5 Things to Ask When Buying a House with Propane Heat

Propane heat is a major selling point when buying a home. As an affordable, cleaner alternative to oil, it’s the fuel of choice among a growing number of homeowners. Cheaper than electricity and more efficient than natural gas, propane heat is something you should look for when house hunting. That being said, buying a house with propane also brings a number of factors you might not have otherwise considered if you are accustomed to gas, oil or electric heat.

Home with Propane Heat

What Is Propane Being Used for?

Propane is an incredibly versatile fuel. In the home, it is most commonly used for heating and powering certain appliances. Stoves, barbeques, water heaters, clothes dryers and more can all run off propane. If the home has only been recently converted to propane, however, not all appliances may be using it. When making an offer, consider whether or not you’ll need to upgrade the appliances to take full advantage of propane.

Learn about Our Residential Propane Services

Who Owns the Tank?


Some homes own their propane tank outright, while others rent it from a fuel company. Both arrangements have pros and cons. With a tank that is owned outright, there is no need to worry about budgeting for monthly rental fees. You’ll also have more freedom to make long-term decisions about your home’s fuel use. The downside to this, however, is that purchasing a tank can be a significant cost up front, so that cost will definitely be factored into the asking price for the home.

On the other hand, the main advantage to renting is that you’re not responsible for the maintenance of the tank. If the unit ever needs repairs or replacing, it’s not an expense you will have to worry about. Most fuel companies will happily transfer over a tank rental agreement when the house is sold, though you may be given the option of buying it outright, too. If buying the tank is the option you choose, be sure to get documentation proving your ownership of the tank.

How Big Is the Tank?

The larger your tank, the longer you can go before having a delivery scheduled. Home propane tanks range in size from 120 to over 1,000 gallons. Be sure to ask what size the tank is so that you know how often you’ll be in need of a refill.

Are the Tanks Under or Above Ground?

Propane tanks can be either above or underground. Most rental tanks are above ground, as they are easier and cost less to install. Below-ground tanks, on the other hand, are more aesthetically pleasing and give you more room to enjoy your yard.

Are Maintenance Records Available?

Like all home appliances, propane tanks require regular preventative maintenance to ensure they continue working their best. If you’re considering buying a house with propane gas but the owner can’t provide evidence that their tank has been serviced regularly, it could signal the potential for problems down the road. At the very least, be sure to have the unit inspected by a knowledgeable fuel expert.
Got any further questions about moving to a house with propane? Contact Foster Fuels today!
Contact Foster Fuels Today

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Post updated on January 14th, 2019

67 thoughts on “5 Things to Ask When Buying a House with Propane Heat”

  1. james harvon says:

    We are looking at a new home with an above ground propane tank. I am glad to hear that they are so easily accessible. This will make refilling the tank much easier.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Glad to see you found our post helpful! Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.

  2. Seth Ashford says:

    Thanks for sharing these questions to ask about a home with propane heat. I definitely agree that it is important to know the specifications of the tank, especially if you will need deliveries. Depending on the size of the tank, you may need to have frequent propane deliveries to keep it running. Asking for maintenance records is also a great question since it can help you see whether the tank was kept in good condition.

  3. DoloresB says:

    How does propane heating compare to other common house heaters? I want to make sure that I look at all my options before I make a decision. We have a chance to put in a new heating system into my house, and I want to make sure it’s a good fit for both the house and us.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      It would be our pleasure to answer any questions you may have about propane home heating. Feel free to call us at 800-344-6457 or if you would like us to contact you directly, please go to our Contact Us to fill out your information and one of our representatives will contact you soon.

  4. Brandon Roberts says:

    I was wondering this exact question. I am thinking about purchasing a house really soon, and I want to make sure I have a good propane heater. I feel like the size of the tank really matters. So based off of that, I will make sure I ask about the propane heater, and understand how big it is. Thanks a ton for the tips! They were a big help.

  5. Rachelle Reeves says:

    Last year my family and I moved to a new area. My dad wanted to make sure that we had a propane heater because he knew that it got really cold during the winter. Little did he know that the propane tank we had was very small and has to be replaced very often. What you would you recomend as the best size for a tank?

