Replace or refill propane tanks

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Campgrandma, Feb 4, 2021.

  1. Campgrandma

    Campgrandma Member

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    What should you do she propane tanks are empty? Do you go to a RV center to have refilled or is replacing the tank from a local store ok? Is there a difference between having the original tank refilled versus using a new tank from Walmart,etc?
     
  2. LjohnSaw

    LjohnSaw So many fish, so little time...

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    Refilling tanks are the best (at a good shop). Some shops charge a flat fill rate. If your tanks are not completely empty, that's not a good deal. I go to a place that charges for what they add and if more than 15 gallons (4 tanks), a discount. Pay cash, a discount. The 20 pound/5 gallon tanks can hold up to 4.7 gallons. Need gas space to expand when they get hot. If you do swaps (Walmart), look at the label. Most say they are filled to 3.5 gallons - so ripping you off if you are look at the cost/gallon. I only do swaps when I pick up free tanks that are outdated or old valves.
     
  3. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Local feed store by me refills by the gallon. Some of the UHaul dealers do as well - much cheaper to refill. There is one gas station that also refills, but theirs is a flat fee for a 20lb tank, regardless what you have left in it.

    I only exchange when my tanks get out of date. Most of the time I get a brand new tank when I do that.
     
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  4. Arruba

    Arruba Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    As mentioned above, I’m in the refill it crowd. It maybe a regional thing, I’ve never seen anyone around here charge a flat rate for filling your propane tank. In my neck of the woods some houses are propane powered, so the two local propane distributors are cheapest. To answer your other question, propane tanks are pretty universal in North America.

    As mentioned also above, tanks have an expiration or recertification date if you’re unaware. It’s 12yrs from the date of manufacture stamped on the tank. If your date is getting close it may be cheaper and easier to just swap. The following explains it.

    https://www.ferrellgas.com/tank-tal...-propane-tank-is-expired-and-what-to-do-next/

    Good luck with your decision.
     
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  5. nhlakes

    nhlakes Well-Known Member

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    You asked if it was 'ok' to exchange tanks at a tank swap place. Yes, that's fine. Your camper will not know the difference - unless you swap for one with a bad valve. It happens...

    As others have pointed out, it is cheaper to have them filled and you will avoid swapping what may be new tanks for old tanks.

    In recent years we've done a bunch of long distance trip in the winter months, meaning we're using more propane. We carry three tanks, 2 on the camper and one in the back of the truck. We'll swap the empty tank at a walmart (or similar) when replenishing our spring/drinking water. We're paying more for less, but the convenience is sometimes worth it traveling with limited time.
     
  6. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    We are in the "refill" group. We've used U-Haul places for refills, the most handy for us at the moment is the KOA three miles from our house. It costs us around $13, tax included, to fill a tank if it's empty. We are only charged for the LP dispensed.
    We have two tanks with an auto-changeover on the trailer. We now have another 20# one to take for our propane campfire, and as an extra (never needed it for that). We rotate the tanks on and off the trailer.
    I like knowing the history of the tanks. We save far more than enough by refilling to buy new tanks when their certification date is up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  7. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    Refill - BUT - watch your expiration date - some U-Haul locations will check the expiration date and then not refill your tank if its expired. Other U-Haul locations do not check. If your expiration date is expired - go to Safeway and do an Exchange Tank (15 Lb fill). When its empty-ish rip off the (Exchange) label and get it refilled ( 20 Lb fill) until it expires.
     
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  8. Beatrice

    Beatrice Member

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    I live in an area that isn't always convenient to get to a refill station so I usually swap. Where I do my grocery shopping (Food Lion Grocery) , runs $3 off coupons all the time on exchanges so I just swap there. If you live near a Camping World (insert eye roll) and have Good Sam membership, I think there is a 15% discount on refills.
     
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  9. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    Regardless of tank swapping or refill, it pays to shop around. I have gotten swap tanks for $15. I also saw last month, in Illinois, a place that had propane for 2.00 gallon.
     
  10. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    We have 30-pound tanks on the TT which aren't readily available for swap. As soon as one is empty, I take it to be refilled. I also have an extra 20-pound tank for the grill at home. In our neighborhood, a swap is about $20. I can have it refilled for about $14.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
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  11. Eric Webber

    Eric Webber Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Since I use fibreglass tanks, swapping isn't an option.

    But I do keep a swappable in my home fire pit, since the refill place is 20 minutes away but I can do the exchange at almost any convenience store or gas station
     
  12. Ladiesman

    Ladiesman Well-Known Member

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    I prefer refill on everything even my grill at home. But we have a place right down the road that will refill.
     
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  13. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    At "swap to a filled tank" retail system does no fully fill there tanks. That's why its less costly. They also do not check expiration dates when taking in tanks which does not bother us. Getting less than full tanks does.
     
  14. Eric Webber

    Eric Webber Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Which explains the number of ancient, rusted, empty tanks in the cage. I think some people who own and refill their tanks bring them in as a swap once they expire. Especially since the refill place doesn't seem to care if your bottle is branded as a swappable one
     
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  15. RonDad

    RonDad Active Member

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    Yes! Go to a refill place until it is past the expiration date of the tank (and someone might check and choose not to refill it). When it’s expired, dirty, rusty, valve misbehaving...go for the exchange. Last I checked, the difference was $3 more for the exchange in my area (flat $16 for refill of 20# at the country corner store).
     
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  16. CamperMike

    CamperMike Well-Known Member

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    They will recertify the tank if it's past-date... recertification adds another 5 years life to it. Since they have the staff to do it recertification doesn't cost them much... so they don't seem to care if the tank is past date.
     
  17. Rustycan

    Rustycan New Member

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    Here in New Brunswick (Canada) we take our 30lbers to Costco. Cheapest place we have found anywhere.
     
  18. RonDad

    RonDad Active Member

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  19. Lug_Nut

    Lug_Nut Active Member

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    12 yrs. in US, 10 yrs. in CA.
    Last autumn I was informed the US had just revised the duration to 10 years, and so I didn't top-off that oldest tank when I re-filled my other two empty ones. I just accepted that change from 12 to 10 years as fact.
    But apparently not. I don't see that the US has (Feb 2021) matched the Canadian expiration limit.
     
  20. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    Adding to this thread, it appears the "swap to our tank" retailing system does not need to use certified tanks. Seems its a loop hole in the propane industry,. That's why they don't care to check your tank when you trade yours in. As stated earlier, the reason these are less costly, is they don't fully fill these tanks you are trading in for. Nonetheless, when one of our tanks reaches there expiration date, the I go and get one that has a long expiration date. :police:
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021

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