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When Do Propane Tanks Expire?

When Do Propane Tanks Expire?

Even if you’re a charcoal-loving grillmaster, there’s a good chance you have a portable propane tank lying around somewhere.

These tanks have a variety of use cases, and it’s a good idea to have one readily available. But did you know that propane tanks expire? If not, you’re about to learn something new.

Today we’ll help you to know when propane tanks expire and what you should do when they reach their expiration date.

Let’s dive in!

How Long Do Propane Tanks Last Before Expiring?

Propane tanks are unlike cartons of milk. They don’t have an expiration date printed on them. However, they do have a date of manufacture stamped on the tank’s color. Portable propane tanks (100 pounds or less) expire after 12 years from the date of manufacture.

The date of manufacture will be stamped in a numeric, month-year format. For example, 11-22 for November 2022. This tank’s expiration (or recertification date) would be November 2034.

Close up of propane tank
You can find your propane tank’s expiration date printed on the side of the tank.

What Happens When a Propane Tank Expires?

When a propane tank expires, it needs to go through the recertification process. You need to take your propane tank to a trained professional to have it recertified. They’ll typically use one of three methods (volumetric expansion, proof pressure, or external visual) to certify your tank. Depending on their method of recertifying your propane tank, it could be suitable for an additional five to 12 years.

However, not all propane tanks can pass recertification. If there are any damages to the cylinder or indications of rust, pitting, cracks, or fire damage. Propane is extremely dangerous, and no professional will take chances with a tank showing signs of wear and tear.

How Do You Tell If Your Propane Tank is Expired?

If you want to know whether your propane tank is expired, check the manufacturer date on the collar. Check for a recertification sticker if the tank is older than 12 years old. It will include the last inspection date and the recertification date. 

When in doubt, take it to a reputable propane supplier to see if they’ll fill it. A reputable propane supplier will check your expiration date before pumping propane into it. If the tank is expired, you may have to buy a new one. However, some propane suppliers allow you to trade in the tank for a new one.

Pro Tip: Running low on propane? Find out Where to Refill Your RV Propane Tanks.

Colorful propane tanks in a pile
If your propane tank expires, either get it recertified, trade it in, or buy a replacement.

What Do You Do with Expired Propane Tanks?

Suppose you have an expired propane tank. Which option you choose will depend on your situation. So let’s look at all your options for your defunct propane tank.

Recertify

One option to consider is to have your propane tanks recertified. This will require you to seek a trained professional to recertify your old tank. Depending on the individual and their recertification method, this can cost $35 to $60.

Tanks certified using the volumetric expansion method are usable for an additional 12 years. Those that went through proof pressure are good for seven years, and any that went through the external visual process are only certified for five.

As long as it passes the inspection, you’ll be able to fill it up immediately and use it.

Trade It In

Another option is to use an exchange program to trade your expired propane tank. Many people utilize these programs through brands like Blue Rhino. These exchange programs allow users to stop worrying about their tank reaching the expiration date. They can take the empty tank to the store, pay a similar price to a propane refill, and walk away with a new tank.

Purchase a New One

You can always purchase a new tank if you don’t want to deal with recertification or trading your old tank in. Prices typically start at $50 for an empty 20-pound tank ager. However, buying a new tank will likely mean you don’t have to worry about your propane tank’s certification for at least the next decade.

Just make sure you take note of the manufacture dates when purchasing, or you could be losing years off the certification of your tank.

Pro Tip: Propane is not just for grilling! Try out these Simple RV Propane Hacks When Camping.

Check the Expiration Date on Your Propane

Just like that carton of milk in the fridge, it’s a good idea to check the expiration date on your propane tanks now and then. The expiration date can quickly sneak up on you, and you could find yourself getting turned away at the propane refill station.

If you need the propane for a heat or cooking source, you may have to buy a new tank on the spot. 

Tracking down someone to recertify your tank may not always be the easiest task. So make sure you avoid putting off having your tanks recertified. You don’t want to find yourself in a jam because you procrastinated.

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