This article will help you determine if your propane tank is expired, whether it can be refilled, and what to do when it is expired.
How long are propane tanks good for?
Propane tanks are incredibly resilient, built to safely contain liquid propane gas stored under pressure while also standing up to extreme weather and elements. But even the sturdiest tank has a shelf life, and as such must be periodically reviewed and inspected. A propane tank is good for 12 years from the date of manufacture. A recertified tank is good for 5 years from the date of certification.
How to tell if your propane tank is expired.
The easiest way is to inspect the collar or handle area of your propane tank. This won’t give you a direct answer to the question “when do propane tanks expire?” but it will tell you when the tank was manufactured or last certified. Then you will be able to figure out if it is expired.
How to read the markings on a propane tank.
Near the handle, you will find a series of stamped markings. These provide important information about your tank’s origination and capacity rating. A date should appear on the handle, near the valve indicating the manufacture date. It most often reads in a standard Month-Year format. So if your tank was built in June of 2020, it would read “06-20.” Then you add 12 years to that date to see if it is expired or not.
If it is expired, look around the collar some more to see if you see a marking with the same month-year format with an E after it. It would look like this “06-20E” This would indicate that the tank was recertified on this date, meaning it is good for 5 years after this date.
Additional Propane Tank Markings.
Additional markings indicate the empty weight of the cylinder, listed as “TW.” This is helpful if you want to weigh the tank to gauge how much propane is left available for use. The stamp “WC” indicates the water storage capacity, which helps dealers know the precise amount of propane that can be safely stored inside the tank.
How to know how much gas is in your tank?
The best way to figure out how much gas is in your propane tank is to weigh it. Find the marking on your tank that starts with TW. This will tell you the weight of your tank empty. Then weigh your tank and subtract your empty tank weight by the weight of your tank currently to figure out how many lbs are left in your tank. A typical 20lb propane tank that is used for grilling will weigh 17lbs empty and they hold 20lbs of gas, so a filled grill tank will weigh 37lbs. So if you weigh your tank and it is reading 27lbs, that means there is 10lbs of gas left which is 50%.
How to know what size propane tank you have?
If you are trying to figure out how much gas fits in your tank but are not sure what size propane tank you have, find the WC marking on your tank. Then use the chart below to find out how many lbs of gas will fit in your cylinder. This will tell you what size propane tank you have.
What should you do if your propane tank is expired?
If your propane tank is expired you can go to your local gas station or hardware store to exchange it. They do not care about the expired tank because they send the tanks to get recertified. They will give you a tank that should be good for a few years which you can then refill once you empty it. You can also find a company that recertifies them. Not many places do this but if you find one close to you it may be worth it.
Is it better to exchange propane tanks or get them filled?
We always prefer refilling propane tanks because you will receive more gas when doing this. Your typical 20lb propane cylinder will fit 20lbs of gas in it. When you exchange your tank the tanks are usually prefilled with only 15lbs of gas in them so refilling usually will give you more gas and more bang for your buck!
If you are local to Columbus, Ohio, stop by Specialty Gas House in Clintonville to refill your propane tanks. We have the best pricing on refills and have a rewards program on 20lb grill tanks where your 6th refill will always be FREE! We also fill 5lb, 10lb, 30lb, 33.3lb, 40lb, 100lb, RV and forklift tanks at our facility in shop in Clintonville.