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what size of propane tank?


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I'm going to be setting up a small gas kiln that will run on propane and am not sure what size propane tank to get.  The previous owner of the kiln said that a glaze firing used around 9 gallons of propane (she ran it off a large tank that powered her house but is pretty sure of the number) and I expect to fire maybe 10 times a year at most so I was thinking about leasing a 120 gallon  tank or buying a couple of portable 23 gallon tanks.  However, I have also heard about propane tanks freezing during firing?  I would really appreciate hearing about what has worked for others that fire smaller propane kilns.  Thanks much!

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Most folks use 20# grill tanks because they can be refilled fairly easily. A 20 pound tank really only contains less than 5 gallons of propane so your 9 gallon per firing figure if correct means you need at least two  or three of these filled for a single firing.  Point of fact most folks only fill these to 75% capacity so even less than 4 gallons. The tank itself usually weighs 17 pounds so when all is said and done, a 20 pound tank full weighs about 40 pounds. Small tanks freeze up faster than large as its simply a function of how much can the ambient air heat the tank, but 40 pounds is manageable to lug around. Bigger gets to be more difficult.

If you know how many btu your burners are, then we can approximate from there as well. At 9 gallons per firing a larger tank that someone comes and fills could  actually make sense.

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the 120 gallon is about the biggest I can do.  I just wasn't sure if the 120 was likely to freeze and therefore  I should go with several smaller tanks so that I could potentially switch them out as they froze.  I would prefer a single tank but don't want it to die mid firing.  Neil, from your response it sounds like you think a 120 tank would likely avoid freeze-up issues? Thanks so much. Jan

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If it ever ices up at the outfeed you can run a slow drip water hose on that part.It will only do that if its really cold out.My friends Giel ran fine off a 120 gallon tank but he lives on the coast of Nor-cal

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jan, have you contacted your local LP gas company for their input?   i was told that my local outfit would not consider anything for a kiln less than a huge tank.   rental fees for even a 100 gallon or whatever measurements they used were over $100 a year.   that is rental only.   the cost of gas around here is ridiculous.  

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1 hour ago, jan1919 said:

the 120 gallon is about the biggest I can do.  I just wasn't sure if the 120 was likely to freeze and therefore  I should go with several smaller tanks so that I could potentially switch them out as they froze. 

A 120 gallon tank will contain  about 96 gallons of propane which under your 9 gallons per firing seems ideal……. And it is very unlikely that you will freeze it especially if it’s half full or better ; however tanks freeze in large part because of the surface area  of liquid / gas in the tank and the tanks ability to be heated by the surrounding medium. A lot of complicated blah, blah blah but the point is a small diameter (20#/ 12” dia)  freezes faster than a 120 gallon (96 gal /30” diameter) which still freezes faster than a horizontal tank (250 gallon) which freezes faster than a horizontal tank buried in the ground.

120 gallons should be fine, and is significantly bigger in diameter than a 20 pound, but the next size I think is 250 gallons and horizontal and because it is horizontal is much less likely to freeze so if you have the footprint a 250 gallon tank gets you 200 gallons of propane or plenty to operate for a whole year before refill. The recommendation is typically to try and never go below 30% filled for any tank.

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