Owning Vs. Renting Your Home Propane Tank

An image of a propane tank resting next to a house.

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Should you buy your own propane tank or rent it? Owning something means you have absolute control over it. So, under this logic, everyone would wish to own their propane gas as its means they wouldn’t cede it to the original owner at some point. 

Nonetheless, suffice it to say that although a propane gas tank is a household commodity, you cannot just own it. There are certain conditions to meet if you’re the full owner. Moreover, this ownership comes at a cost that could prove unbearable to some individuals. 

Before you think of us as rumor-mongers with age-old grandmother tales, allow us to explain what we mean in the subsequent sections. We’ll tell you the upsides and downsides of each ownership method you choose. 

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So join us to discover the benefits of owning a home propane tank versus renting. Make an informed choice for your propane needs.

Do You Actually Own Your Propane Tank?

The standard practice is that Propane Tank companies will lease it to you. Why? Primarily because of the necessary maintenance practices that must be carried on the tank. And a propane tank lease is quite complicated, especially when you buy a new home. 

Take a typical scenario whereby you move in into your newly bought house. It makes sense to assume that everything you find in this house is all yours considering you have paid a premium. 

But the surprising angle is that propane tank rental terms don’t work this way. It primarily depends on whether the previous homeowner had leased or wholly owned the tank. If it were on a lease, your ownership would be purely on leasing propane tank terms. 

However, if they formerly owned it, this is only when you can become the sole owner. So the bottom line is that you never own the propane tank as it’s solely the supplier’s property. You will hold it on lease terms. 

This makes filling and maintenance easy, as the company does this for you

Can Another Company Fill My Propane Tank

If you encounter a company willing to fill another company’s propane tank, you need to be worried. Why? Because apparently, this is typically against the normal practice as per the US propane gas lease laws. 

Primarily, it is the supplier’s sole responsibility to fill the tank and not any other party. Hence, any company filing for another is probably infringing on the laws, probably for profit. You must ask the company to prove that they own the tank before they can fill it. In case you want other, more affordable propane provider to fill up your tank, then consider fully switching propane providers.

How Do I Know If I Own My Propane Tank or If It Is Leased?

Take a typical case whereby you buy a home with everything in it. Then you find out that there’s a propane gas that needs a refill. One of the typical case conundrums is telling whether you’re on buy or rent propane tank terms. 

First, understand that, as we’ve explained above, the most probable scenario is that you don’t own it. Or you could be lucky enough to encounter an owner who had bought the tank and thus transferred it to you when you purchased the house. 

You cannot tell the fundamental ownership conditions unless you check the legal documents. Check the paperwork to confirm if your previous owner owned or leased the tank. If you still can’t clarify this, below are things to check out. 

Logos on the Tank

Your tank will have its owner company’s logo if it is leased. Hence confirm if this is present and contact the company to confirm ownership terms. Explain to them that you’ve just bought the house and would like to know if the previous owner owned or had leased the tank. 

Note that it is still possible that the previous homeowner bought the tank despite it having the supplier’s logo. Therefore, that is why we insist that you should confirm this with them. 

Contact Your Realtor

This should be the last resort if none of the options we have provided above works. Maybe you cannot track down your house’s previous owner, and the logo is not readable, so you can’t trace it to some company. 

Your realtor who facilitated the house purchase can be very cardinal in this process. They’ll help you identify the former house owner from which you can verify the ownership terms. 

Should I Rent Or Should I Buy My Propane Tank?

Oftentimes, this is a recurrent conundrum for many homeowners. So to settle the debate, it is best to investigate the upsides and downsides of each ownership strategy. What do you gain when you buy your own propane tank

Or what are the benefits of a propane tank lease? Some homeowners prefer a buy/rent hybrid arrangement, but that is uncommon. So the two primary options are either buying or leasing. 

Pros of Owning A Propane Tank

Let us begin by exploring the upsides of owning a propane tank. 

