Camping Outdoors

Do Small Propane Tanks Expire?

Have you ever wondered whether your propane tank will expire, and what this means to you? Do not worry about it and here's what you should be aware of regarding the expiration date of your propane gas tank.

Last updated and verified on February 24th, 2023

It’s spring or even early autumn, and the flowers are in bloom, and the conditions are ideal for enjoying outdoor activities. You’ve been waiting all year for this chance to go camping. Some camping, fishing, bird watching, or perhaps hiking. It’s time to assess the health of those tiny propane tanks.

Nothing beats an excellent warm meal at camp with your friends while reflecting on the day’s adventures. It isn’t a good idea to be stuck in the wilderness and begin contemplating what you can cook without fire.

Have you ever wondered whether your propane tank will expire and what this means to you? Do not worry about it, and here’s what you should be aware of regarding the expiration date of your propane gas tank.

What Is Propane?

Propane is one of the flammable hydrocarbons rapidly becoming a sought-after energy source. The propane that is used for fuel comes from the process of processing crude oil and natural gas refinery process.

The gas propane is colorless, smells, and has a significantly lower boiling point (-44deg F) at atmospheric pressure. When oxygen is present (present in the air), propane gas ignites to release carbon monoxide and moisture.

These features make propane gas an excellent source of energy that could be stored inside tanks for propane.

How Can Propane Gas Be Stored & How Can It Be Used?

To be used as fuel, propane gas can be stored in liquefied gas inside propane tanks that are pressured are smaller barbeque gas tanks, larger gas cylinders, or bigger tanks of LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) tanks.

Propane gas is used primarily in homes for water heaters, cooking outdoors, heating power stations in factories, and agriculture to power forklifts and irrigation machines on fleet vehicles, buses, and outdoors as cooking stoves powered by gas for gas camping. It is also utilized in refrigerators.

A propane tank cooking method that cooks without the use of fire all adventurers should own.

What Are The Parts of The Propane Gas Tank?

Propane gas tanks come with a variety of connections that serve different functions. These connections make this propane tank secure to use while camping or in your home. The components include:

  1. Valves like the safety/relief valve, the vapor return valve service, and the liquid withdrawal valve.
  2. It is the OPD (Overfill Protection Device) device.
  3. Gauges include the float gauge and the fixed levels gauges for liquids.

Do Small Propane Gas Tanks Expire?

The propane gas used for cooking and heating can be classified as LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas) gas. As with other LPG gasses, propane gas will not get rotten or expire for a long time. However, the bottle, tank, or cylinder it is stored in has to be examined and recertified every 10 years since it is a time-bound gas that limits its long-term usage.

Propane gas has to be stored in a liquefied state in tanks with special pressures in which it will return to its gaseous state. The tanks are susceptible to wear and tear over time which could cause gas leaks that could cause devastating damage.

To ensure public safety aspect and security, propane tanks have been restricted by various laws that exist for propane tanks in multiple cities or states. The majority of regulations focus on secure storage of the tanks, secure handling, and the proper usage of propane tanks.

We have to please be aware that propane gas tanks need to be checked regularly!

The tiny propane gas tanks to camp are not disqualified from these rules. The propane tanks used for camping typically weigh less than 100 pounds.

Propane tanks that weigh less than 100 pounds or less have a shelf-life of 12 years which means that they can be utilized for 12 years after their manufacture. After 12 years have passed, it is recommended to inspect the tank to see if it can be exchanged, replaced, or requalified for five years.

The municipality or state controls larger propane tanks in industrial sites or homes.

Where Do I Find The Expiry Date On My Propane Tank?

When you examine the propane tank, you’ll see the letters and numbers printed on the collar at the top of the propane tank. These are crucial numbers and letters that the propane gas tank can’t refill and could help determine if the propane gas tank has expired. These numbers and letters include:

  1. Water content (WC) indicates how much water your propane tank can hold in holding gallon sizes.
  2. The Tare weight (TW) refers to the weight of a gasoline tank that is empty. For instance, TW is 18 in 18 lbs.
  3. The serial number is determined by which propane tank manufacturer made the tank.
  4. The manufacture/certification date is usually stamped using a month and year format (MM-YY). For instance, the tank stamped with 2005-2020 was made in 2020. If your tank expires and is renewed, the certified inspector will apply the sticker that reads “E” next to the date of manufacture, which will add five years to the expiration date for the propane tank.

To determine the expiration date of your propane gas tank, subtract 12 years from the 2nd number its manufacture date. For instance, the tank made in 07-2011 will expire in July 2023.

So, if the tank was built at least 12 years old, it’s out of date. Propane gas companies would not fill tanks if they were built or certified over 12 years prior.

Why Do Propane Tanks Expire?

Gas tanks made of propane could exhibit visible rust or damage that could cause propane gas leaks, posing dangers to the public since they can lead to the emergence of fires since propane gas is highly flammable.

Furthermore, propane gas has an extremely low boiling point which means it is easy to evaporate and, as a consequence, when stored in sealed containers, the gas’s liquid tends to expand, which could lead to an explosion.

Therefore the propane tanks are equipped with safety valves that allow the escape of some vapors if the pressure is greater than certain thresholds.

The safety valves must be checked regularly. The Propane tanks come with OPD (Overfill safety device), which regulates the valve while refilling. When the tank is at a certain level, the OPD device shuts off the valve that supplies. When the OPD device malfunctions or is missing, your propane gas tank will not be filled.

To ensure safety, municipalities and states have regulations and laws that regulate the handling, storage, and use of propane tanks. This is the reason propane gas tanks come with expiration dates. The laws that regulate the usage of propane tanks vary in each municipality or state.

What Should I Do If My Propane Gas Tank Has Expired?

If you look at your propane tank for gas and find it out of date, you have two options.

  1. Find a recertified propane gas tank to allow your tank to be recertified. Based on the condition of the tank (in good shape and without visible damage or rust) and the condition of the safety equipment (appropriate security valves) as well as the date of initial production (within twelve years) and the regulations and rules in the state where you live Your propane gas tank’s expiration date can be renewed. Recertification extends the expiry time that your propane fuel tank has by five years.
  2. If the propane gas tank you have cannot be certified due to reasons of any kind, then you may swap the tank or purchase a brand new one. There are gas tank exchange programs based on the state you reside in. Find the local propane gas provider the program which is most suitable for you.

Why Do I Need To Check The Expiry Date On My Propane Tank?

Even though gas-like propane has a long shelf life, unlike other hydrocarbons, propane gas tanks expire and could pose risks to you and your family.

Therefore, it is recommended to verify the expiry date on your gas propane tank. If it’s expired, get the tank certified by a licensed propane tank specialist.

Propane gas tanks can be expensive; therefore, it is essential to be sure you plan to purchase the right tank for your outdoor grilling or camping trip you’ve wanted to visit.

Written by Den Kyle, verified, and edited by David Myer.

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David Boyd
David Boyd

I love travelling, experiencing other cultures, eating copious amounts of food and checking out the nearest surf spot.

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