W H E A T E N E R G Y
Do Propane Tanks Expire

It is the perfect time and weather for outdoor activities and grilling. If you are planning a BBQ outdoor or thinking of a nice warm meal with campmates, cooking without fire in the wild is impossible. Therefore, before planning any outdoor event, check the conditions of those small Propane Tanks.

Propane cylinders are extremely strong and resilient built to contain pressurized LP safely while withstanding extreme weather and other elements. Not many homeowners are aware of this but like other things, gas tanks have a shelf life too which should be periodically reviewed and inspected.

Laws are different for small and large gas tanks used to heat portable stoves, grills, heat a home, or other building. Propane is generally stored as liquefied gas in pressured propane tanks, barbeque gas tanks, large gas cylinders, or even larger LPG tanks.

Do Propane Tanks Expire?

Yes, propane tanks of 100 pounds capacity or less expire nearly after 12 years from the date of manufacture. These expiration dates prohibit long-term use for customer safety. After the expiry date, an individual can either replace the tank or have it inspected for requalification for an additional five years.

These tanks, just like other things, are susceptible to wear and tear over the years. The most devastating consequence of using expired cylinders is gas leaks.

In regards to public safety, the usage of propane tanks is highly regulated with different laws. Laws are different for different states and the size of tanks. Even the small propane tanks used for camping are not exempted and have an expiration date.

Why Does Propane Tank Have An Expiry Date?

It is a safety measure meant to protect people from unpleasant circumstances. Over the years, the tank may have leaks, rust, punctures, or other safety hazards. The expiration date ensures the tank has the latest safety valve update.

Propane, having a low boiling point, tends to vaporize and expand easily. Therefore, the tanks are equipped with safety valves to release pressure and allow vapors to escape. 

Besides the safety valve, one additional device that needs to be evaluated periodically is OPD (Overfill Protection Device). All these safety valves and other features need to be updated, repaired, or replaced after a while. 

Different laws control the storage, handling, and use of propane gas tanks. Propane tanks have expiry dates to inspect them fully after a certain time period and see if everything is working fine.

How Long Can You Use A Propane Tank?

The shelf life varies depending on different brands, countries, and other factors. However, they all expire sooner or later. In the US, the Propane bottle is good to use for about 12 years from the date of manufacture. 

In Canada, it is usually good to use for 10 years. A recertified tank can be used for 5, 7, or 12 years in relation to the method and the type of recertification. Propane gas stored in a tank does not go bad whereas the same can not be said for the tank itself.

Every gas cylinder should be periodically checked and re-certified every 10 years. This expiry date is a safety measure that restricts long-term use. Propane suppliers will refuse to refill the tank if it was certified more than 12 years ago.

How To Know If Propane Tank Has Expired?

There is no need to take the gas tank to the technician to figure out the expiration date. The date of manufacture or requalification is often stamped onto its collar. It is usually in the month-year format. 

Tanks requalified for additional years have an E at the end of the date. Besides the date of manufacture or requalification, water content and tare weight are also mentioned on the cylinder, do not confuse the date with TW rating. 

What Should You Do When Propane Gas Tank is Expired?

When you check the propane gas tank and see it has expired. You can choose either of the following ways as your next move.

Apply For Requalification

If the tank is in good condition without any leak or rust, it can be recertified from a qualified propane gas tank re-qualifier. The re-qualifier checks the overall tank condition, state of its safety features, the date of manufacture, and the laws regarding the propane tank in your area. In most cases, recertification extends the expiry date by 5 years.

Exchange or Replace

If the tank is in poor condition or can not be recertified for another reason, you can either exchange it or buy a new one. There are many gas tank exchanging programs that exist in different states. Consult a Propane supplier to help you find the best one.

Key Takeaway

Propane tanks have a long shelf life but they do expire after a period of 10 or 12 years. The expiration date protects you and your loved ones from potential hazards. So, check the expiry date, if expired, recertify it by a qualified propane tank professional.

Related Articles

Resources

Metallurgical failure analysis of a propane tank boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE)

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/251221455_Metallurgical_failure_analysis_of_a_propane_tank_boiling_liquid_expanding_vapor_explosion_BLEVE

Propane Education & Research Council

https://www.lsu.edu/ces/conferences/altenergy2011/ae2011_puckett.pdf

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