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Propane Tank Recertification


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I believe that you misunderstood what I am saying. I have not had them recertified in many cases but rather took the empty bottle that needs to be certified to one of the places that have a bottle exchange such as Blue Rhino that is found at most Lowe's stores, Ace Hardwares, and many others. There are other companies who do the exchanges but I have swapped bottles at a Blue Rhino site leaving one with certification due and taking a full bottle that was recently certified.

If you do not want to do the bottle exchange or if your bottles are a size not offered by the exchange services, then you will need to contact one of the propane vendors who do it. I know that AmeriGas vendors and FerrellGas vendors do recertification at many of their facilities and there are others but I have only had tanks certified by those two. Your propane tank recertification will cost anywhere from $35 to $60. It varies according to the service provider and the weight of the tank.

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I also exchange expired tanks at either of my local options:  Home Depot (Paraco) or Lowe's (Blue Rhino).  Both advertise this service and have no issues taking an expired tank in exchange.  However, there is still an issue.  At either place I am likely to receive a tank that has expired and has not been recertified.  It makes no difference whether I turn in a new or expired tank.  The expired, uncertified tanks work just fine but no one fill refill them.  Most often I refill tanks so this is an issue.  At Lowe's the cage is in the garden center and unlocked so I pick out my own replacement rather than just take what the employee grabs.

I do not understand why regs are strictly followed if I want to get a tank filled but ignored when I pick up exchange tanks.  Maybe this is just a local issue.  

 

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16 hours ago, WanderingStar said:

My propane tanks are due for recertification. For anyone in the OKC area that may be in need of recertification as well, this is where it can be done for $15 per tank. Red Baker Propane (405) 677-5277.

It has been a while since I got a tank recertified and I thought this was about normal, however....

2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Your propane tank recertification will cost anywhere from $35 to $60. It varies according to the service provider and the weight of the tank.

In doing some research I found the that the price varies based on the type of recertification done and can go as much as $3-$4 per pound of propane held. Well, heck that could make it cost more to recertify than the cost of a new tank which has a 12 year certification. 30# tanks at Tractor Supply run $110. 

1 hour ago, JimK said:

I also exchange expired tanks at either of my local options:  Home Depot (Paraco) or Lowe's (Blue Rhino).  Both advertise this service and have no issues taking an expired tank in exchange.  However, there is still an issue.  At either place I am likely to receive a tank that has expired and has not been recertified.  It makes no difference whether I turn in a new or expired tank.  The expired, uncertified tanks work just fine but no one fill refill them.  Most often I refill tanks so this is an issue.  At Lowe's the cage is in the garden center and unlocked so I pick out my own replacement rather than just take what the employee grabs.

I do not understand why regs are strictly followed if I want to get a tank filled but ignored when I pick up exchange tanks.  Maybe this is just a local issue.  

In some locations selling propane in an expire tank comes with some very heavy penalties which is why places where you get them refilled will decline to fill an expired tank. Those same penalties also apply to places the Blue Rhino and Amerigas so if you are getting an expired tank I would call them on it or at least examine the tank before taking it to check the date. Here is how to read the dates on the tanks for certification and recertification.

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4 hours ago, Chalkie said:

Those same penalties also apply to places the Blue Rhino and Amerigas so if you are getting an expired tank I would call them on it or at least examine the tank before taking it to check the date.

Both of those companies will exchange a full bottle that has current certification with one that certification has expired with no extra cost. The places where their tanks are refilled check the dates and recertify the tank before it is filled and put back into the system. If in doubt, just ask the person you swap tanks with when your is expired.

 

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Both of those companies will exchange a full bottle that has current certification with one that certification has expired with no extra cost. The places where their tanks are refilled check the dates and recertify the tank before it is filled and put back into the system. If in doubt, just ask the person you swap tanks with when your is expired.

 

That might be the regulation, but it is not happening!  A great many of the filled tanks ready for distribution to customers are out of date and not recertified.  The other well known issue is that the tanks are only filled to 15#.  There is no safety or regulatory reason for this.  It is just an intention shorting of the customer who often does not know any better.

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40 minutes ago, JimK said:

That might be the regulation, but it is not happening!  A great many of the filled tanks ready for distribution to customers are out of date and not recertified.  The other well known issue is that the tanks are only filled to 15#.  There is no safety or regulatory reason for this.  It is just an intention shorting of the customer who often does not know any better.

The claim was that lowering the quantity let them hold the keep the price down despite rising propane costs. That's been a common practice with a lot of products in recent years.

