You're filling your propane tanks right, not exchanging?


 

Fred B.

New member
I worked for a local Hardware store for almost 20 years. I've filled thousands of propane tanks. We put 20lbs of gas into a tank the weights about 17lbs empty. The exchange tanks we see are only filled to 15lbs. But many of the exchange tanks are old expired tanks that have been repainted and put bank into service. Tanks by law are only good for 12 years. The date is stamped on the handle. The exchange tanks are painted, new valve installed and a new date sticker put on. But in the long run it's still and old tank. We've had some that are so badly rusted the bottom blows out when we start filling. My advice, buy a new tank and have it filled. It's good for 12 years.
 

Steve Whiting

TVWBB All-Star
I used to exchange until a few years ago when someone here posted an article admitting that the exchange tanks are not filled to capacity (hence the 15lb claim). In the article they gave an explanation why but the difference in cost and amount of fuel was enough for me to have my tanks filled at the filling station.
 

Phil Perrin

TVWBB Hall of Fame
There is a gas station right across the street from our neighborhood and the closest grocery store both do the exchange for about $20-22 a tank.
There is a gas station about 3 miles up the road that charges $18 per fill up, whether it's empty or close to empty.
Then there's the Tractor Supply that's about 10 miles up the road. I filled BOTH my tanks up this last weekend for right about $16! Only to have her leave a burner on ALL night and All day. I think that one is about kaput! Good thing she's cute! ;)
 

Andy Erickson

TVWBB Pro
I had no idea that Costco filled tanks. Guess with the cheap prime briskets and 1/2 off propane fill ups I will become a member soon. My local hardware store charges me like $23 for a fill up.
 

Eric S.

TVWBB Fan
Next time you exchange one, try and weigh it before you use any gas. Exchange tanks are notorious for having around 15lbs. of gas, not 20.

An empty propane tank weighs between 16.5 and 17.5 lbs., supposedly. The weight is stamped on the valve shroud/handle. I've weighed them myself and found tanks well short of 20 lbs.

I weighed one. It was had 15lbs of propane in it. The convience of the Kroger 1.5 miles from my house, still outweighs the 15 minute drive to have them refilled. It would end up costing me more to have the refilled at the hardware store in the end, as they have a giant Weber and BGE section.
 

Bob Correll

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I had no idea that Costco filled tanks. Guess with the cheap prime briskets and 1/2 off propane fill ups I will become a member soon. My local hardware store charges me like $23 for a fill up.
Don't know where you live Andy, but not all Costco stores do refills, the one I go to does not.
but it does have the cheap prime briskets.
 

DaveW

TVWBB Wizard
Sure, if the refill place is some distance away and would require a special trip, you bite the bullet and pay more for an exchange tank. Have done it myself over at my brother's house. He was having a cookout, I was manning the grill. Tank emptied, flames went out, made an emergency run to the corner gas station and did an exchange.

I go to Costco perhaps twice a month. If it's been a while, and I've been doing a fair bit of grilling, I'll check my 7 tanks and see if any of them are less than approx 1/2 full. I grab the 3 that are most in need of filling and I take them with me to be refilled. The reason for 3 is that apparently there is some federal regulation saying that you can only have 3 tanks in an enclosed cabin. So, my Costco will only refill 3 tanks if you are in a car or a van. If the tanks are in the bed of a pickup truck, they will refill as many as you bring.
+

Cost of exchanging 7 tanks ? $140. Cost of refilling 7 absolutely empty tanks? <$56. Then you can get into those cases where you probably have about 1lb left in the tank, which is about 20%. Will that be enough for your next grilling session ? If not, and you take it to an exchange, you just threw away $3-$4 of propane at the exchange prices.
 

Rusty James

TVWBB Gold Member
We've had some that are so badly rusted the bottom blows out when we start filling


Rusted from the inside out?


I have a Sunbeam gas grill with a 14 year old tank, but the grill and tank are stored away from the elements, and the tank looks brand new.

Is that tank safe?
 

T Waite

TVWBB Super Fan
Well, if it ain't blowed up yet...

They won't refill it until it's been recertified. Look for a date stamped on the handle. If there's more than one, use the more recent. If it's more than 12 years ago, best bet is to trade it in on an exchange.
 

Rusty James

TVWBB Gold Member
Well, if it ain't blowed up yet...

They won't refill it until it's been recertified. Look for a date stamped on the handle. If there's more than one, use the more recent. If it's more than 12 years ago, best bet is to trade it in on an exchange.


Do they mostly rust from the inside out?


EDIT: Found this online...

A propane cylinder will not rust on the inside because there is no air in there. You need oxygen present for rusting to occur. When you look over the cylinder, pay special attention to the area under the footring. Corrosion in this area is common. Again if it's light rust, you can sand it and apply a generous amount of paint to protect it.


Here's an informative guide (PDF format) from Blue Rhino too...

 
Last edited:

Ken W

New member
Thanks for starting this thread.

I can refill at U-Haul 20 lbs for $15 or .75 a pound.

The exchange is 15 lbs for $22.5 or 1.50 a pound.

So U-Haul is basically half the price of the exchange.
 

Fred B.

New member
Rusty James; said:
Rusted from the inside out?

No, rusted from the outside. Many people never remove the plastic band that new tanks are wrapped in. So water gets behind it and starts rusting. But some I've seen rust on the bottom. Guess the tank sits in water. Depending on how it is mounted on the grill. As a rule when I remove my tank for a refill I always put a coat of car wax on it before hooking it back up. Many, or should I say most of the ones I've filled are never cleaned. They come in dripping with grease or covered in dirt.
 

Rusty James

TVWBB Gold Member
Rusty James; said:
Rusted from the inside out?

No, rusted from the outside. Many people never remove the plastic band that new tanks are wrapped in. So water gets behind it and starts rusting. But some I've seen rust on the bottom. Guess the tank sits in water. Depending on how it is mounted on the grill. As a rule when I remove my tank for a refill I always put a coat of car wax on it before hooking it back up. Many, or should I say most of the ones I've filled are never cleaned. They come in dripping with grease or covered in dirt.


Bingo!

As one with a lot of car detailing experience, I do the same thing to my cylinder.
 

BobW

TVWBB Fan
wow! After many years of Blue Rhino exchanges, I was moved by this thread to seek out a refill station. Stopped by the local Tractor Supply and filled 2 tanks to the full 20lbs for the price of one 15lb exchange. Glad I fell onto this thread or I don't think I would ever have considered anything but the exchanges.
 

Van DeWald

TVWBB Fan
Exchanges are easier, refilling is cheaper. At least for me. The local Uhual store fills the tanks with up to 4.5 gallons, you pay for the actual fuel, so even if you want to just top it off with a couple of gallons, you can.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I have had tanks refilled and have gotten exchanges both when put on a scale weigh the same and cost the same. This is from various refill stations and exchange places. I personally have no gain or saving either way
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I've gotten very nice nearly new tanks. Honestly I've had no issues either with amount of fill or quality of the tank
 

 

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