re-filling small propane cylinders : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I thought I bought this adapter 2 years ago!
but of course, now I cannot find it.

I talking about the adapter to "refill" 1 lb (or those 14oz) propane cylinders from a 20lb tank that is inverted.

One end is POL and the other allows the small cylinder to screw on.

now I have no idea where to get one. (Chicago area ...groan)

I ALSO don't know if this works well or not. Has anyone else actually used this method to refill small cylinders?

I really don't want to have to go back and buy a buttload of those 1lb coleman throwaways if I don't have to, I have a dozen -20 lb tanks and 12 -1lb tanks.

-- plonk! (, December 15, 1999



If I'm not mistaken, Don Kuhla was yakking about this on the other forum. Maybe you could fire off a note to him, if somebody else doesn't answer it for you.

-- flora (***@__._), December 15, 1999.


I had my propane guy put a flexible hose adaptor on my 500 gal. tank which will allow me to fill smaller tanks. He put it together in his shop. Cost about $15.00. Beware, some of those real small bottles weren't meant to be refilled. Refill only the ones you're supposed to fill. I would think any propane company could make one up. All you need is a "liquid leg" on your 500 gal. tank. Northern Hardware also carries them for about the same price.

-- (, December 15, 1999.

Just so you all know: I don't have a 500 gallon tank. I have a dozen 20# tanks that I use for work occassionaly.

I live in Evanston, IL which is the first suburb NORTH of Chicago.

Lucky me.

We have natural gas for heating and cooking.

The only use for propane around these parts is for BBQ grills and forklifts.

-- plonk! (, December 15, 1999.

You can buy a hose from Fleet Farm in Wisconsin that allows you to attach a Coleman propane stove to a 20lb tank. This is a lot cheaper than buying the small disposable canisters and safer than trying to refill them.

-- clukin along (just@us.chickens), December 15, 1999.

E-Z propane filler coupler item XK-51-2325 Just bought one at Cabelas

-- John Ellis (, December 15, 1999.

thanks for the link to cabela's.

I ordered one just in case I can't find one locally.

and as far as hooking up a small device to a 20# tank, its kind of hard to walk around with a 2-mantle lantern that's attached to a 20# tank. I do have the adapter and hose though, for cooking and..if somehow all my small cylinders disappear...:^)

Now I hope someone can tell me what's wrong with re-filling cylinders in an emergency this way, (other than don't do it in the house).

-- plonk! (, December 15, 1999.

Let me point out the obvious for the casual reader. The larger tank (20#) has to be upside down so liquid and not vapor fills the small tank.

I could be all wet here, but aren't the vast majority of small propane tanks use-once-&-toss? My father is the most penny pinching person I know. He would collect brokken folding rulers to use the parts to make whole ones, but I never heard of him re-filling small propane bottles that he used a lot of.

-- Ken Seger (, December 16, 1999.

I think the problem with filling small propane tanks (or any propane tank) is that you must not fill it more than 80-90% as there has to be space above the liquid for the gas to accumulate. Somehow you would have to weigh the tanks before and as you fill them.

-- John (, December 16, 1999.

Actually, the biggest problem with refilling those little propane cylinders is the fact that you can't get them 100 percent full.

At room temperature, propane exists as a liquid under pressure. When you invert the large tank to fill the smaller tank, there has to be a pressure difference to make the liquid propane "flow" to the smaller tank. The pressure difference between the two tanks (assuming the smaller one is depleted) is what makes this happen and holding the larger tank "above" the tank to be refilled allows gravity to help make everything move. In the reduction in pressure, some gas must form and this tends to take space in the small cylinder which might be otherwise filled with liquid propane.

The danger in refilling small depleted cylinders comes in the possibility that "air" can get into them when they are depleted. Most people when they use the disposables tend to use them down to the very last little bit. With no propane pressure inside, air can then gain entrance. Then, when the cylinder is refilled, an explosive mixture can exist inside the cylinder. (Most people don't own the "venting tool" or the knowledge to use it on refilling the small cylinders.)

Refilling the small cylinders CAN be done but you have to be careful. No leaks, everything clean and in good order. Vent the small container if you know how and can do it safely. Also, don't run the small cylinders out to "the end."

Best regards,

-- Joe (, December 16, 1999.

Yeah, I was yakking....I use a lot of small cyls. refilled off 20lb bottles....

Using an adapter from Northern I attach it to the 20lb. bottle and then set it upside down (valve down) on the edge of a table. Then I screw in, hand tight, the small bottle and open the vale on the big bottle. Usually takes a minute or so to fill it. Then I shut off the valve and remove the small bottle and hook up the next one. I check the valves on the small bottle by listening, put the plastic cap back on it and store it outside away from any open flames. I do occasionally find a filled bottle has leaked but it's rare. You should check with some soapy water for leaks. The bottles seem to fill naturally about 70-80% full by wieght.

The small throw away cylinders vary to some degree. I seem to be able to refill the Coleman cyls but the Ozark brand from WallyWorld won't fill for me. Be cautious and store the bottles outside.

-- Don Kulha (, December 16, 1999.

Now that we are talking about lp gas, here's a question for anyone; I have a lp gas generator liquid lp gas. I need to know if I can use the same lp gas that I have coming from my 500 gallon tank to operate my generator , I was told the correct way is to make a "T" so it is before the house regulator. Anyone have answers to this???

-- Furie (, December 16, 1999.

Our propane company is setting that up for us. They're going to use one regulator for the house, and one for the two gensets.

I would suggest having the propane company doing it, this is one of those things you don't want to mess up.

-- Ron Schwarz (, December 17, 1999.

Plonk.... I use the 1# refill adapter (ordered from Northern) at our deer camp quite frequently, never had much of a problem, though I do check for leaks after I refill. It helps to chill the empty 1# bottle in the ice chest first, seems to take on much more propane that way.


-- D. R. Green (, December 17, 1999.

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