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The $15 refill is not something that is recent.  It has been going on for as long as I can remember.  Somehow no one seems to mind.  If you went to the gas station to get 20 gallons and only got 15, there would be some complaining.

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10 hours ago, JimK said:

A great many of the filled tanks ready for distribution to customers are out of date and not recertified.  The other well known issue is that the tanks are only filled to 15#.  There is no safety or regulatory reason for this.  It is just an intention shorting of the customer who often does not know any better.

I know that the exchange bottles are sometimes short by weight, and possibly they alwyays are as I have only weighed one a few times and then only a 20# bottle. I did some digging as I used to track such things and the last one that I got was weighed at just over 18# by my bathroom scale, but that was nearly 2 years ago. I found one other that goes back even farther that weighed 17.5#. Both were from Blue Rhino and in both cases I turned in a bottle that was past due for certification and the first one was replaced by a bottle that had 8 years remaining and the older one had 6 years 8 months. I would agree that most of the time they do short you on the amount of propane but for me, it is a very quick way to get a current bottle and also convenient. 

Even so, JimK makes a good point of getting less than a full bottle from those swaps. It is something that I have known for a while but didn't really think about. I only use those swap places to replace an expired bottle, or at least one time it was in CA and the only place that I could find to get propane and I was out.

Edited by Kirk W
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1 hour ago, Kirk W said:

I know that the exchange bottles are sometimes short by weight, and possibly they alwyays are as I have only weighed one a few times and then only a 20# bottle. I did some digging as I used to track such things and the last one that I got was weighed at just over 18# by my bathroom scale, but that was nearly 2 years ago. I found one other that goes back even farther that weighed 17.5#. Both were from Blue Rhino and in both cases I turned in a bottle that was past due for certification and the first one was replaced by a bottle that had 8 years remaining and the older one had 6 years 8 months. I would agree that most of the time they do short you on the amount of propane but for me, it is a very quick way to get a current bottle and also convenient. 

Even so, JimK makes a good point of getting less than a full bottle from those swaps. It is something that I have known for a while but didn't really think about. I only use those swap places to replace an expired bottle, or at least one time it was in CA and the only place that I could find to get propane and I was out.

Blue Rhino dropped the amount of LP in their exchange cylinders from 17 pounds to 15 pounds in 2008.

https://bluerhino.com/propane-info/faqs/buying-blue-rhino-tanks-faqs/how-much-propane-does-blue-rhino-put-in-its-tanks

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On 9/29/2022 at 6:31 AM, JimK said:

The $15 refill is not something that is recent.  It has been going on for as long as I can remember.  Somehow no one seems to mind.  If you went to the gas station to get 20 gallons and only got 15, there would be some complaining.

 Propane tanks are never filled to capacity, they are only filled to 80% of their capacity to allow for expansion when the temperature is warmer. The best time to fill your propane tanks is typically when it is cold out if they are not actually measuring the amount of gallons put in. 

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3 hours ago, Star Dreamer said:

 Propane tanks are never filled to capacity, they are only filled to 80% of their capacity to allow for expansion when the temperature is warmer. The best time to fill your propane tanks is typically when it is cold out if they are not actually measuring the amount of gallons put in. 

Propane cylinders CAN be filled to their rated capacity that's 80% of the water capacity. The point though, is that Blue Rhino and other exchange companies are only filling 20 lb (4.86 gallon) capacity cylinders to 15 lbs (3.65 gallons). Blue Rhino does make that clear on their labels now, but as I recall it took a lawsuit to force that. The most accurate way to fill an LP tank or cylinder is using the Fixed Liquid Level Gauge, commonly called the "vent" or "spitter valve". The FLLG gives a positive indication that the liquid level has reached the 80% level. The OPD, the Overfill Prevention Device, will also shut off the fill flow at 80%, but should only be considered as a backup to the FLLG or filling by weight.

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36 minutes ago, Dutch_12078 said:

Blue Rhino does make that clear on their labels now, but as I recall it took a lawsuit to force that.

I'm not sure which company but, at one time, one brand of those swap-a-bottle places was using a proprietary gauge so no other brand could fill their bottles. People quickly learned to leave those bottles at a different brand's stand. I suspect the other brands got that practice stopped.

Linda

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21 hours ago, Star Dreamer said:

 Propane tanks are never filled to capacity, they are only filled to 80% of their capacity to allow for expansion when the temperature is warmer. The best time to fill your propane tanks is typically when it is cold out if they are not actually measuring the amount of gallons put in. 

