Exchange an expired propane tank

My propane tank expired last year and I figured I might need to buy a new one at a store with tank exchange so I wouldn’t need to buy a new tank next time.  I always assumed with tank exchange, you needed to first purchase their brand of tank.

The manufacture date on a propane tank is  usually stamped with xx-yy with xx for the month and yy for the year.  In Canada, tanks can’t be refilled after the expiry date unless they are re-certified.  Re-certification only extends the life a few more years and costs nearly the same as a new tank so it’s generally not worth it.

Research online indicated that in the US, the expiry for tanks is 12 years so I figured I could take my tank across the border to get it refilled.  Propane stations are becoming more difficult to find and I found that Uhaul and WFC Coop both on Meridian St in Bellingham had propane filling stations.

When I took the tank to WFC, the attendant indicated they could not fill older tanks without an OPD (overfill protection device) valve with a triangular shaped handle.  He indicated they filled by volume in the US while in Canada, propane is sold by weight so non-OPD tanks are a bit more common.  He suggested taking the tank to a nearby supermarket where they could exchange my tank for a newer one.

I enquired at the supermarket which was using Blue Rhino and they indicate they would exchange any tank but not older ones.  Propane exchanges were around $18-$20 USD with Blue Rhino.  I decided I needed to do more research.  I emailed Blue Rhino when I got home and they replied they accept non-OPD tanks though there may be a surcharge.  I checked Amerigas’s website (used by Home Depot in the US) and it indicated non-OPD tanks could be accepted for exchange.

In Canada, Home Depot uses PNEpropane so I emailed them asking if they would exchange an expired tank.  They replied indicating they would.  I also dropped by Walmart who use Tanktraders and the sign on the cage indicated any tank was exchangeable but it had to be less than 10 yrs old.

I ended up exchanging my expired tank at Home Depot for $28 CAD + tax with for a filled OPD tank.  I noticed they had non-OPD tanks as well.  I will probably refill it until it gets older and then exchange again.  Exchange tanks are typically underfilled so refilling is typically a better deal.

The attendant commented my tank still seemed full when I exchanged it and I had thought it was empty since the flame was low.  I had recently bought a new bbq and the new tank had low flame after awhile as well.  It turns out the regulator needed to be reset following the instructions here.  I guess my original  tank could have lasted another year.

Tank exchange at Walmart Canada

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