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Community and Q&A

Viability of Old Propane Tank

Bruce_Davis | Posted in General Questions on

Might be a bit off-topic for GBA but you seem to be the best source of homeowner expertise in general.

I have a Manchester brand 20 lb steel cylinder I bought new about 20 years ago and never used.  These tanks are supposedly good for 12 years then can be recertified for various lengths of time.

Am I still good to go for 12 years if I put it in service now on a grill?  I may also be missing safety features implemented in the past two decades, but it does have the newer OPD valve.  Probably makes sense to swap it at the grocery store but I like to keep the nice shiny ones instead of the beat up ones for exchange, not to mention the exchanges are more expensive than re-filling.  Thanks.

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  1. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #1

    Take it to a place that refills them. They won't refill it if it doesn't pass the safety check.

    A new one is only about $50.

  2. jadziedzic | | #2

    The "good for" period is based on the manufacturing date of the tank, not the in-service date. I've never tried to get an expired tank recertified - not even sure who would perform that service - but have just bought a new one as mentioned above.

  3. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #3

    You have to go to a commercial gas supplier to get a tank recertified. This is known as a hydrostatic test. They basically fill the tank with water, and do a pressure test at very high pressures. If the tank passes, the tank gets recertified. If the tank fails, it's scrap metal.

    The easiest thing to do with a relatively cheap and portable 20lb BBQ tank is to just take it to a tank swap place and let the tank swap company deal with it for you. You'll get a tank that has been both checked and filled so you'll be good to go.


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