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hey Rachelle! Great question. Sounds like you would most likely need a 120 gallon tank but it would be better if we knew more about your specific situation to give you a solid recommendation. Feel free to call one of our experts at 800-344-6457 or visit our Contact Us page. Thanks!

  6. Wilfredo Hernandez says:

    I had no idea that propane had so many benefits of electricity and oil. Cleaner and cheaper are words that I am always looking for when buying a product. Knowing the tank size is a good tip for knowing when to refill, thanks for sharing that.

  7. Delores Lyon says:

    Thanks for sharing this advice on getting information about a property’s propane tank. I definitely think your point on asking for maintenance records is really important. If you don’t know how the tank has been treated, then you may be dealing with a machine that could break down soon. It might also be a good idea to ask about how they get propane for the tank– it could help you get an idea of what you will have to do to keep it running.

  8. Olivia Gilman says:

    Great point about the ownership of the home’s propane tank. This seems like a big point for home buyers. I also thought your comment about the influence of the propane tank’s size on the frequency of needed propane delivery. Thanks for the post!

  9. Rachelle Reeves says:

    I’m house hunting right now, and I’ve decided on two homes that I really like. One home has many appliances that run off of propane, and the other mostly runs off of electricity. When comparing the price of usage and maintenance, is propane powered or electricity powered more beneficial?

  10. Fitz says:

    Hello, and thank you very much for having shared this information on houses that use propane. I agree, it is very important to know what the propane is being used for before buying the house. I think it’s good to make sure the house is as safe as possible if you will be living in it yourself or renting it out.

  11. Callie Marie says:

    I had no idea that propane heated homes are “cheaper than electricity and more efficient than natural gas.” This is a huge selling point, but I have also never lived in a house that uses propane before. A rental tank sounds like a good idea, because that way I wouldn’t have to worry about the maintenance myself.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      That’s true Callie. Rental tanks are a great option and worry-free for our customers. You can also be a part of our Auto Fill service and not have to worry about checking your gauge or calling in to order fuel. Our drivers do that automatically for you! Feel free to talk to us more about it. Call and talk to a real person 24/7 at 800-344-6457.

  12. Casey Jones says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize that propane could be used for so many different things. It sounds like it can be used just like natural gas can be used. Do you know if appliances that work with natural gas would work with propane? I remember the restaurant I used to work at had a commercial propane delivery service to stay stocked for their gas range. It would be nice if I could use my gas range with propane too.

  13. John Mclaughin says:

    It really is interesting to think about all the different things that need to be considered when deciding on a propane house. I personally really like the idea of being able to have a house that runs off this gas, but it does sound like the cons are something to consider. Something that really stood out in my mind was that if you’re not careful then you could run out of gas, or is that covered with a monthly refill? Thank you for sharing.

  14. Cheryl Smith says:

    Before we bought our house, we made sure that the tank was underground. Both my husband and I like how the tank is not visible. It makes it more curb appealing if you can’t see it.

  15. Kyle Ross says:

    These are some great things to consider, and I appreciate your advice to ask who owns the tank. I didn’t realize a propane tank could be rented monthly instead of being owned! My wife and I are looking for a new house right now, so we’ll definitely be sure to ask about the ownership of the propane tank, if there is one. Thanks for the great post!

  16. jamesrod214 says:

    That’s a great tip about the size of the tank. I didn’t know if you had a larger tank, then you can go longer before having a delivery schedule. I would hate to have to run out of propane and not have any for a couple of days. So, I’ll be sure to check the size of my tank!

  17. Kayla - Thinkheat.com says:

    Thanks for sharing this. This is true. Although propane gas is safer, we should keep the maintenance records just to know that they are in their best condition. For sure, Propane is better choice because it offers many benefits for natural heat.

  18. Paul Langley says:

    These are some really helpful questions for anyone considering buying a house with propane heat. I’ve always liked propane, but there are definitely some things you should know before you go all-in on it. I especially liked your point about ownership of the tank; either way, whether you own or rent it, it’s important that you know which it is. That way you can plan accordingly as far as maintenance and repairs. Thanks so much for writing!

  19. Nash Rich says:

    These are some really helpful questions to keep in mind. I always thought the company always owned the large tanks. I think they’re great because my parents have one for our barn and it will probably last us forever!

