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Old 01-16-2013, 05:53 PM   #1
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propane

is it cheaper to refill your tanks or trade them in for prefilled tanks ?
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by samm View Post
is it cheaper to refill your tanks or trade them in for prefilled tanks ?

the only way to know is divide the number of pounds in tank by price.

by law a 20 pound tank can only be filled to 16 pounds.

blue rhino for example only has 15 pounds in their 20 pound tank.

I will say it is much quicker and easier to just exchange tanks but might be more expensive
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:00 PM   #3
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I have found that getting our own tanks refilled is cheaper than trading them for prefilled tanks. Plus I know the history of my own tanks and how they've been treated.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:01 PM   #4
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I save $4-5.00 per refill vs trade-in.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:02 PM   #5
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in my neighborhood its the same either way .


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Old 01-16-2013, 06:02 PM   #6
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My tanks are in good condition, and I plan on keeping them and having them refilled until the hydrostatic date runs out. Then, I will start to trade them. If I can't find 30 lb. trade in bottles, I will either have the hydrostatic testing done to the old tanks.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:41 PM   #7
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I have my grill gas cylinder refilled when I can. Some places offer exchange or refill, and at every one the refill price has been lower.

Last fall I had my grill gas cylinder refilled and the coach tank topped off. Both took four gallons. The four gallons for the grill gas tank cost $17.00. The four gallons for the coach tank cost $12.68. I would have questioned that but I didn't notice it until I was putting the receipts away later. I suppose they figure they can charge more for the grill gas because they are competing with the cylinder exchange business ($20 to $23 at the time) and the coach tank is more of a bulk market.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wiscampsin View Post
I have found that getting our own tanks refilled is cheaper than trading them for prefilled tanks. Plus I know the history of my own tanks and how they've been treated.
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.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:17 PM   #9
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I refill my tanks because they are in good condition. I don't want some crappy, rusty exchange tank.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gerrym51 View Post
by law a 20 pound tank can only be filled to 16 pounds.

We were just talking about this same thing a few weeks ago in another forum I frequent.

Actually, this is a falsehood that has been told over by the attendants exchanging the cyclinders from Amerigas and Blue Rhino.......as they have actually been shortchanging people. When you use their exchanges, you may only be getting a 75% filled tank.

A 20LB cylinder meant to hold 20 lbs..... will hold 20 lbs of propane.

There are lot's of news article all over the internet about Blue Rhino and Amerigas doing this. Their labels do state 15 lbs of propane are in the bottles, but they could fill them to 20lbs if they wanted. They used to put 17lbs in the bottles, but now it's 15lbs.

Here is how to tell how many pounds your tanks is supposed to hold:

Below is information you need to know when getting your cylinder bottles checked/refilled by weight:

First off, most small propane tanks will have two important numbers stamped onto the cylinder itself (usually around the handle area).

One number is the tare weight, usually stamped TW. This is the weight of the cylinder when empty.
(EX: TW 18 means the cylinder weighs 18 pounds when empty)

The other number is the water capacity, stamped WC, which tells how many pounds of water the cylinder will hold. (EX: WC 47.6 means the cylinder will hold 47.6 pounds of water)

A cylinder will hold 42% of propane compared to the WC. (Ex WC 47.6 X .42 = 19.992 pounds of propane)
So a cylinder with a WC of 47.6 holds basically 20 pounds of propane.


The bottle filling station will generally have a cylinder filling chart that converts water capacity (WC) to pounds of propane that the filler will refer to before filling the bottle. The chart will show that 47.6 pounds of water converts to 20 pounds of propane. In other words, a propane bottle that will hold 47.6 pounds of water will hold 20 pounds of propane. This indicates that the scale needs to be set a little over 38 pounds (20 lbs propane + 18 lbs tare weight = 38 lbs) to obtain the weight of the bottle when it reaches its allowable capacity.

