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Can I Paint My Propane Tank?

Most homeowners take pride in their property and want everything to be visually appealing. Having a large, unsightly propane tank on your property can detract from the beauty of your home. A lot of homeowners wish to paint their propane tanks to blend in with their landscaping and the colors of their home and other buildings on their property. You can certainly paint your own propane tank. However, there are some things you need to know before you buy paint and decorate your propane tank. You can’t just choose any color you wish and start painting; there are several restrictions on propane tank colors.

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You are allowed to paint your propane tank, and this is a job that you can handle yourself if you feel so inclined. However, there are several restrictions on what colors and types of paint you are allowed to use. These restrictions are mandated by both federal and state laws, and are based upon both safety and serviceability issues. The only time these restrictions do not apply, or are somewhat relaxed, is when the propane storage tank is located in an extremely cold climate.

First, let’s discuss the serviceability aspect. Having a propane tank that blends in with your property can look nice. However, this can be detrimental if you need to have your tank serviced. If you are not at home when your propane technician stops by to perform repairs or maintenance, it can be difficult for the technician to locate your tank if it blends in with the landscape or matches your home or garage. A bright, reflective color can save time and hassle for both you and your propane technician, and ensure that you don’t need to be home when your tank needs maintenance or repair.

More important, though, is the safety aspect. Propane exists in tanks in both liquid and gas forms. Propane is a highly flammable gas and should be kept from excessive heat. We learn in elementary school that exposing gases to excessive heat can be disastrous. This is especially true for propane. When you paint a propane tank in a dark color, it’s going to absorb heat from the sun, even on cloudy days. This can lead to devastating consequences. The propane inside the tank will heat up and expand, causing the relief valve on the tank to open and leak propane into the environment. Even worse, the propane can heat to a temperature that can cause a fire or explosion. Loss of property and even loss of life can occur.

This is why federal and state laws have set forth restrictions on how you can paint your propane tank. You should choose a light color that reflects heat; silver is the most popular color, but white or other very light colors may be acceptable. You should also take care to remove any rust that collects on the outside of your propane tank. Rust is dark and absorbs heat. Before painting your tank, you should use heavy sandpaper or a wire brush to remove as much rust as you can. It’s also important to paint your tank every few years, or whenever the paint flakes off and rust shows through. You may also wish to invest in a new tank if yours has seen better days. This will save you time and money on painting and other maintenance.

Propane is safe and efficient when used and cared for properly. Propane heating is also very cost-effective and can save you thousands of dollars on your energy bills every year by powering water heatersgas grillsspas, etc. However, you should handle propane properly and make sure your propane storage tank is properly maintained. While it is fine for homeowners and consumers to handle their own propane storage tank painting, all other maintenance and repair needs should be handled by a licensed propane technician. This will ensure that the work is done right. You can be assured of the safety of yourself and your family.

Posted on Wednesday, May 01, 2013