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Safety Concerns and Factors to Consider Before Painting Your Propane Tanks

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Propane tanks come in a wide array of sizes. But as far as colors go, the choice is limited. For some homeowners looking for a change, they’d paint the propane tanks to make them more stylish. And there’s nothing wrong with making any part of the home attractive. However, because propane tanks come with safety standards, you can’t paint it with just any type of paint. In today’s post, we are listing down all the important factors you have to consider before painting your propane tanks:

Safety Standards and Risks of Re-Painting

Here’s a sobering fact about painting propane tanks, there are federal and state laws that mandate the safety and serviceability standards of propane tanks. As such, you’ll have to get in touch with the right authorities to determine the federal and state laws on re-painting the propane tanks. In addition, the National Fire Protection Association or NFPA require propane tanks to be painted with a light, reflective color. Why?

Darker colors tend to absorb heat. A propane tank painted a dark shade will absorb more heat. When it does, the compressed gas within it will start decompressing. This is a safety risk. Eventually, the expansion and contraction of gas will cause the temperature to become unstable. This builds up the pressure, causing the safety valve of the tank to become undone, leading to a gas leak.

Apart from decompression, heat absorption increases the risk of combustion. When the heated gas starts heating up, it could cause the gas to light up and explode.

According to the NFPA, the ideal colors for the propane tanks are silver, white and light gray. Light colors like yellow, pink, and pastel are also accepted. But to be on the safe side, call your propane supplier for guidance on this issue. Do note that your local propane supplier has the right to refuse service or refilling if you used paint that’s against safety measures.

The Type of Pain to Use

What’s the best type of paint to use for your propane tank? Use paint specifically made for metal surfaces. Ideally, you want paint with rust inhibitors to retain the integrity of your tank long after you’re done repainting it. Paint that inhibits rust will boost the safety and longevity of your tank. It helps if you can find a primer with rust-inhibiting properties too.

Rusty Propane Tanks

If say, you want to re-paint your propane tanks because they are rusty, you’ll have to prep them first. Get a metal brush and start brushing the rust away. Note that because rust is darker in color, it absorbs more heat. This makes rusty propane tanks extremely dangerous.

Once you are done prepping the tank, remove all debris and apply two layers of rust-inhibiting primer. After leaving the primer to dry, you can go ahead and paint the tank. However, for tanks that are excessively rusty, we recommend replacing the tanks instead of repainting. You can consult your propane supplier for questions about a replacement. Remember, you can always turn to your propane supplier for assistance in helping you make the tank safe and attractive.

Installing Propane Tanks

Repainting the tanks requires removing them from the main unit and re-installing. While re-installing the tanks is not rocket science, pay close attention to the process itself. You don’t want to risk a gas leak because of a poorly installed propane tank. Make sure the safety valve is working and that the tubes are tight and secured.

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