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Can I replace one 250 lb propane tank with four 50 lb tanks in parallel. The tank supplies a hot water heater and occasionally a fireplace. I can save quite a bit by taking the smaller tanks in to refill myself as opposed to having the gas truck deliver.

  • How many pounds do you use per month? You have to figure in the cost of your time and travel too. Can you fill small tanks for the same per-pound price as the large deliveries? Do you own or rent the current tank? You need to do a TCO analysis before deciding. – Carl Witthoft Sep 21 '16 at 19:16
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    I think i can save a couple hundred dollars a year getting my own gas. The refill station is at a store i stop at on my way home from work so i wont waste a drive to fill up. I am renting the big tank for $99 a year, so that could go for purchasing smaller tanks. The store charges 42 cents a lb less than the delivery truck. – pdq Sep 23 '16 at 2:44
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You can split the system and probably don't need 4 tanks but at least 2. If you are renting the tank and regulator you may need to buy a new regulator. Some states require restraints for smaller tanks these can be as simple as a 4x4 post in the ground with a snap chain to each tank. The post also provides a secure mounting location for the regulator. Some state require tank straps attached to the support a bit more expensive.

  • I was thinking of using two tanks at a time, switching back and forth when one pair gets low so the flow would never be interrupted. – pdq Sep 23 '16 at 2:51
  • @pdq presumably you would use a valve tee to switch between your two banks of two tanks to make your life easier? – Craig Sep 25 '16 at 6:21
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Look at: TANK SIZING to see how size affect BTU/hrs

I would make sure what your two loads listed total BTU/hrs fit in the tanks supply ability. Smaller tanks in parallel need to add up to be able to supply the required BTUs/hr.
You also will need to provide the proper regulator to hook into your multi-tank manifold.
I haul two 100lb tanks for the same reason you list.
I run a stove, LP dryer and tankless water heater on the two, but am considering adding two more tanks as I am pushing the limits when all are on at same time.

  • I suspect you mean BTU/hour delivery rate :-) – Carl Witthoft Sep 21 '16 at 19:17
  • Yes that is true. If you use to small a tank in cold weather it could basically freeze up or not output enough to gas to operate attached devices. – spicetraders Sep 21 '16 at 19:26
  • Thanks for your advice, and adding that you do this also – pdq Sep 23 '16 at 2:51

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