Propane Tank FAQ's, Help, and Tutorials
Propane Tank Expiration
- Every propane tank will have a manufacture date stamped into the metal or stuck onto it with a sticker. They can be hard to read and find, but the date will be there. The date is almost universally in the form "MM YY" and occasionally has a small symbol as a separator. You may also find the date in the form "MM YY E" or "MM YY S" where E and S are literally the characters E and S and MM and YY are the month and year of manufacturing, respectively. If your tank has a date in the first format, your tank is o.k. to be refilled for 12 years from its manufacturing date. If your tank is in the second format, your tank is an exchange tank and can be filled for 5 years after its manufacturing date. If your tank is in the third format, your tank can be filled for 7 years after its manufacturing date.
- Another way which a tank can be disqualified is it having the "star" valve handle. Tanks with the "star" valve handle cannot be filled. Any tank to be filled must have the new 3-pronged, OPD (Overfill Prevention Device) valve. This valve has a triangular-ish shape and OPD stamped on its handle.
- If you notice that your tank doesn't seem empty, but you aren't getting a reasonable flame, it is likely that you opened the valve on your propane tank too quickly and "slugged" the tank. To resolve this issue, turn the tank off all the way and open it up very slowly. Try lighting the grill/appliance again. If, after several attempts, you still can't seem to get a good temperature or flame, consider bringing the tank in for us to look at.
- The best way to determine how much propane you have left is to weigh your tank outside. The typical tank used for a grill is a "20 lb. cylinder;" this means that your tank can hold 20 pounds of propane at its maximum On any propane tank, you can find a number (usually between 16.6 and 19.5) and then the letters "TW" in the format "xy.z TW." This tells you that the tare weight (TW) is xy.z lb. This all means that your propane tank will way, at most, when it is totally full, 20 + xy.z pounds (between 36.6 and 39.5 pounds depending on the TW) and will weigh its TW when it is absolutely empty. If you have the means to safely measure the weight of the tank outside, you can do so to more accurately gauge how much propane you have left:
- (percent propane remaining) = ((weight of tank) -TW) / 20