My local propane dealer uses a scale and fills tanks to 20#.  A 20# tank is designed to hold that much propane.  Depending on temperature that is about 4.7 gallons.  There is no reason to grossly underfill tanks except to cheat the customer.  After years and years of this ripoff, it now seems to be accepted.  That is one reason I try to have my tanks refilled.  For my two tanks I would get 10# more than for the exchange tanks.  

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I just did some searching on Google for data on the proper filling of propane portable bottles, and speficily I used a 20# bottle. What is interesting is that not all sights agree. Learn Metrics said this:

Quote

80% propane tank rule. Namely, every propane tank is filled up to 80% of its total capacity. Example: A 20 lb tank doesn’t hold 20 lb of propane. Rather, it contains 16 lb of propane. This is a safety requirement.

AmeriGas states:

Quote

20 pound propane tanks are often referred to as grill cylinders and hold 4.6 gallons of propane when full.

Empty grill tank states:

Quote

A 20 lb propane tank holds 4.5 gallons of propane and weighs 37 pounds full.

I found several other propane suppliers that state it should have 20# of propane by weight or between 4.5 & 4.7 gallons if by gage.

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7 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

I just did some searching on Google for data on the proper filling of propane portable bottles, and speficily I used a 20# bottle. What is interesting is that not all sights agree. Learn Metrics said this:

AmeriGas states:

Empty grill tank states:

I found several other propane suppliers that state it should have 20# of propane by weight or between 4.5 & 4.7 gallons if by gage.

Yes, that first quote is just plain wrong. The 80% is based on the water capacity of the tank or cylinder.

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A good propane dealer will fill the tank on a scale to tare weight plus 20 lbs.  Tare weight should be about 17.5 lbs.  Then, once the tank has reached the 37.5 lbs, the dealer should charge by the gallon for what was pumped into the tank. 

Most dealers I've seen just charge a flat rate for a given tank size, but they still should fill the tank on a scale to proper weight.

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1 hour ago, durangodon said:

A good propane dealer will fill the tank on a scale to tare weight plus 20 lbs.  Tare weight should be about 17.5 lbs.  Then, once the tank has reached the 37.5 lbs, the dealer should charge by the gallon for what was pumped into the tank. 

Most dealers I've seen just charge a flat rate for a given tank size, but they still should fill the tank on a scale to proper weight.

The most accurate fill is done using the Fixed Liquid Level Gauge, but not all states require it. When the FLLG is correctly used, you know that tank or cylinder is properly filled to the 80% of capacity level with no dependence on scale accuracy. I don't recall using any LP filling station that had a certified scale.

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I'm sure that filling procedures vary from State to State.  Here's a quote from the following ARTICLE  which also reflects my understanding.  In the campgrounds I've had experience with, the bulk propane supplier furnished a certified scale as well as the bulk tank and maintained both to standards.

Refilling

Propane tanks can be filled by weight or volume.But according to DOT regulations, propane tanks with less than 200 pounds capacity must be refilled by weight. The proper refilling procedure is detailed in the CETP handbook. While refilling, the propane tank and equipment may not be left unattended. After filling the tank, it should be plugged or capped before transfer to a customer. If the tank has been overfilled, do not give it a customer. Dispensing equipment must be shut down and secured when not in use. Missing or illegible labels on the cylinder must be replaced. Tanks weighing less than 100 pounds must have a customer warning/information label. Tanks that will be shipped must have compliant DOT labels.

 

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In 1998, propane tanks were required to have OPD valves which prevent overfilling.  The old tanks were allowed to remain in use until 2002.  After that point it was illegal to refill the old tanks. In 2002 lots and lots of tanks ended up in recycling or in the dumps.

Propane dealers often use scales or volume meters, but this is overkill since the OPD valves prevent overfilling.  Again 20# tanks are designed to hold 20# of propane or about 4.7 gallons.  Exchange vendors just short the customer to increase profits.  

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2 hours ago, JimK said:

In 1998, propane tanks were required to have OPD valves which prevent overfilling.  The old tanks were allowed to remain in use until 2002.  After that point it was illegal to refill the old tanks. In 2002 lots and lots of tanks ended up in recycling or in the dumps.

Propane dealers often use scales or volume meters, but this is overkill since the OPD valves prevent overfilling.  Again 20# tanks are designed to hold 20# of propane or about 4.7 gallons.  Exchange vendors just short the customer to increase profits.  

OPD valve limits filling over 80%, 16# =3.4G is maximum capacity.

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