What Does My Propane Tank’s Expiration Date Really Mean?
Propane is unique among fuels in that it must be transported and stored in a special pressurized tank. This is because it will revert to its gaseous form in normal atmospheric conditions. To prevent improper storage, propane tanks are heavily regulated.
Different laws exist for small propane tanks — such as those used for gas grills and portable stoves — and for larger tanks used to heat a home or other building. Adding to the confusion, some states have passed laws that differ from the federal mandate. In this post, we’ll attempt to shed some light on the situation.
Do Small Propane Tanks Expire?
Propane tanks of 10 gallons or less have an expiration date of 12 years from the date of manufacture. Once those 12 years are up, you can either exchange the tank for a replacement, or have it recertified for an additional five years.
Most standard-size (five gallon) BBQ tanks are exchanged regularly, so re-certification isn’t an issue a typical user will have to worry about. Seven and 10 gallon tanks — including those used on RVs and larger grills — can be recertified up to three times if they are free of dents, rust or other damage.
Where Is the Expiry Date on a Propane Tank?
A propane tank’s expiry date can be found stamped onto its collar. It will be in a month-year format — for instance, 06-17 for June 2017. Tanks that have been recertified will have an E on the end of the date. Don’t confuse the date with the tank weight rating, which is also stamped onto its collar. Tank weighting is always prefaced by the letters TW, i.e. TW18 for an 18 lb. tank.
What About Home Propane Tanks?
In most states, large propane tanks used for home heat and hot water are governed by federal container laws. These laws dictates that a propane tank can only be filled by its owner or someone authorized to act for them. In practice, this means most home propane users lease their tank from a fuel supplier, who assumes responsibility for keeping track of its expiry date.
Federal container laws, as well as other regulations governing smaller propane tank expiry dates, have been endorsed by leading industry groups such as the National Propane Gas Association. Given the specialized nature of propane fuel and the need for well-maintained, reliable tanks, these laws help enforce a standard of safety that protects all users.
Have a question about the expiration date on your propane tank? Get in touch with Foster Fuels to speak with a representative directly.