Three Things The Top Of Your Propane Tank Can Tell You

Industrial & Manufacturing Blog

If you do a lot of grilling during the summer, using propane can make this task much faster and easier. As you are moving your tanks from one location to another, you may notice that the collar of each tank has information stamped on it. Knowing what this information means, may not only tell you what your tank should weigh, but it may also let you know if your tank is legal or not. Here is a quick cheat sheet to help you figure out what those numbers mean.

Serial Numbers

All propane tanks have a serial number assigned to them at the time that they are manufactured. This is stamped into the neck of smaller tanks, and can be found on the name plates of larger tanks. Serial numbers are most recorded and often used for proof of ownership by propane companies that often lease these tanks to their clients. Because the propane company owns these specific tanks, they retain the rights to be the only ones to fill them or service them. If you own the tanks, you are able to purchase your propane from any company that has the lowest prices.  

Tare Weight

The tare weight on a propane tank is exactly how much your propane tank weighs when it is completely empty. A 20 pound tank normally weigh +/- 17 pounds. You may see this information recorded as TW - 16.6 LB, 17.0LB, 17.2LB, or some other variation. If you have a full 20 pound tank, your tank should weigh 20 pounds plus whatever your tare weight is.

This information is valuable and can help you to calculate several different things including how much propane you have remaining in your tank. To find out how much gas is remaining in your tank, all you have to do is to weigh your tank and subtract out the tare weight. This will help you figure out whether or not you are ready for your next refill. 

The Manufacturing Date

On the top of your 20-pound tank you will also see a two digit month and a two digit year. This is the manufacturing date of the tank and will determine how long you will be able to refill the tank. A tank can be refilled for twelve years following the manufacturing date. After twelve years it is illegal for this tank to be refilled unless you have the tank inspected and re-certified.

If you go through the process to have them inspected and re-certified or re-qualified, they can be used for an additional five years. Although this process is as simple as taking them to your local propane company to have them inspected, most people simply take their tanks that are getting ready to expire to one of the handy exchange places and exchange them for a new tank. To find out more, speak with a business like Ferrell Fuel Co Inc.


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