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calendar   Friday - July 17, 2015

What a gas

The propane tanks on your gas grill have an expiration date.  I didn’t know that! They’re good for 12 years from when they were made, and after that they have to be either recycled or recertified.

I used up the tank I got at the Exxon exchange this Spring. Took it down to the car wash, who also does propane cylinders, and the guy shows me how it’s 16 years ol. Made in 1999, it’s 4 years out of code. And he won’t refill it.

So what to do?

“Take it up the hill to Wal-mart. Get an exchange tank from their Blue Rhino bin. They’ll take your old tank, they don’t care.”

And he’s right, they did, and they didn’t care a jot. Of course, I didn’t say anything about code dates. I just asked for an exchange. And when I came back out after paying, she had one in the cart for me. So I looked.

“Oh miss? This tank is out of code. Can I have one that’s still valid?”

I’m such a bastard. So we looked around, and nearly all the tanks they have are out of code, but I did find one that was only 2 years old. Fine by me. Snagged it.

I’ve read that the old tanks can be recertified, and that such a process gets the tank a special sticker, and that the re-cert is only good for 5 years. I didn’t notice any re-cert sticker, not that I know what one would look like.

I did notice that the new tank was stamped WC 47.6, which means the whole thing filled up will hold 47.6 pounds of water ( @ 8.33lb/gal, thus it’s a 5.71 gal tank ), so it can safely hold 20lb of propane at the 80% full “safety margin” level. 80% of 5.71 gallons is 4.57 gallons, and propane weighs 4.24 lb/gal, which yields 4.57 X 4.24 = 19.37lb, which is close enough. Much more than the 17lb the refill guy puts in, and FAR MORE than the pitiful 15lb the Blue Rhino people fill the tanks with.

Oddly ... conspiracy theory time ... Wal-mart’s $17.76 price for 15 pounds is hardly a penny a pound different from the $20 the car wash guys charge for their 17lb charge they sell you as “20lb”.

Got home, hung the tank up on the scale thingy inside the grill, and it shows the tank is less than 3/4 full.

Frankly, it’s not a matter of saving a quarter or so trying to get the best price. It’s my resistance against unnecessary downsizing; the damn tanks were built to hold 20lb of propane, and that’s WITH the 20% expansion safety margin, and WITH the silly little OPD float valve gizmo they now stick inside. A full tank lets me grill for 1/3 longer. That’s at least an extra weekend or two before I have to schlepp around trying to find a better dealer.

More info on BBQ propane tanks here. I gather the way to get your money’s worth is to have the refill attendant fill the tank until the OPD valve clicks, because it is set to government standards and trips when the tank is 80% full. And you get almost the full 20 pounds. Good enough.

image
Fill it up until the valve shuts. That’s what’s it’s there for.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/17/2015 at 03:19 PM   
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