In these last days of summer, you may be spending more time outside. For many of us, that means sprucing up our yards: planting flowers, trimming hedges, and maybe adding a fresh coat of paint to our garages, sheds, shutters, or other outdoor surfaces.
But before you aim that paintbrush at your propane tank, read this.
The first thing you need to know is you can’t paint your tank any color you’d like. NFPA 58, the industry standard for safe LP gas storage and handling, dictates that propane tanks be painted a heat-reflective color, such as white.
You might remember from your high school science classes that gasses expand as they are heated. Propane is stored in tanks as a gas and a liquid, and dark-colored tanks can absorb so much heat that the gas becomes pressurized, which can cause a safety hazard.
Propane 101, a propane dealers’ site, puts it like this: a dark-colored propane tank is like wearing a black T-shirt on a hot, sunny day. You’ll be much warmer than you would in a white T-shirt, because black absorbs heat, and white reflects it.
So now you know not to paint your tank the same dark blue as your house. But there could be a dark color on your tank before you ever lift a brush to it. Rusted tanks can cause the same pressure issue as dark painted tanks, as the rust that gathers on them is usually a dark red hue. So watch for rust on your tank, and if you see it, scrape it away before slapping on a coat of white paint.
For more information, read the Propane101 article.