No matter how big your propane tank is or how many tanks you have, you want to keep them cool in the summer months. It’s recommended that your propane tanks are never kept in direct sunlight.
So, how do you properly shade propane tanks?
To properly shade propane tanks, you should store them in a dry, well-ventilated, and semi-enclosed area that’s at least 10 ft (3 m) away from your home. Keep them out of direct sunlight. Don’t store them inside your home, in a garage, or in a shed. Make sure the temperature never exceeds 120℉ (49°C).
Let’s take a closer look at how to shade your propane tanks properly.
Why You Should Shade Your Propane Tanks
Propane is considered a safe and easy way to heat a grill or even your home. However, in high temperatures, the heat can cause the propane to expand. The pressure in the tank will rise and could severely damage the metal. While it’s not entirely likely the tank will explode when placed in extreme heat, it’s never a good idea to allow the propane to expand.
You want to keep your propane tanks from reaching a temperature of 120℉ (49°C). A propane tank can easily reach this temperature if it’s set out in direct sunlight.
The color of the tank will also affect the internal temperature of the tank. Don’t paint the outside of the tank black or another dark color that absorbs heat. Use reflective colors such as white or gray to prevent them from soaking in the heat of the sun.
There’s a large probability that increased pressure will cause cracks in the tank, which could lead to a leak (I previously wrote about too much propane tank pressure). With propane being a highly flammable substance, any leaks in the tank could result in a fire if it’s located too close to a home or any sort of flame.
I actually wrote an entire guide on how to stop a leaking propane tank, if this is your situation.
You should also keep your tanks away from cars or lawnmowers in case there are any leaks. The ignition from your car could be enough to start a fire in a leaking tank.
You should always ensure that any leaves, sticks, or other flammable debris are kept away from the tanks. These items will only increase your risk of igniting a leaking propane tank. Let’s take a look at the best way to properly shade your propane tank to prevent it from overheating.
Choose a Location Away From Your House
The first step to properly shade your propane tank is to choose the location. This is an important step because the location matters. You don’t want to store them close to the home or in any enclosed spaces such as a garage or shed. This is a safety issue in case there are any leaks in the tank.
It’s recommended that you store your propane tanks at least 10 feet (3 m) away from your home or any potential risk of fire. This actually includes your grill as well. As mentioned above, propane is highly flammable. Keeping your propane tank close to your home or other areas that pose a fire risk is highly discouraged.
Place Your Propane Tanks on a Sturdy Surface
The next step you’ll want to take is to build a sturdy and stable surface to place the propane tanks on. You can’t store your tanks on their sides or stacked on top of each other. This could cause issues with the pressure levels inside the tank. Storing the tanks on their sides can also damage the tank, which could lead to leaks.
This is why all tanks must be stored in an upright position. You can use slabs of concrete, plastic or wooden pallets, or cinder blocks for your base. The choice is entirely up to you. However, you want to remember that it needs to be sturdy. You want to ensure the tanks stay upright and don’t shift at all.
You can purchase propane tank stabilizers to prevent them from falling over, such as this EZGO KRAN2 Stabilizer and Holder found on Amazon. This will secure the propane tank and reduce the risk of it falling over in storage.
Pick a Well-Ventilated Material
When building a shaded area for your propane tanks, you’re going to need a well-ventilated material for the outer sides and top. You can use lattice fencing for this. Using lattice gives your cover the ventilation it needs but also shades the tanks from the sun.
Propane tanks need to be in well-ventilated areas because of the release of gasses and other chemicals that could be hazardous in small spaces. It avoids the buildup of such dangerous materials and reduces the risk of fires.
Build a Frame Around Three Sides
The next thing you want to do is build the frame around your tanks. You’re only going to surround the propane tanks on three sides while leaving one side completely exposed for easy access. You can build it however big you’d like as long as there is enough ventilation in the structure. The bigger you make the shelter, the more ventilation is available to the tanks inside.
You can use any material for the frame that works for you and your budget. You’ll want to use something that allows you to secure the cover in some way. You can do this by using stakes in the ground or securing them to a wall or fence in your yard.
Secure Your Well-Ventilated Material to the Outsides and Over the Tanks
Now that your frame is complete, you’re ready to add the sides and the roof to it. This is where you can get creative and design the cover however you want or go with a plain structure. It’s completely up to you.
However, when you design the outside sections, make sure that you still allow for proper ventilation around the tanks. As long as this covered structure is located away from direct sunlight, your propane tanks will be properly shaded.
Tips for Storing Your Propane Tanks
In addition to properly shading your tanks, there are other things you should keep in mind when storing your propane tanks. Even though propane is simple to use and the tanks are easy to maintain, it’s important to know the possible risks of using propane tanks.
- Inspect for cracks or leaks. Before storing your tanks anywhere, it’s always recommended that you inspect them for cracks or leaks. This will reduce the chance of fires or other accidents.
- Check the valves. If there is a pressure relief valve, you’ll want to inspect that before storing your tanks. This valve will indicate if there was a drop or increase in the pressure within your tank. You’ll want to contact a professional if you find a problem with the valves or the tanks.
- Exchange expired tanks. Don’t keep expired propane tanks. Before you store them, you’ll want to check the dates to ensure they haven’t expired. You can exchange them with the manufacturer or have them recertified if they aren’t in too bad of shape.
- Don’t smoke near propane tanks. Because of propane’s highly flammable nature, it’s recommended that no one smoke near a tank storage area.
- Only store empty propane tanks inside. As long as the tank is completely empty, it’s safe to store it inside an enclosed building such as a garage or shed.
Propane tanks are safe and easy to use, but it’s always important to know the potential dangers of everything you use at or near your home. While it’s unlikely your propane tanks will explode if left in direct sunlight, it’s always best to avoid the risk by learning how to shade your propane tanks properly.
- Johnson Propane: Propane Safety and Extreme Heat
- Premium Grills: How to Store Propane Tanks Safely
- Great Valley Propane: Things You Should Do In Summer for Your Propane Heat
- Connect 2 Local: 3 Steps for Storing Propane Tanks in the Summer
- AmeriGas: How To Store Propane Tanks
- Ferrell Gas: How to store & transport a propane tank
- Restoration Master Finder: Propane Tank Storage Safety Tips
- LP Corp: IT’S GRILLING SEASON! STAY SAFE BY FOLLOWING THESE PROPANE TANK PRECAUTIONS
- Snap Fence: How To Build A Propane Tank Cover
- Blue Rhino: Propane Tank Storage FAQs
- Kauffman Gas: How to Winterize & Safely Store Propane Tanks
- Hays + Sons: Top 6 Propane Tank Safety Tips to Avoid Fire Damage
- WikiHow: How to Store a Propane Tank Outside