You’ve got your small group from church over and have 16 hamburgers on the grill and have the hotdogs on a plate ready to go as soon as the burgers are ready, and all of the sudden the flame goes out. Panic ensues. You immediately realize that your wife told you that you needed to make sure that there was enough propane in the tank, but you assured her that there was plenty of LP in the 20lb propane tank.
You were wrong.
These days it seems like you can exchange your empty propane tank just about anywhere. Gas stations, supermarkets, drugstores… they all seem to be getting in on the action of propane tank exchange. And for homeowners, this seems like the best solution for your gas/propane needs. Exchage service does make it quick and easy to get back to your grill, but are you really getting the most for your money?
The biggest issue with exchanging propane tanks is that you probably are not getting a full tank. Most cages will say that the tanks are filled to 15lbs. Standard “Gas Grill” propane tanks hold 20lbs. They tell you that the reason they only fill to 15lbs is for safety reasons. If that is the case, then why have the tanks always been safe at 20lbs. There is still about 20% space left for expansion at 20lbs.
Not only that… a few years ago the government changed some of the regulations and safety features on propane tanks that require a specific type of valve that ensures that overfilling is not possible. It shuts off if you try to overfill.
OK, but even with 15lbs, that isn’t THAT bad. We’re still getting 3/4 of a tank each time. Right?
Well, MOST people don’t wait until the tank is absolutely empty to go get it exchanged. In fact, most people will refill or exchange when there is about 5lbs left in the tank.
See where I’m going. You paid for 20 but got 15 and then you used 10 before you decide it is time to go back and buy 20 again…
The Math Don’t Add Up!
From our stand point, we fill your tank every time. Our trained employees will inspect your tank and make sure that it is still safe to use. Propane tanks are certified for 12 years. Even if it looks brand new, if the tank has gone past the date stamped on the neck of the tank, we will be unable to refill it. At that point, we DO recommend taking the tank to an excahange facility and exchange it out for one that you can have refilled. Try to find the newest one you can and then come back to us when it is time to have it refilled.
This whole article has focused on “gas grill” propane tanks, but being a refilling station, we also refill any size propane tank. We refill the 33lb “forklift” propane tanks (these tanks are actually being used on some commercial lawn mowers and tractors now… we get some of those customers.) We also fill RVs or Campers. We refill propane for roofing and asphalt companies who use the big tanks on their trucks.
Refilling propane is still very much needed. Can you imagine this guy having to go and exchange his two 100 gallon propane tanks everytime he needed a refill? That would be rediculous.
This is why we still fill propane at our Doraville, Duluth and Oakwood stores.