After the scale is set and the hose end nozzle is hooked up to the cylinder, the attendant may open the bleeder valve, reset the meter and begin pumping propane into the bottle. The attendant will stop the pump once:

The bleeder valve starts to spew liquid
The scale indicates the cylinder has reached its legal filling capacity
The OPD valve stops the flow of propane into the cylinder (if equipped with an OPD valve)

Here is a link to an online propane tank fill calculator where you will enter the TW and WC numbers to get the amount of propane, along with how much your tank should weigh full.

Propane Tank Fill Calculator | Measurement Technology

-----------------------------------------------------
Now that you know the process for having your tanks refilled, you can also take bathroom scales (I use a handheld luggage scale) and check to see how much you have in your tanks.

Just take the weight of your tank and subtract the tare weight(TW).

Here is a quick approximation for the various common size tanks (but you really need to read the TW and WC numbers to make sure):

How much should the tank weigh?

38 lbs. for a full 20 lb. size propane tank, 28 lbs half, 18 lbs. if empty.
54 lbs. for a full 30 lb. size propane tank, 39 lbs half, 24 lbs. if empty.
70 lbs. for a full 40 lb. size propane tank, 49.5 lbs half, 29 lbs. if empty.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:32 PM   #11
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Also, many U-Haul dealers in the larger towns have propane refilling stations. You can go to their website to check prices and availability. The good thing about U-haul is they are usually open Sat. and Sunday.

U-Haul: Propane Refill Stations

The propane place I use down here charges $15 to refill a 20lb bottle to full.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
We were just talking about this same thing a few weeks ago in another forum I frequent.

Actually, this is a falsehood that has been told over by the attendants exchanging the cyclinders from Amerigas and Blue Rhino.......as they have actually been shortchanging people. When you use their exchanges, you may only getting a 75% filled tank.

A 20LB cylinder meant to hold 20 lbs..... will hold 20 lbs of propane.

There are lot's of news article all over the internet about Blue Rhino and Amerigas doing this. Their labels do state 15 lbs of propane are in the bottles, but they could fill them to 20lbs if they wanted. They used to put 17lbs in the bottles, but now it's 15lbs.

Here is how to tell how many pounds your tanks is supposed to hold:

Below is information you need to know when getting your cylinder bottles checked/refilled by weight:

First off, most small propane tanks will have two important numbers stamped onto the cylinder itself.

One number is the tare weight, usually stamped TW. This is the weight of the cylinder when empty.
(EX: TW 18 means the cylinder weighs 18 pounds when empty)

The other number is the water capacity, stamped WC, which tells how many pounds of water the cylinder will hold. (EX: WC 47.6 means the cylinder will hold 47.6 pounds of water)

A cylinder will hold 42% of propane compared to the WC. (Ex WC 47.6 X .42 = 19.992 pounds of propane)
So a cylinder with a WC of 47.6 holds basically 20 pounds of propane.


The bottle filling station will generally have a cylinder filling chart that converts water capacity (WC) to pounds of propane that the filler will refer to before filling the bottle. The chart will show that 47.6 pounds of water converts to 20 pounds of propane. In other words, a propane bottle that will hold 47.6 pounds of water will hold 20 pounds of propane. This indicates that the scale needs to be set a little over 38 pounds (20 lbs + 18 lbs = 38 lbs) to obtain the weight of the bottle when it reaches its allowable capacity.

After the scale is set and the hose end nozzle is hooked up to the cylinder, the attendant may open the bleeder valve, reset the meter and begin pumping propane into the bottle. The attendant will stop the pump once:

The bleeder valve starts to spew liquid
The scale indicates the cylinder has reached its legal filling capacity
The OPD valve stops the flow of propane into the cylinder (if equipped with an OPD valve)

Here is a link to an online propane tank fill calculator where you will enter the TW and WC numbers to get the amount of propane, along with how much your tank should weigh full.

Propane Tank Fill Calculator | Measurement Technology

-----------------------------------------------------
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.

