Rent or Buy a Propane Tank

New propane home heating customers are faced with the decision to rent or buy a propane tank.   Both options have advantages and disadvantages.  The following paragraphs explain some of the advantages and disadvantages when deciding whether to rent or buy a propane tank that will be located above-ground.

The first area to consider is the cost to rent or buy a propane tank.  In most cases, a propane tank purchase involves the installation of a new propane tank.  A new propane tank has a fresh coat of paint, new gauges and new brass valve systems.  Having a new propane tank will generally cause the propane tank to perform without service for several years.  When renting a propane tank, the tank may be new or used.  A used propane tank will likely have a fresh coat of paint with the valve systems being safety inspected and replaced as needed.

When purchasing a propane tank, the seller of the propane tank may provide a full or limited warranty with the tank purchase (this is a good question for a propane dealer selling propane tanks).  After the warranty expires (if available), the financial responsibility for tank maintenance and repairs becomes the responsibility of the propane tank owner. Since different climates can impact the time before propane tank maintenance is required, it is a good idea to ask your local supplier for an estimate on time until painting, valve replacement and other tank services becomes necessary.

The price to purchase a propane tank typically depends upon the propane tank size (rated in water capacity).  Since the propane tank will likely be installed by the supplier selling the propane tank, the labor to install, plus fittings, labor and local tank permitting fees will likely be put together into one price.  The price to install an above-ground propane tank can range in the $1,000 range to $3,000 or more.

When renting a propane tank, the propane supplier is typically responsible for all propane tank painting and maintenance as long as the tank is under a rental agreement (be sure to confirm this with your propane supplier).  Propane suppliers may or may not charge a homeowner to install the propane tank.  The suppliers decision to charge for the installation will likely depend on how other local suppliers handle propane tank installation costs.

When renting a propane tank, the propane supplier will likely charge the homeowner an annual propane tank rental fee.   The propane tank rental fee is generally based on the size (rated in water capacity) of the propane tank.  The propane tank rental fee may range from $50 to $100 or more per year.  Be sure to find out the specific rental fee structure to help you make a decision to buy or rent a propane tank.

Another decision around renting or buying a propane tank is the ability to shop around among multiple propane suppliers to identify the supplier offering the lowest current propane price, then order a delivery from that supplier.  When a homeowner owns the propane tank, the homeowner has the ability to contact multiple local suppliers then place a delivery order.  When a homeowner rents a propane tank, the supplier that owns the rented propane tank is typically the only propane supplier that can fill the propane tank.  This can be very important if a homeowner finds that he or she is paying the highest propane price per gallon from the supplier that owns the rented propane tank.

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