Propane tanks are becoming an increasingly popular economical choice for everything from heating houses and powering appliances to warming pools and hot tubs and firing up outdoor fire pits or barbeque grills. If you’re ready to make the switch, consider the various advantages and disadvantages of renting and buying a propane tank.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING PROPANE?
This reliable, clean-burning fuel is listed by the Clean Air Act as an alternative to other fuel sources, promoting a cleaner environment with fewer emissions when compared to other petroleum-derived products.
The price of propane fuel is less prone to fluctuation than its substitutes, as the U.S. produces 90% of the total propane sold in the country. Along with price stability, studies show that users can save up to 50% on their electricity bills when switching to an energy-efficient heating system and following the proper maintenance.
With so many benefits, it makes sense why an increasing number of people are making the transition to propane fuel.
IS IT BETTER TO BUY OR RENT A PROPANE TANK?
Before deciding to rent or buy a propane tank, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much are you willing to spend on a propane tank?
- Do you currently have the proper amount of space for the propane tank?
- How many appliances will propane gas fuel?
- Do you plan on moving within the next 10 to 12 years?
Naturally, there are pros and cons when evaluating both owning and renting a propane tank. Consider the following criteria before you decide.
ADVANTAGES OF OWNING
Perhaps the most significant advantage of owning a propane tank is the freedom to shop the best propane rate from any gas company. When you rent, you’re subject to the distributing company’s propane prices. Buying your tank allows you to negotiate the best rate for propane.
Other cost-related advantages of owning a propane tank include:
- Finance options: To accommodate for the upfront costs, most companies offer financing options with approved credit.
- No minimum consumption rates: When renting, companies may set a minimum amount of consumption or minimum amount of connected appliances to maintain a standard usage rate. By owning, you have the freedom to consume as little or as much as you want.
- Potential to save money over time: If your tank is in good condition and doesn’t need a lot of repairs, you might save money by paying upfront and skipping the monthly rental payments.
For some people, the ability to customize their propane tanks is reason enough to buy their own. Customize your tank by choosing from a variety of colors or painting your own design — there are no artistic restrictions!
DISADVANTAGES OF OWNING
When owning a propane tank, you are responsible for any unfortunate mishaps caused by undetected necessary repairs. If you choose to rent, the company that owns the tank is responsible for their renters’ safety, making the repairs cost-free.
Some of the other disadvantages of owning a propane tank are:
- High up-front costs: Compared to monthly payments when renting, purchasing a propane tank can leave a hole in your pocket. While companies offer finance options, most restrict repayment times to a one-year payment plan.
- Higher expenses: Costs can be significant over the propane tank’s lifespan. As mentioned, companies that distribute tanks for rent are responsible for repair costs. If you own, you are liable for any damages that may occur.
- No added resale value: This investment doesn’t add any additional value to your home. If you don’t plan to live in your home for a long time, you may want to consider renting over buying.
If you purchase a propane tank for your home, you will need to hire a licensed professional to install it. Generally, installation prices will include piping, regulators, fittings, gas and other installation-related services, contributing to the high initial costs.
ADVANTAGES OF RENTING
The most significant advantage of renting a propane tank is the feeling of knowing your propane company will take care of any repairs necessary throughout your contract. Other benefits include:
- Automatic filling: Companies often have an autofill program written in their contract, relieving you from the process of finding another company to perform the same job.
- Safety: Since they are responsible for their tanks, companies will pay close attention to their customers’ safety and the integrity of their tanks.
- Freedom to move: Renting is an excellent option for those who plan to move within the next few years. If you move to a new house, the propane company will transfer the contract with you.
Companies include the tank’s installation within the rental contract, so you don’t need to hire a licensed professional to install the propane tank for you.
DISADVANTAGES OF RENTING
Before the installation process, most companies require you to purchase the piping, fittings, parts and connections necessary for the propane tank, as renting these materials isn’t an option. Other disadvantages of renting are:
- Credit checks: For the company to be sure you can maintain your payments, they will perform a credit check, where standards will vary by company and region.
- Minimum annual propane usage: Unlike owning a propane tank, where you can use as little or as much propane as you’d like, many companies set a minimum usage rate for your tank.
- Set supplier rate: Because you’re dedicating yourself to one gas company, you agree to their rates. Before committing, consider their current rates and choose one that works for you and your budgetary needs.
Ultimately, choose the option that works best for you. For most people, it comes down to maintenance. Are you comfortable taking on the responsibility of repairing your tank? Or, would you rather the propane company take care of the repairs?