shelf life of propane tanks : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Does anyone know how long a propane tank (the size used for outdoor grills) lasts? Do they loose any power over time if not used right away? Thanks. A. Biggs

-- Athena Biggs (, October 04, 1998


No, they don't. The storage life of propane is nearly indefinate. As long as you don't get a leak around the valve they should be good.

-- rocky (, October 05, 1998.

Up here in Canada (Toronto), propane vendor will not fill a tank which is more than 10 years old. There is a MMYY mark on the tank.

-- J.J. (, October 05, 1998.

Exchange policies are fairly generous too.

[This is about those big bottles that you bring back to a service station, drop off the empty, give them $13.00, and drive off with a refilled "new" one.]

The exchange requirements are "no excessive rust", no holes or significant dents in the pressure tank, top and bottom steel rings intact, fill valve threads not damaged. Some operators require you still keep the little plastic thread protectors, but most don't mind too much about those.

Other than these "physical" things to look for in the tank itself, I've never heard of a tank being rejected, I don't see why (other than leaks) a tank would go "bad." Our camper trailer bottle lasts for 12-16 months unattended, with no apparent problems. Propane tanks are pressurized, the gas doesn't geet water influx like gasoline or diesel. And the microbes (if any could grow in liquid propane in the tank) seem to burn just fine.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 05, 1998.

I seem to be fairly unique in that I have had a fairly new (3 yrs old) tank fail one winter. It got so cold (20 below) that the safety valve froze open and never closed again. When I figured out what happened, I was glad no one struck a match around the shed that cold night!

-- Paul Davis (, October 05, 1998.

JJ that date is a Hydrostat date.

Bob You are excused if your specialty isn't Mech E.

As any Paramedic, Fireman, SCUBA diver can tell you:

ALL refillable tanks, O2, CO2, SCUBA, SCBA, etc MUST be HYDROSTATICALLY TESTED at least each 10 years, 5 years in some jurisdictions. Effectively, this is where the testing authority runs the internal pressure up to 100+?% of the rated pressure on the tank. The Hydrostat date is then stamped into the tank and it is good for the next 10 (or 5) years.

thus, yues there is a shelf life of teh tank itself. There is no shelf life on the contents.


-- Chuck a Night Driver (, October 06, 1998.

hi all. Hey, if the valve stuck open in 20 degree weather, will this be safe then if i store in my basement? i am in the north, it gets real cold here. please if anyone has an answer, let me know. Also, i considered getting a gas grill, but food for thought, if anyone in city (such as i ) starts grilling, others will smell and i believe that will arouse theft potential. any thoughts on this?

-- carrie (, October 06, 1998.

Not sure I understand what your question is: you should keep the propane outside (because of the fire hazard.) After cooking with, turn off the local burner knob (the one that adjusts the heat) and also turn off the main cutout valve (on top of the tank) unless something else is using the tank. Its a manual valve, even in very cold weather (as long as the tank is physicaly kept covered (so water on the outside from snow/ice/icles) don't build up and freeze, it should be useable. The internal gasses won't freeze unless it gets ridiculously low, but I'd have to look up in a chemistry book the freezing point of propane. There is no water inside the tank.

So freezing "open" doesn't seem likely. Anybody else see something wrong with the logic here? Try a tarp or small block of wood to cover. Test it this winter, you've a year to check things out.

By all means cook with it, you bought and stored the food to eat, not to hoard, to worry about it being stolen, and just to look at.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 06, 1998.

My goof, I see what you mean by "safety valve." Let me look up some stuff.

Thank you for reminder on hydro testing, I used to schedule the **expensive** things for the power plants, you'd figure I'd remember it (the reg's) would apply to smaller pressure vessels too.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 06, 1998.

thanks for the semi-answer. Stupid me, I have never been a camper, dont know about propane stuff, so please xcuse me for my stupidity. LOL but, i did just go to walmart and buy a coleman cook stove, saleman real helpful. $48.00 for the stove adn, (awalmart olug !.80 for the full cylinders) which go with them. I also got a repair kit for the valve, just in case. I will NOW move the propane outside before my hubby comes home and thinks i'm nuts. opps. Also, about stashing cash, food for thought. The local head shops offer items which house certain items, i WONT discuss here, but will come in hady for storage of cash. safe cans.

-- carrie (, October 06, 1998.

Short of going into a head shop (the location of which I haven't a clue) does anyone know where to order such "safe" cans -- you know, the one's that look like a soup can, etc?

-- Libby Alexander (, October 06, 1998.

libby, i do not want to go there on this forum. if you will provide me with your email address, i will happily answer for you. if anyone else wishes to explain, ok. I dont know of anywhere else to obtain these items. sorry. Am willing to respond only with email. thanks.

-- carrie (, October 06, 1998.

I just saw some of the "safe" cans at Service Merchandise. However, most of the stores are closing now so I don't even know if they would be accessible for you. You might also try those catologs like Walter Drake, or, gosh, I can't remember the names of the others. Sometimes they have stuff like that in there. We have the Walter Drake warehouse here in Colo. Springs. Let me look the # up for you. Sorry, it isn't an 800 number since its local, but this may give you a start. 719-596-3853. Even if they don't have them, they may be able to point you in the right direction. They are pretty good about that. Good luck!

-- Dawn (, October 07, 1998.

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