Just take the weight of your tank and subtract the tare weight(TW).

Here is a quick approximation for the various common size tanks (but you really need to read the TW and WC numbers to make sure):

How much should the tank weigh?

38 lbs. for a full 20 lb. size propane tank, 28 lbs half, 18 lbs. if empty.
54 lbs. for a full 30 lb. size propane tank, 39 lbs half, 24 lbs. if empty.
70 lbs. for a full 40 lb. size propane tank, 49.5 lbs half, 29 lbs. if empty.
opd overfill law says container can only be filled to 80 percent-theerfore 80 percent of 20 pound container is 16. i do agree that the prefilled tank providers keep putting less and less in their 20 pond container
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:15 PM   #13
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opd overfill law says container can only be filled to 80 percent-theerfore 80 percent of 20 pound container is 16.
That's where the math get's skewed somewhat. You are supposed to have a 20% expansion place for the gas to vaporize (which the vapors is what burns)..... or as you said 80% of the cylinders capacity.

The previous formula that states the tank will hold 42% propane has already taken this 20% into consideration when figuring out the lbs of propane the tank can safely hold......which at 80% total water capacity would be 20lbs of propane. The tanks would hold basically 25 lbs of propane without the OPD or 20% expansion space.

You are taking another 20% off of the 20 pounds in your math to get 16 pounds.

The following links will state how you fill the tanks to 80% of their water capacity (not propane capacity).

http://www.swvagasservice.com/story9p.php

http://www.gasteconline.com/faqs.php
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:20 PM   #14
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I realized yet again, I am not very smart..

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Old 01-16-2013, 08:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
That's where the math get's skewed somewhat. You are supposed to have a 20% expansion place for the gas to vaporize (which the vapors is what burns)..... or as you said 80% of the cylinders capacity.

The previous formula that states the tank will hold 42% propane has already taken this 20% into consideration when figuring out the lbs of propane the tank can safely hold......which at 80% total water capacity would be 20lbs of propane. The tanks would hold basically 25 lbs of propane without the OPD or 20% expansion space.

You are taking another 20% off of the 20 pounds in your math to get 16 pounds.

The following links will state how you fill the tanks to 80% of their water capacity (not propane capacity).

Propane Tank Basics

Gastec Online

so your saying the 20 pound tanks i used in my youth were 20 pound tanks and the 20 pound tanks made today(or after the opd law) would actually hold 25 pounds if the opd valve was not in them. i did not know this
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:53 PM   #16
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so your saying the 20 pound tanks i used in my youth were 20 pound tanks and the 20 pound tanks made today(or after the opd law) would actually hold 25 pounds if the opd valve was not in them. i did not know this
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 75/80 % of propane 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.

http://www.propanesettlement.com/

http://www.stuevesiegel.com/CM/Resul...Settlement.asp
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:57 PM   #17
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We refill our tanks its several dollars cheaper but you need to shop around to get the best price. In our area a Exxon station is cheapest. I can get my 30 lb bottle refilled for the same as a trade in 20 lb tank.

As far as to getting a "gas" tank hydro-static tested it is usually much cheaper to just buy a new tank. Fire extinguisher are the same (cheaper to buy new)
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:18 PM   #18
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As far as to getting a "gas" tank hydro-static tested it is usually much cheaper to just buy a new tank. Fire extinguisher are the same (cheaper to buy new)
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?
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post

54 lbs. for a full 30 lb. size propane tank, 39 lbs half, 24 lbs. if empty.
That is the exact empty and full weights for my tanks.

Thanks for the detailed explanations, Bobby.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:43 PM   #20
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It is way cheaper to fill verses exchange for me. I have no idea how prices compare here in Wyoming to other areas though. Last time I bought propane which was a couple weeks ago it was $2.60 gallon. Last time I checked which was several years ago the Blue Rhino was over $20 here. I have the 30's on my trailer anyway and there is no exchange on them.
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