Expired Propane Tanks

I recently posted an item called Turn Off The Gas Supply in which I discussed the importance of doing just that each time you finish grilling. In that post, I showed this photo of a typical 20 lb. propane tank that I got from Wikimedia Commons:

20lb propane tank

Notice anything special about this tank? Let’s take a closer look.

Close-up of expired propane tank

See that number “01-99” stamped into the valve guard? That’s the manufacturing date of this tank—January 1999.

Propane tanks can be refilled for up to 12 years after their manufacturing date. For this tank, that was until the end of January 2011. After that date, reputable propane dealers will not refill the tank unless it has been recertified. You can get tanks recertified for a fee at larger commercial propane dealers. Recertified tanks get an additional stamp or mark on the valve guard and can be used for an additional 5 years, at which time they need to be recertified again.

What causes a tank to fail recertification? Extensive rust is one thing. And if valve requirements have changed by law,  you may need to have the valve replaced in order to recertify.

Why do I know anything about this subject? Because last year I took a tank to the A-1 Rental Center near my home for a refill and was told that they would refill it one last time, but next time they would not because it had expired. Surprise!

Of course, this issue is not relevant if you do the tank exchange thing at the supermarket, gas station, or big box store. Tank exchange is very convenient, but at least where I live, if you do the math, it’s cheaper to own a tank and refill it over 12 years than it is to do tank exchange, so that’s the route I have chosen.

But when my tank expired, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to find a place to recertify it and pay the fee, so I just bought a new tank.

Now…how to get rid of an old propane tank? That’s coming up in a future post.