  20. Nash Rich says:

    I can imagine that maintenance is really important for propane tanks, because it would be really bad if something went wrong. Also, it would be a pain if it wasn’t working as efficient as you would like. I didn’t know there were tanks that could hold up to 1000 gallons. I bet that lasts a long time! Thanks for the info!

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hi Nash! Thanks for commenting! Maintenance is certainly important for both propane tanks and appliances not only for safety but also to get the best use out of your appliance.

  21. Kairi Gainsborough says:

    I didn’t realize that propane gas is so versatile in the home. I can see how getting a large tank would be helpful. That way you could wait longer in between delivery times. I bet it is important to know how often you will need a refill.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Thanks for commenting Kairi! You’re right, it is important to know how often you will need a refill. We do have another blog on how to check your gauge. We also have a Auto Fill program where our customers don’t have to worry about running out of fuel as it is our responsibility to make sure they never run out.

  22. Ken says:

    Does burying the propane tank protect it from exploding in a house or forest fire. And, will occupants in the house be protected should tank explode. What is the chance of propane tank explosions.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hi Ken! Thanks for commenting! Propane Tanks are constructed to high standards, all underground tanks are built to American Society Of Mechanical Engineers Standards. All propane tanks – aboveground or underground have built in safety features to protect them in emergency situations, devices such as “excess flow valves, pressure relief valves” just too mention a few safety features, makes propane tanks one of the safest storage of tanks of any fuel containers.
      Please visit http://www.propanesafety.com for more information

  23. Simon Brooks says:

    Wow, thanks for the tips, I didn’t know that most homes that make use of propane for fuel actually rented out their propane tanks rather than owning them outright. That’s definitely a distinction you need to find out as soon as possible, as that surely has a huge impact on the price. I am glad to learn however, that most propane rental companies would also extend a rental contract to the new owner so that they don’t have to worry about powering their new home.

  24. Fred Silloway says:

    In discussions with real estate agents, they often share that an above ground propane tank is sometimes a determent when trying to sell a property. Prospective buyers think it’s just a huge eyesore and ignore the advantages of propane as a fuel source. That’s why we created the “Ugly Tank Cover”. It’s a fast and simple way to hide the tank and overcome buyer objections. Easily pays for itself. As a bonus, a portion of each purchase supports Habitat for Humanity.

  25. Christina says:

    Is there a “standand size” tank? I am looking at a house that is propane heated. How long does the tank last before needing a refill typically? Are maintenance records “public” knowledge? Meaning if the owner didn’t keep a log, can I find out some way what the history is? Is there such thing as the tank having insurance, therefore if anything goes wrong, I have help cover costs/catastrophes?

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Thank you for commenting Christina! There is no such thing as a “standardized” tank, however each tank’s size is dependent on the size of the home, the average usage, and the type of propane heater the house has. As for the history of the tank, there are not any maintenance records that are public knowledge. The only way to obtain the history of the tank is through the previous homeowner or the company they were purchasing the propane from. If you have any other questions or would like us to expand upon these answers please contact us at 800-344-6457 and we would be happy to discuss some options with you. Have a great day, Christina!

  26. ron martin says:

    I’m amazed at how well written and perfectly spelled these comments are. Seriously, no grammatical errors, no spelling errors and each are nearly the same length and speak glowingly about propane. Impressive customer list you have here in rural VA.

  27. Terri R. says:

    Can propane be easily replaced with natural gas if there is a line in the sub-division?

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hello! thank you for commenting, Terri! Propane and Natural Gas are very similar in the way they are used in appliances and the way they burn. Although they are very similar, propane appliances do require conversion to use natural gas. If you would like more information or have any other questions, please call our office at 800-344-6457 and we would be happy to assist you!

  28. Terri R, says:

    Does an above ground tank have to be placed so many feet from the house? The tank is placed in the middle of the backyard making it difficult for a vehicle to get past it.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hello Terri! Thank you for commenting! Propane tanks do have code requirements that have to be followed making the propane tank a specified distance from the house. The size of the propane tank determines the requirements that need to be met. Please contact one of our propane specialists to discuss the requirements and any other possible options at 800-344-6457.

