Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My backyard submarine!

 I had a submarine surface in my backyard today.  A peaceful pond, and then suddenly...
Well, not really.  Here's the real story: 
Not meant to be a swimming pool. 
The house is set up with propane heat, and the previous owners had installed a new tank every time they put in a new heater.  There were at least 4 propane tanks scattered around, and all of the tanks were owned by the supplying propane company.  When he cancelled their service, they took all the tanks. 

The propane companies around here offer a discount off the per-gallon rate if you buy a lot of propane at a time, and they offer a much cheaper rate if you own your tank.  So I did the math and figured out that this tank would pay for itself in a few years, and ordered a 1000 gallon buried tank. 

I dug the hole for the tank (20' x 4' x 6') on thursday, poured a concrete slab into the bottom of it and installed eye bolts to attach the tank to the slab, so that the tank doesn't float away in case of flood, and the concrete cured over the weekend.  monday I removed the form boards and dug the ditches that the gas supply lines would go into, and went to bed.  I was woken later that night by thunder, but didn't think much of it. 

Well, I should have.  we got 2.5" of rain that night, and it filled the hole and the ditches, so that when I got up tuesday morning I had a problem, and the tank was on the way. 
More digging
So I dug another hole about the same size, hoping to drain enough water to allow the tank to be set, but no luck.  I ended up digging a ditch about 30' long to a lower area. 

more digging

Once dug, the water drained in 20 minutes, and when it was low enough the tank was set into the hole. 
This tank floats in 10" of water
NW Propane did a great job on installation
The chains are connected to eye bolts in the 6" concrete slab underneath the water.
This tank is sized to allow the house to run its furnace and water heaters for 21 days.  I'll probably install a small propane-fired generator to run the basic house utilities -- water pump, some outlets, refrigerator/freezer, that sort of stuff.  That'll reduce the run time to a week or so.

This is really a creature-comfort thing for me.  This is an area that is prone to relatively-long power outages; I'd like them to be a nuisance, not an emergency.  One more thing I can check off the list.

1 comment:

Hector B said...

Ha, that was rather entertaining to read. I've been reading your blog for a while and I got to say it's easily the best of the farming blogs that I follow. Thank you.