A lot of the guidance on lampwork insists that propane should be stored outside, but I don't quite get the logic of this. If the tank is outside, then you need a hard pipe, with all that that entails. Also, if there is a leak, it is a 90% chance the leak is in the soft hoses and fittings, which are all INSIDE anyway. So, having the tank outside doesn't really help you. Also, if the tank is outside, then you have to go outside to shut the tank off, but if the tank is inside, then you can much more easily shut the tank off when you are done working.

The common accident scenario I see is somebody with an outdoor tank that they leave open all the time (which I bet is what most artists do), then the leak develops in their indoor hoses, so the fact that they have the tank outside is irrelevant--except that it makes it much more likely they will not take the trouble to turn the tank off.

So, the bottom line here is tanks don't leak, hoses and fittings leak, and the hoses and fittings are INSIDE THE HOUSE. So, how is putting the tank outside helping? All it does is INCREASE the number of hoses and fittings you need.

1 Answer 1


Gas leaks are the lesser evil in this scenario. You can (and should) install gas detectors in any rooms with propane piping to warn you of any leaks.

The bigger problem is that houses (or things inside houses) can catch fire, especially in a room you actively work with fire. If any burning material comes close to or even touches a propane tank, it can erupt in an absolute massive explosion that can destroy not only your house, but also the neighboring houses. Firefighters must be able to see and recognize the danger immediately, because it changes the strategy of a simple house fire from "going in to extinguish the fire" to "stay the hell away, evacuate the neighborhood and cool the tank".

Of course a house fire involving propane piping can lead to explosions, too. But the scale is different. If the tank is shut off, there is only a small volume of gas in the pipes that results in a smaller explosion (or just an acceleration of the fire). If the tank was left open and a pipe fails during a fire, it mostly fuels the fire (just like your burner does), but the tank won't explode because the gas flowing through the pipes pushes the fire away from the tank.

In most areas it's actually illegal to store propane tanks exceeding a certain size inside the house (or any structure directly attached to the house, like a garage) because that directly endangers the lives of firefighters.

  • Right I was aware of the firefighter thing. The idea of something hot touching the tank is what I missed. May 31, 2022 at 12:49
  • Note that with the mass of steel in it you need a lot of burning stuff to seriously heat a gas cylinder. Like a full-on workshop fire, though I wouldn't recommend pointing a burner directly at it point blank. A small pile of materials in an otherwise non flammable location is far less of a hazard. But of course as in the answer, a hot work place is just where a fire is likely to start
    – Chris H
    May 31, 2022 at 17:44

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