  29. Paul says:


    I am thinking about purchasing a new house that runs on propane. The research I have done shows propane is more expensive than natural gas. The house is 2300 sq ft and I’m unsure if I can afford it. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Thank you for your inquiry. First, you would need to find out if natural gas is available for your home. Natural gas may not be possible to tap into depending on the area or for residential accounts, gas lines can be costly to extend. Propane, however, is not fed by pipeline and is therefore accessible to practically any location with the option of being stored above or below ground. Not only is propane more widely available than natural gas and cheaper than electricity, but it is very often that we receive calls from natural gas customers searching for the same great service provided by local propane companies, like Foster Fuels, with no luck. Please let us know if you have any further questions. We would be happy to speak with you – 800-344-6457.

  30. Rosy says:

    We are thinking of purchasing a new construction house that has a buried propane tank. The house is around 2800 sq. feet. Approximately how long could I expect a 500 gallon fill to last while keeping the thermostat at 66 degrees? I would be using for heat and hot water only.

    I don’t want to consider this house without any idea of the heating costs and there isn’t any historical data to review.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Rosy, thank you for your question. It is possible for a house like this to average around 500-800 gallons of fuel a year, however, to best answer your question, we would need a few more details. One of our experts will be contacting you via email to better serve you and if you have any further concerns please feel free to reach out to us either by calling 800-344-6457 or our Contact Us page.

  31. john Mahoney says:

    I agree that having the maintenance records of a propane tank for your house can be very useful. I would want to have the information so I know how safe the tank is as well as when I need to replace it. I will make sure to ask about this as I prepare to buy a house with a propane heating system.

  32. Amelia sitlen says:

    Hi, I have a question. We have a 500 gallon propane tank in our backyard. It is an eyesore. We wondered if there is a way we could switch to 3 smaller tanks and store them against the house or under the deck. Is that possible?

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hello Amelia, thank you for contacting us! There is certainly a way to do what you have suggested to be rid of a possible eyesore. One of our technicians would love to provide you with an estimate free of charge. Please let us know what is the best way to contact you to get started.

  33. Robert Evans says:

    Recently looked at a home we’re interested in purchasing which has a very large above ground Propane tank on the property. The listing agent insists that the whole house uses electric heat and is not set up for gas. When asked, the agent knew nothing about the propane tank, but is looking into it. Any idea what else that tank could be used for? We’re still investigating, but would be interested in a professional insight. Thanks!

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hello Robert, thank you for commenting. If the tank you that is placed at the home you are looking into is standing upright, it is more than likely a 120 gallon tank. These types of tanks are perfectly suited for supplemental heat or for cooking on a gas range. However, vent free fire logs are the most popular appliances to be fueled by a 120 gallon propane tank. If you do not have gas logs and are interested in getting some for your possible new home, please call us at 800-344-6457 or head to one of our showrooms and we would be happy to lead you to the right direction.

  34. Wendy Astudillo says:

    I purchased a property with owned tanks. Is there a way to get them into a maintenance program?

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Thank you for commenting, Wendy. Even if the tanks are privately owned, we can certainly place those tanks on a maintenance program. When you have a moment please contact us at 800-344-6457 to discuss the opportunities.

  35. david grassey says:

    i did not know that tanks are serviced. i have a 500 gal buried tank. my home is about 20 years old and i have lived here 15 of the twenty years and have never had service on the tank. what is the service required on a tank.
    also i’m looking into the replacement of the existing propane heater which heats our 22oo sq ft home. it is located in the garage. how much does a new new heater coast. it is a heating and air furnace but i only wish to replace the heater at this time.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Thanks for the inquiry David. We will inspect everything we can on your underground propane tank visually. The tank will be inspected to make sure it has cathodic protection. If it does not , we suggest it. If it does have cathodic protection , it will be tested to make sure it is with in working range. Please contact our propane service department for details or questions.
      As for the heater, this highly depends on what you are looking for for your home and how large this home is. Please call us at 800-344-6457 to discuss the best option for your home with one of our propane specialists.

  36. Ridley Fitzgerald says:

    It’s good to learn about buying a home with propane heating. My wife and I are looking at a home with one of these, but we’ve never had propane before. I’ll be sure to ask if the owners are renting the tank, or if they own it themselves. It sounds like renting it would be the best!

