Blue Rhino exhibit and we’ll take care of the rest.

What is the price of a 120 gallon propane tank?

Propane tanks are available in a variety of sizes. The larger the suggested size, the more fuel you use. You can utilize smaller tanks, but you will pay more in long-term delivery expenses. The price of your tank is determined by its capacity and location above and below ground.

Gallon Propane Tank Cost

100-gallon propane tanks are put above ground and cost between $300 and $500. Typically, a 100-gallon unit can be built alongside your property. It is often large enough to power a single device, but depending on how often you use that appliance, you may need to replace the tank regularly. Two 100-gallon units can be placed next to each other. This effectively increases your capacity without taking up a lot of room. If you use propane for more than one device, this is probably too tiny.

Gallon Propane Tank Cost

The cost of a 120-gallon propane tank varies between $350 and $600. This is an above-ground installation. This small unit can also be placed close to the house. This is a popular size to install for utilizing one or more appliances, but depending on how much you use it, you may need to replenish it frequently. Installing two tanks of this size together is also usual. This reduces the amount of refills required and increases the number of appliances that can be used simultaneously.

Cost of a 250-Gallon Propane Tank

A propane tank with a capacity of 250 gallons costs between $450 and $1,000. A unit of this size can normally be placed next to a house. The unit can usually handle numerous appliances at this size, but the rate at which you use them determines how often you need to refill it. Two 250-gallon propane tanks are frequently put together in homes that use gas heating. This could be a nice substitute for a larger 500-gallon tank in your yard. Instead of the larger tank, which must be built 10 feet away, the smaller ones can be installed closer to the house.

Gallon Propane Tank Price

When built above ground, a 500-gallon propane tank costs between $700 and $2,500. This unit costs between $1,500 and $3,000 to install below ground. This is the smallest size needed to keep most households warm. Instead of vertical smaller tanks, this is a huge horizontal cylinder. It can go above or below ground, but it must be at least 10 feet away from the house. As a result, because it takes up a lot of room, it is more typically put below ground.

,000-Gallon Propane Tank Cost

When built above ground, a 1,000-gallon propane tank costs between $1,500 and $3,000. It costs between $2,500 and $5,000 to install this unit below ground. This device can accommodate a large home’s heating and appliance needs. This is the tank you’ll need if your home is more than 2,000 square feet and you use propane for heating and appliances. This unit is quite huge, and while it may be positioned above ground, it must be far enough away from the house to not encroach on yard space. As a result, many people choose to have these enormous tanks buried underground.

How difficult is it to transport a propane tank?

It is not a good idea to try to move a propane tank on your own. The disadvantages vastly exceed the benefits, even if it isn’t technically unlawful. When moving a propane tank, you may need to make complicated adjustments or reinstall your propane connections, such as valves, regulators, pipes, and so on. Incorrect propane system configuration can result in propane leaks (a significant safety risk) and, more commonly, inadequate propane system performance.