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Old 01-16-2013, 09:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
I'm not saying that at all. The tanks and their capacities are most likely the same. The OPD (which stands for Overfilling Protection Device) is a safety measure to keep the tanks from getting filled with propane past their 80% water capacity.

Before you had the OPD, someone could fill the bottle with 25 pounds of propane if they didn't watch what they were doing.......and thus not have the 20% expansion space needed.

An OPD valve also will not allow propane out of the bottle unless the cylinder is attached to the appropriate hose. This would keep someone from blowing themselves up, if they forgot to fully close the cylinder valve, and gas was escaping.

Propane OPD - Overfill Prevention Device Cylinder Valves

Like I stated earlier, your tare weight and water capacity numbers are stamped on your cylinders. These are the numbers that dictate everything about your tank, and it's propane capacities.

Amerigas and Blue Rhino both have been sued for their misleading of customers about the cylinders only being filled to 75% of capacity. These companies have both misinformed the attendants at the places they have exchange stations, who relayed the lie told to them, to their customers.

Blue Rhino Pre-filled Propane Tank Litigation

AmeriGas Pre-Filled Propane Tank Class Action Settlement - Law Firm Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP Attorneys Kansas City, Missouri
so original tanks could be overfilled? i did not know that either how about when it is called a 5 gallon tank. is that 5 gallons of water-is that max?
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:49 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by jimh View Post
that's what i was afraid of. what r they good for 12 yrs? i'll probably have to buy new tanks the next time i need them filled.

after a hydro, i'm wondering how u get them dry? do u just keep purging them or do u pull a vacuum?
That is what I was saying Jim. When I get close to the date, the tanks get exchanged at Lowes for new ones. I always ask the attendant to check the dates if he or she is not busy and get the "youngest" one.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:51 PM   #23
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Personally I liked the old style tanks better. If the guy filling it paid attention it was not a big deal. I have had issues with the OPD valves sticking and getting no gas flow. Usually if you crack the valve slowly you won't have a problem. One thing I like even less is the CARB compliant gas cans! I would like to choke the guy that came up with them!
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
That is what I was saying Jim. When I get close to the date, the tanks get exchanged at Lowes for new ones. I always ask the attendant to check the dates if he or she is not busy and get the "youngest" one.
i might have to try that and hope.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:23 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
Now that you know the process for having your tanks refilled, you can also take bathroom scales and check to see how much you have in your tanks.
Or a better option is a scale like This one. It's really handy to know exactly how much propane I have left in the tank. It's also priceless to pull into the refill place and ask for 13 pounds; and have the attendant ask how I knew that.

For me the biggest reason not to get pre-filled is that I am usually filling when the tank is not 100% empty. If the tank has 7 pounds left in it I am only paying for the 13 pounds it takes to fill it. Trading in would mean running the tank dry or losing what is left.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:34 PM   #26
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Propane refills

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Originally Posted by samm View Post
is it cheaper to refill your tanks or trade them in for prefilled tanks ?
If you read the tiny writing on exchanged tanks, you'll find you got cheated - legally. Our gov't, that's always looking out for us, determined a tank containing less than normally considered "full" is safer. It certainly helps the retailer!
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:12 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by gerrym51 View Post
so original tanks could be overfilled? i did not know that either how about when it is called a 5 gallon tank. is that 5 gallons of water-is that max?
Yes, they could be overfilled. Here is an excerpt from the Good Sam link below about that.

RV Propane Tanks

There are limits on how much propane can be put into a cylinder. Because propane expands, as it gets warmer, it is important not to exceed a cylinder's proper filling limit. A properly filled cylinder will have a vapor space left in the top of the cylinder to allow room for expansion of the liquid with a change in atmospheric temperature. Currently proper refilling is dependent on the operator; it is possible to overfill the cylinder by inaccurate weighing, ignoring the presence of liquid propane at the fixed-level gauge, or relying on a float-type dial gauge. The OPD helps prevent potentially hazardous conditions caused by cylinders that may have been overfilled.


OPDs are intended to reduce the danger associated with these kinds of possible errors, by automatically stopping the refilling process without the operator's intervention. The new OPD valves prevent overfilling of gas cylinders, making filling and using gas cylinders safer than ever before. The OPD consists of a float mechanism attached to the cylinder's refilling valve that cuts off the flow of propane as soon as the propane level reaches the container's rated 80 percent liquid capacity. The presence of an OPD does not relieve the operator from the duty of determining the proper fill level by one of the other standard methods.


