Friday, January 25, 2013

Propane Tanks, Purchasing Used

Just a quick note: If you want to add propane to your Prepper stocks using propane tanks like BBQ or RV size tanks in 10, 20, 30 & 40 lb. sizes, be aware that propane tanks do not last forever and have an expiration date. When they pass the expiration date they must be re-certified before they can be re-filled. The cost for small portable tanks is $30-$50. You may find a lot of deals advertised on Craigslist or Flea Markets just look for the expiration date before you buy and then judge for yourself it it’s a good deal or not. If you buy new tanks, which I think is the best deal, do shop around because prices vary wildly. My new 30lb tank cost me $72.00 including being filled! Other stores wanted $100.00 for an empty tank plus another $30 to fill it.

Cylinder Certification and Recertification
Cylinders are subject to recertification (also known as requalification) twelve years from their date of manufacture and every five years after that. For example, a cylinder manufactured in January of 2000 will have to be recertified in January of 2012 meaning if you take your bottle to the propane company in April of 2012 to be refilled, it will have to be requalified by authorized personnel before it can be filled. The recertification process is simple and does not take too long to complete. Think of cylinder recertification as an inspection similar to that of your car. A vehicle has to be inspected annually so that it may continue to operate safely on the road. Similarly, a propane cylinder must be inspected so that it may continue to operate safely in LP Gas service.

Here’s a picture of my 30 lb tank which looks typical of all smaller tanks. The manufacture date is stamped on the outside of the protective valve shroud or carry handle.

Here’s one of my 30 lb. RV tanks and you can see on the valve protector/carry handle, the date of manufacture 09-05 clearly stamped into it. This is typical of all small tanks.

On the other side of the carry handle you can see the recertification statement stamped in it.


  1. As my 20 pounders get near (or past) their experation date, I take them to a propane tank exchange. Presto! Newer tank for the cost of a refill.

  2. Once again, an excellent article. Guess I should really get outside and check ours out. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Six, are you talking about rental BBQ tanks? I'm not familiar with an "exchange", what do you have up there?

  4. There are exchange stations that are prevalent. Some names are Horizon, Blue Rhino, Amerigas, and a slew of others. Cost ranges from $17.99 to nearly $40 for a 20# cylinder. But, look closely at the amount of gas yhe cylinders contain, its usually only 15 or 17 pounds for a cylinder that can legally hold 20. Criminal? Only in the eyes of an informed comsumer...

    Yeah, the tank is technically yours, but rarely do you have a choice what the snot-nosed clerk pulls out. Some exchanges are completely automated. Swipe your card, door opens. You pull out the 'full' tank, and put the empty in. Otherwise, you pay a hefty surcharge.

  5. Thanks Sheldon, we have those down here I just never heard of them being called exchanges.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.