You Get the Best Rates

The cardinal advantage to having outright ownership of your tank is that you can shop around for the best rates. For instance, take a case whereby you exhaust the propane gas in your tank to safe levels

An owner under the lease arrangement will take the tank to the supplier for a refill at their offer rate. If they’re pretty expensive than the alternative suppliers, an owner on propane tank rental terms has no choice. 

And this is where you trump such an individual if you own your tank. You’ll compare the different supplier rates and then settle for the one with the most ideal terms. You’ll also prepare for the season ahead by using seasonal dips in price and avoid buying during cold winter months.

You Cut On Minimum Annual Consumption/Rental Fees

The supplier renting their tank to you will expect to be reimbursed for their asset at a particular annual rate. This may mean the company selling a gallon of fuel at a price higher than the actual market rate for the ongoing year

Cumulatively, this means you could spend too much on your propane gas. Hence, the catch is that when you outright buy the tank, there is no way the supplier will extort you. You won’t have to part with rental fees as it’s all yours for the entire duration you own it. 

Moreover, suppliers have a minimum consumption rate. This is typically the amount of gas they expect you to use yearly as long as you have leased their tank. 

The condition will likely compel you to use more gas than you need, and thus you don’t have absolute control over what to consume. With absolute gas tank ownership, you don’t have this issue. 

You Can Customize The Tank

When you own the propane tank, you don’t have to have it all dull and bland with the colors or the supplier. Here, you choose what you want without seeking the supplier’s consent. 

Also, ownership grants you the free will to paint it all yourself. You can even choose to apply graffiti to it and such appeal additions. This is impossible when leasing propane tanks. And the logic is simple; you cannot start repainting a different color on a car you borrowed. 

You Can Bury It Underground

It’s your tank, so you’re liable to no one should you decide to put it underground. Keeping it out of sight and in case it leaks, you have nothing to worry about as there’s no potential environmental hazard. There are a few things you should consider when placing your propane tank underground.

You Choose The Ideal Size

Another liberty of owning the tank is granting you the freedom to buy the tank size you need. Often, propane gas tank owners prefer big 500 lb tanks that are large enough to sustain them from winter to summer. 

The propane gas prices in the warm season are relatively low because of the low demand for use during this time. Hence, if you have a tank that’s large enough to sustain you until summer, you’ll always refill it cheaply. 

Leasing a large propane tank could be quite pricey. So you will be compelled to buy the economic small-size tanks that are liable to run out and be more costly even during winter when prices peak. 

Freedom When Selling Your House

If you choose to sell your home, you make things easier for the buyer as you will transfer the propane gas ownership to them. And since you already own it, you can negotiate for a higher house price while including the gas tank acquisition costs you incurred. 

Don’t get us wrong, selling a house with a propane gas lease is still possible. But that means transferring the problems you were experiencing with the sole supplier to the new owner. 

Cons of Owning A Propane Tank

Now lets us see the Cons of Owning a Propane Gas instead of renting one from the supplier. 

You have no Buffer in case of Leaks

If your gas tank leaks, you will lose your propane and have no one to reimburse you. Why? The tank is all yours, and no firm is responsible for maintaining it on your behalf- Not even the company that sold it to you. 

So the challenging task is ensuring you always have the tank in good shape to prevent unprecedented leaks, which can be heavily costly. 

High Tank Acquisition Cost

You must pay top dollar to acquire a propane gas tank, as the average price is between $400 and $2,000. In fact, pricing is one of the primary reasons most people prefer to lease a tank. 

Hence, buying a tank is out of the question unless you’re ready to part with such a lump sum. 

You May Not Recoup its Costs Upon House Sale

The house buyer could be looking to fleece you something. In some cases, they may not be willing to buy the tank at the cost you incurred to buy it. This could be because they don’t truly value the tank. 

Or they simply pretend not to understand its worth so as to get the best price for the house. 

This leaves you with two options- carrying the tank wherever you move. 

Alternatively, you can sell it. But this will probably be at a cut price because the buyer understands you’re desperate to discard it, especially since the cost of moving with it is so high.

You Have Sole Liability

When you buy your own propane tank, you’re the captain of your ship. So anything that happens to it is all up to you. By this, we mean any tank accidents or leaks will be on your bill unless you have insurance coverage. 