Now as far as calling them 5 gallon tanks, I am not sure and am just purely guessing. Maybe someone else can answer than really knows for sure. Propane weighs different amounts at different temps. It is 4.2 pounds per gallon at 60 degrees Farenheit according to some web sources I've seen. A 20 pound tank divided by 4.2 equals 4.76 gallons.....or 5 if you round off.


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Old 01-16-2013, 11:34 PM   #28
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I totally agree. Refill that puppy.

The only time I use "replacement" is when a tank upgrade is available (like the new ones with the integral gauge) or my tank is getting close to the 10 year point and will need a hydro-static test (expensive) before it can be filled again.

I replaced all my old valve 20 pound tanks at Lowes and Home Depot when the brand new tanks hit the cages. I will swap them out at Lowes when I can get the brand new tanks.

The 30 pound tanks are refill only.

So they now made propane tanks with integral gauges - I didn't know that.

Anyone have any experience with them yet?
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:09 AM   #29
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how about when it is called a 5 gallon tank. is that 5 gallons of water-is that max?
Gerrym51, in the second weblink provided in post #13 of this forum it states the following:

How is propane weighed or measured?

Propane can be measured in a few manners. The most common way is by gallons. It can also be measured by pounds (1 gallon = 4.2lbs). When measured in gallons, a meter at the pump is used to determine the amount of propane that has been filled into a tank. When measured in pounds, the tare (empty starting) weight of the tank must be known first. After this weight is taken into account, the tank is then filled to capacity with the correct volume. (i.e. A BBQ tank is commonly referred to as a 20lb tank. This is because these tanks hold 20lbs, or approximately 5 gallons, of propane).

---------------------------------------------------

Hopefully, everyone who has been following this thread here, now know how to determine their propane capacities (and fill levels) of their various cylinders.

The people who exchange the tanks at Lowes, convenience stores, etc., do not really know/understand any of this, so I don't fault them too much. They were never trained to know this. They just relay the misinformation (aka propaganda) that Blue Rhino and/or Amerigas told them to tell the customers if anyone complained about the cylinders not being full (only having 15 pounds of propane). Using the OPD as an excuse with the fuzzy math, sounds plausible to the average Joe.......since John Q. Public doesn't know better.

However, that being said..............no matter how many times the lie is told, it doesn't make it the truth.

You just need to realize that when you exchange the tanks at most Blue Rhino or Amerigas places, you are only getting a 75% filled cylinder. It will be listed on the tag, just how many pounds are in the tank. The next time you walk by one of these propane exchange bins, take a look to see.

You can consider the lacking 25% as a convenience fee for being able to exchange the tank quickly and going on your way. LOL
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:42 AM   #30
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My cousin works for a propane company , most of the time I can get mime refilled for free

They charge a flat fee for refills 30 # bottle is 37.50 ... No matter how much gas is in the bottle ?
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:53 AM   #31
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As mentioned by many others-- it's usually cheaper to re-fill your tank.
Also mentioned- pre-filled tanks aren't always as full as they could be!

Something else mentioned- some LP sellers charge by the gallon.
This means you can top off a half full tank and only pay for what you get-
exactly the same as when you buy gasoline.
Others charge a flat fee per tank. Only the best deal if your tank is MT.

I have a local guy who charges by the gallon and he is at least a few bucks
cheaper than another local guy who charges flat fee. This is true for me even
though I normally am filling totally empty tanks.
Both are cheaper than pre-filled exchanges.

Bottom line for me-- if you can find a -by the gallon- dealer that's where
you want to go.
Next is flat rate.
Last is exchange.

But if you're out and need it, you gotta do what you gotta do!
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:08 AM   #32
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All true (possible exception of the flat rate issue.)

If your tank is not completely empty you are getting screwed by paying for propane you are not getting and if you ARE empty they may (and most likely will) charge you a flat rate for "purging the tank of air."

Swapping an old or over-age, rusted, covered with BBQ drippings, 20 pound propane tank for a new, painted, hydro-statically tested, bottle is still a "good deal."

A new tank can cost 50 bucks empty, then you have to pay for "initial purge" and a fill.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:51 AM   #33
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The only time I exchange a tank is when I have a tank going bad. Then I pick out the best one on the rack. Normally this is for my outside BBQ's or outside cook stove. I have never exchange propane tanks from any of my RV's.
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