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What is LPG?

Your guide to LPG

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What is LPG?

Your guide to LPG

The Nature of LPG

LPG has been formed over millions of years beneath the ground. Gas rigs produce the gases as a mixture, which is then separated into methane (mains gas), liquefied petroleum gases (Propane and Butane) and other gases.

LPG is also produced from crude oil at refineries. LPG exists as a gas at normal atmospheric pressure, only existing in a liquid form at very low temperatures or under pressure. When the pressure is released (eg when the gas supply valve is turned on), the liquid will boil and form a vapour. It is this vapour (gas), which is used to fuel appliances.

Heat is needed to convert the liquid to gas, known as the latent heat of vapourisation. As the liquid boils, it takes heat energy from itself and its surroundings. This is why the containers feel cold to the touch and if there is heavy gas off take, frost may appear on the outside.

Pressure increases with temperature, so if the temperature around the tank increases, so will the pressure inside the tank as the liquid expands. Tanks are normally fitted with a pressure release valve to release any extreme pressure build up safely.

Properties of LPG

LPG vapour is heavier than air, which has important safety implications. Any leakage will sink to the ground and accumulate in low lying areas and may be difficult to disperse, so LPG should never be stored or used in cellars or basements.

Like mains gas, LPG has no smell and so a strong "stenching" agent is added before delivery to help detection of any leaks. LPG is flammable in air and although non-toxic, large quantities could cause suffocation. LPG is a high performance fuel, but will only ignite if mixed with air in a gas:air ratio of between 1:50 and 1:10 (lower than the limit for mains gas). The low limit for flammability means that even small leaks could have serious results.

The ignition temperature of LPG in air is around 500ºC – lower than that of mains gas but actually requiring more energy to cause ignition. This means that some gas lighters may not work with LPG. The calorific value of LPG is about 2.5 times higher than that of mains gas so more heat is produced from the same volume of gas.

LPG is chemically reactive and will cause natural rubber and some plastics to deteriorate. Only equipment and fittings specifically designed for LPG should be used.

Propane & Butane

There are two types of LPG - Propane and Butane. They have similar properties but different applications. They are not interchangeable due to the different operating pressures and burner settings required. Valves and fittings are also different to avoid confusion or accidental use of the wrong type of LPG. Propane has a lower boiling point than butane so it will continue to convert from a liquid to a gas even in very cold conditions, down to -45ºC. When stored as a liquid in a tank, it exerts a greater pressure than Butane at the same temperature.

So Propane, as an LPG, is most suitable for exterior storage and use. Its ability to operate in low temperatures makes it the most suitable LPG for many applications. Propane is widely used as a fuel source for domestic and commercial heating, hot water and cooking. It also has a wide range of uses in industry and agriculture.Butane has the lower vapour pressure at equivalent temperatures and is suitable for interior use or outside during the summer. Butane is a very common fuel amongst leisure users and owners of portable heaters. Propane and butane are normally stored in either portable steel cylinders or small bulk fixed storage tanks ready for use.

Bulk Tank Installation and Supply

Quick and simple to install, bulk tanks have fast become the most economical way to enjoy all the advantages of bulk gas from LPG tanks.

LPG tanks are small, compact and at the heart of your cleaner-burning LPG home-supply system. These neat, below ground or above ground storage tanks are kept supplied by regular road tanker deliveries.

AvantiGas installs bulk tanks in compliance with all your local Health & Safety regulations. We ensure all LPG tanks are the optimum distance from your house and its boundaries; positioned for best protection from accidental damage; easy access for our LPG refilling vehicles.

What are my storage tank options?

AvantiGas provide a variety of bulk tank options to suit you and your lifestyle. We offer both above ground and underground tank options in a range of sizes, dependant on your LP gas usage and available storage space. Most households and businesses would find that an above ground LPG tank is suitable, however it is not always the most desired option if you wish to keep your garden or land looking picturesque. With AvantiGas, our trained representatives and engineers can help you every step of the way from advising you on the size of your tank to the best position for your tank dependent on your requirements.

Above Ground Tank Option

This is the visible bulk tank that sits on a concrete base in a carefully selected area of your garden or land. There is less preparation work needed with this option compared to the underground tank. The concrete base the tank sits on needs to be flat and level with the ground and in accordance with current legislation. The dimensions for the base on a typical 1410 sized tank are 2mx1.5mx150mm. There also needs to be a minimum separation distance between the tank, buildings, boundary and fixed source of ignition of 3.0M on 1400 and 2250 tanks for safety reasons. The only other work to be carried out for above ground tank is a trench for the pipe work. Once the preparation work has been carried out correctly, the pipe work and tank can be easily installed by AvantiGas and once this is done you are ready to take delivery of LPG.

With the above ground tank you can screen it should you wish to. Materials that you can screen the tank with include evergreen shrubs such as laurel and holly or a non-flammable open branched, ranch style fence. A screen is only allowed on one side of the tank and should be 1M away (for tanks sized 5,000 litres or below), so consider carefully which side would work best for you whilst still complying with safety regulations.

Underground Tank Option

Should the look of your landscape be of high importance to you, you may wish to consider the underground tank option from AvantiGas. This involves more preparation work for the installation of the tank, but once installed will be out of sight .There are two size options for an underground tank; 2400L or 4000L. The AvantiGas representative will advise you on the best option dependent on your requirements. As an example to the scale of excavation needed in order to install a typical 2200L underground tank you would need to excavate the following dimensions: 3000mm long x 2000mm wide x 1550mm deep. The AvantiGas representative will also agree the most practical and shortest route for your underground pipework that will need to go from the end of the base to the premises.