Underground Propane Tank: The Pros and Cons

underground propane tank pros and cons

Are you thinking about installing an underground propane tank? If so, you’re in the right place! Underground propane tanks have many benefits! However, those benefits do not come without risks. First, you need to know the pros and cons before you commit to buying.

Underground propane tanks have a lot of benefits and risks to them. You need to weigh them all to see if this is an option for you. 

The Pros:

  • Easy installation
  • Provides more room in the yard
  • Allows you to keep your land looking clean
  • Keeps your tank safe from potential hazards in the open air

The Cons:

  • Corrosion issues
  • Geohazards
  • Leaks
  • Tree roots

As you can see, there is much information to know before you make this choice. This article will provide you with the knowledge that you need. Besides, it will help you to be confident in your decision.

Is an Underground Propane Tank Right for You?

Several factors play into whether an underground setup is right for you.

  • Do you need a 500-gallon tank or more?
  • Is your yard at least 12 feet by 5 feet?
  • Is the area you want to install it away from traffic and the main road?
  • Do you have a yard free of trees?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it might be the right choice for you.

Pros of Underground Propane Tanks

Easy Installation

The process is pretty involved. Although, for an underground propane tank, it’s relatively easy! You need to excavate the area for your tank. The critical part of excavation is to make sure it’s in the correct area.

Your propane tank needs to be 10 feet away from your home, at least. Also, it needs to be 10 feet away from your property line. Figuring out where to set your propane tank is the troublesome part of the installation. After that, it’s a breeze!

It should not take you longer than one day. It will take about 4 to 5 hours for installation.

Provides You With More Room in Your Yard

Another excellent benefit of an underground propane tank is the room you’ll have! The only difference will be a small hill in your yard, that’s it. You will have room for your animals, and your summer backyard parties. You’ll be able to do landscaping, and mow your lawn without hassle.

The space of your yard is essential! Outdoors is where you do most of your gardening and landscaping. After you install your propane tank, you could even plant some flowers above it. Surround your flowers with a fence. A little fence will detour your family and pets away from the propane tank.

You might just have to regrow your grass, but that’s okay! That’s easy to do.

Allows You to Keep Your Land Attractive

No one wants a gigantic clunky piece of equipment just sitting in their yard. For one, it’s not attractive. Secondly, it will not contribute to the feeling of being in nature.

It’s nice to sit on a swing outside and read a book at the end of a long day. You can enjoy the gentle breeze and the beautiful scenery. However, if you have a 500-gallon propane tank above ground? That’s going to throw off the good vibes you’re feeling. No one wants that!

Keeps Your Tank Safe From Potential Hazards of the Open Air

Tanks above ground are relatively safe as well. However, they do not come without their risks. Some of the dangers are vandalism, vehicle collisions, and extreme climates. A propane tank in the 100-degree sun is not a good idea.

Not to mention, if there is a leak, it’s more hazardous to you above ground than underground. Propane leaks can make you extremely sick. However, you’ll be able to spot a leak quicker above ground than you would underground.

Cons of Underground Propane Tanks

Corrosion Issues

Corrosion is the biggest threat to underground propane tanks. The risk of corrosion stems from the damp environment of the ground. Although there are some protective measures you can take. You could protect your propane with a protective covering called an anode bag.

The anode bag becomes corroded instead of your tank. However, you need to take care to replace the bag when it’s finished. If you don’t replace the bag, your propane tank will be the next target.


Geohazards is a short term for risks based on your geographical location. For instance, in California, a geohazard would be the earthquakes. Since the ground shifts, this could cause unwanted pressure on your propane tank.

A couple of other geohazards that threaten underground tanks placement are:

  • Tsunamis
  • Flooding

Both of these can knock your propane tank loose. If your tank becomes loose, it could stray away from your property. Even though this is an infrequent occurrence, it’s a good idea to be aware of it.

Earthquakes are a more significant threat. You don’t want your tank to become warped over time. A warped tank is tough to remove safely. Be sure to assess your area to ensure underground storage is a good option for you.


Leaks are hazardous, especially when the tank is underground. Since you cannot see it, you may not notice that your tank is leaking at first.

The most noticeable sign you will notice is the smell. Propane has a powerful odor, fortunately. If you’re smelling propane, you need to check your tank. Underground tanks will have a strong odor if the leak is big. You must be very careful when digging the tank up.

The common causes of leaks are:

  • Ground shifting
  • Improper installation
  • Corrosion

It is essential that you take the necessary precautions when installing the tank underground. That way, you lessen the likelihood of a leak happening in the first place.

Tree Roots

The way to prevent this is to keep your tank away from any trees. Tree roots tend to grow pretty far away from the tree itself.

Thankfully tree roots grow about 6 inches to 12 inches below the surface. It is easy to detect them. If the tree is more massive, the roots will be more prominent through the surface.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a location:

  • The taller the tree, the more extended the roots are. Try to stay at least 20 feet away from any large trees.
  • Smaller trees still have roots that extend quite far.
  • You can cut the roots away to install your propane tank.

If you decide to cut away the tree roots, just make sure you check them often. Tree roots multiply, and they are rather powerful.

What Will You Choose?

There are so many benefits and risks to this difficult decision. Now that you know what they are take the time to think them over. There is no rush!

Related Questions

How Long Do Propane Tanks Last Underground?

Propane tanks can last upwards of 30 to 40 years underground. Of course, that’s with the correct care and placement. These tanks are known to be environmentally friendly!

Take your time to ensure the correct setup and placement. That way, you have a tank that lasts for decades.

How Much Does an Underground Propane Tank Cost?

The cost varies depending on how big your tank is. The tank cost anywhere from $500 to $3,500. If you’re self-installing, remember to calculate additional costs. The additional costs in this case are:

  • An Anode bag
  • Excavator
  • Extra help of a friend
  • Tools you may need.

Now, if you plan on hiring a professional, that cost will increase. For professional installation, it will be anywhere from $1,700 to nearly $10,000.

Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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