  37. Jeremy Thompson says:

    Thanks a bunch for your easy to understand explanations. My family is moving soon, and we were thinking of getting propane for our home needs. It’s good to know that we should look for appliances compatible with it, if we do decide to get or rent one.

  38. Steele Honda says:

    I am going to buy a house soon as I am getting divorced. And previously all propane energy-related questions were resolved by my partner. I had no idea that some homes own their propane tank outright, while others rent it from a fuel company! I will make sure to ask this question from the beginning so that I will know if need to find a new propane source for my house.

  39. Hannah says:

    We are looking to buy a home that has two propane tanks outside and above ground. Is it more cost effective to keep using propane versus converting to central air?

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hey Hannah, we would like to know more about your situation so we can best help you. Please contact us and we’d be happy to help!

  40. JR says:

    I’m sorry I do not have the exact type of the newly-installed propane boiler system at hand. (I am not in an area serviced by Foster, so this does not pertain to them in any way). I hate the sound of it. It sounds like a distant jet plane engine, or running water, both of which are not the sound made by any oil-fired furnace I’ve ever lived with. I also hate the 25-second delay to get hot water. This function is not like the point-heating unit that I lived with in the 1970s; the water was hot within several seconds. So – there is water wasted, unless I collect it.

    I also find that the air is more humid, giving the sense of it being colder than it actually is in the rooms. There was no choice. There was no oil tank of a size, nor oil-burning furnace that could be installed in this old house. It’s not just a matter of getting used to having a change. The sound, alone puts me on edge because it sounds like a water leak, which it isn’t.

  41. Scott Adams says:

    I like that you talked about how tanks can be put underground to help your yard look nicer. I have been wanting to install a tank in my home to use in case of an emergency. I can see how it would be smart to have a tank underground because that way I wouldn’t have to worry about my lawn getting damaged.

  42. Deb Pearl says:

    I think that is a great idea to ask who owns the tank, when moving into a home with a propane tank. It would be nice to know if the company still owns the tank or not. I would love to know if we have to pay a renting fee or other fees with the tank. Thank you for the tips.

  43. Ashley Maxwell says:

    Thanks for your comment about how you can use propane as a very powerful and efficient fuel. I like how you said that it can help a lot in homes when it comes to fueling stoves, dryers, etc. My husband and I would like to use propane to help some of our home appliances work well. Thanks for your post.

  44. Amanda Drew says:

    Thanks for pointing out that propane tanks will range in size from 120 to 1000 gallons. My husband and I are trying to figure out what sort of new water heater we’ll get that will work for us and our two kids. It seems like a propane one would be good, and we’ll just need to find someone who’d be able to install it for us.

  45. Mila Wilson says:

    Hi, nice and Valuable. Boilers are very widely used in this generation, I know that particular type of Boiler is used for a particular usage, I know a place which is very wisely helpful. At BoilerSpot, you can have a glimpse of the different types of boilers, Bring Home a Combi boiler to serve multiple heating purposes of a water heater and as a central heating boiler to save your money

  46. Jocelyn McDonald says:

    My husband and I just moved to a home with a propane heater, and we could use some tips for using this system, as we are new to it. Your article is just what we were looking for, and I liked how you said to learn how large the tank is, so you know how long you can go before scheduling a delivery. We’ll want to know how often we need a refill, and we’ll keep this in mind when using our propane heater.

  47. Stefan Bradley says:

    It’s interesting to know that propane can be used for a variety of things like heating. My wife and I need a propane tank installed in our house. Hopefully, we can find a service that will help us set our propane tank up.

  48. jim simon says:

    These tips are really helpful, thanks for posting this.

  49. Ashley says:

    I liked tha you said that one thing to consider when you buy a home that uses propane is to locate the tank and find a reliable supplier. I have been thinking about buying a home that uses propane for heat but I have been worried about finding a good delivery service. I will be sure to consider researching reliable delivery services and using the one with good ratings and reviews so that I can ensure quality.

  50. Vivian Black says:

    I love when you talked about knowing whether or not the tanks are underground. My husband and I are concerned our oil tank is leaking now, and we need to find a professional to remove it for us. We will be sure to use these tips when we find a professional.

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