And even with insurance, this means an extra spend on the premiums, so you’re still not immune to spending more. 

You Lose Out On Maintenance

The regular maintenance checks the suppliers perform on propane gas tanks matter greatly. Without them, it’d be akin to waiting for disaster because it’s a fact that propane gas tanks are prone to leaks and damage. 

So that’s why when you own it, you are at a disadvantage because you will always incur maintenance costs. 

Pros of Renting A Propane Tank

Based on what we’ve covered above, do you feel like buying a propane gas tank is out of the question for you? Before you fully rule it out, let us see the upsides and downsides of leasing propane tank. We’ll start with the upsides.

You Save On Costs

Leasing a propane tank is as simple as engaging the supplier to deliver the tank and install it for you without parting with huge sums, as in the buying option. Hence, you will save on the initial cost of acquiring the tank, plus you don’t do the maintenance. 

It’s all on the supplier to maintain their tanks, as you only own them on a short-term basis. 

Safety Is Guaranteed

Licensed suppliers are required to have the requisite skills and expertise to perform excellent maintenance practices on the gas tanks. Hence, during their scheduled maintenance, they’ll scrutinize and fix the tanks for all signs of faults.  

This means that with a leased tank, there’s minimal chance of failure; thus, you’re safe from leak accidents. In addition, the tank filling is via scheduled delivery. The supplier will deliver the gas to your tank and automatically fill it. 

This adds an extra layer of safety, unlike when you carry the tank for a refill and back home. 

Cons Of Renting A Propane Tank

That’s all on the upsides. So what are the disadvantages of the propane tank lease model? 

High Costs In The Long Run

You must always buy gas from the licensed supplier who has leased you the tank. So this means that if they are refilling at exorbitant prices, you’ll be in for some long-term fleecing. Even if competitors offer better rates, you must stick with your supplier. 

If you think of changing suppliers and filling with another one, your old supplier is legally mandated to cancel the lease and take their tank. So, leasing propane tanks is a costly undertaking, especially in the long term. 

Minimum Annual Propane Usage

Most suppliers will require you to prove you can use a certain minimum amount of propane before agreeing to lease their tanks. Hence, you’ll be at pains to confirm that your BTU load is above the supplier’s set minimum threshold. 

This requirement denies you flexibility as it compels you to use more than you may require. It also causes a sort of dependence on Propane gas even when it’d be more viable to go for alternative fuel sources. 

You Must be Credit Worthy

A Propane gas lease is similar to taking a bank loan. Hence a fundamental prerequisite for most firms is that you must prove that you’re credit-worthy before they you’re in for the deal. So this rules you out if you have some withstanding loans that lower your credit score. 

Home Privacy Right Infringement

You will sign a contract with the supplier when you enter a propane gas agreement. Part of the terms of the deal is that the supplier has the right to enter your property for an inspection. This may not go down well with some people. 

Also, whenever you relocate, you must always inform the company about your new home so they can visit for maintenance and repairs. Again, this means your property and whereabouts are not private anymore- not at least to the gas tank maintenance guys. 

In Conclusion

Now’s the time for the big decision. Which is the best way out of this? Should you buy your own propane tank, or does leasing work best for you? 

We’ll leave the final decision up to you. But if you have the cash, buying gives you liberty and flexibility, especially in choosing the more economical rates. 

However, there’s also the big risk of shouldering all the repair costs and maintenance. Again, should you experience leaks, then you’re on your own. If you find the burden of buying too high, you can still consider leasing. 

At Compare Propane, we’ve got your back in whichever option you choose. We’ll guide you toward picking the best companies in your local. So reach out, and we’ll assist you right away. We’re here to help you anytime because we genuinely value Propane Gas. 

Ryan McCabe

Ryan McCabe

Ryan is a home and small business energy expert, having overseen retail propane, heating oil, and HVAC services companies. On ComparePropane, Ryan writes about things that people should know when shopping for or using propane in their homes and businesses. 

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