BBQ Propane Tanks, Safety and Cost Tips to Remember 

Safety Tips

  • Propane is very volatile; exposure to liquid propane on bare skin will create a burn similar to frost bite.

  • Store your propane BBQ outdoors and always turn the tank off after use.

  • Check your hoses and regulator between the propane cylinder and the element under the grill. If hoses are flaking and cracked, replace them.

  • Always transport and use the tank in an upright position (even when you think it’s empty, and definitely when it is full).

  • Overfilling a propane tank is very dangerous. Each tank has a device built into it to relieve pressure (thus the tank can release propane into the air, or trunk of your car when overfilled).

  • When you disconnect the bottle be sure the ON/OFF valve is turned OFF, (righty-tighty, lefty-loosey).

  • When you reconnect the tank, be sure the ON/OFF valve is turned to OFF. Hand tighten the connection from the regulator. (When you open the valve you will hear a hiss of the gas going into the regulator).

  • With the valve closed, use soapy water to check every fitting from the tank to the grill. If you see bubbles growing then there is a leak. Open the valve and re-soap the connections looking for growing bubbles. IF THERE IS A LEAK DO NOT LIGHT THE GRILL. Replace leaking part.

  • Keep a minimum of two feet clearance around your BBQ and keep children and pets away from hot surfaces. Choose a well-ventilated area for grilling.


Shopping Tips

  • Shop around – Some stores have a “minimum buy” requirement. Example: the retailer requires a minimum purchase of 10 gallons (@ $2.00 per gallon), but you only need 5 gallons.

    • Minimum buy = 10 gallons X $2 = $20

    • No minimum = 5 gallons X $2 = $10

  • Know the method of sale – propane can be sold by weight or gallon (and the retailer is required to have a licensed scale or meter for this purpose).

  • Make sure there is a posted price (price per gallon is required).

  • Pay attention when an operator fills the tank that they don’t over fill or open the fixed liquid level gauge and releases propane into the air. (You’d possibly be paying for product you didn’t receive).

  • Each tank has a “tare weight” listed on the tank with the initials “TW.” This specifically tells you what the tank weighs all by itself, when empty. After the tank is filled you can put it on your bathroom scale and subtract the “tare weight” which will give you the approximate weight of propane in the tank. Example: The tank’s tare weight indicates “18.7 lbs.” After the tank is filled with propane and you place it on a scale it reads “38.7 lbs.” This means there is 20 lbs of propane in the tank. As a side note please be aware that your bathroom scale may be an estimating scale only and not a certified scale.

  • If you use a propane exchange service (usually more expensive than having the tank filled), be sure the price is posted and check the net weight statement to ensure you are being charged for the proper amount of fuel.

  • Many home improvement stores sell “propane test strips” which is a paper gauge that you can put on the side of your tank. It is water activated and when properly affixed, will tell the consumer how much propane is in the tank.

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