How To Tell If Your Propane Tank Is Expired

Last Updated on April 15, 2023

Did you know that the propane tanks you use to cook on your gas grill have an expiration date? Using an old propane tank could be dangerous so in this article we’ll explain how to tell if your propane tank is expired so you can be sure it’s safe to use.

For many years, I had no idea that propane tanks have an expiration date. But it does make sense when you think about it. Nothing lasts forever, right?

You’ve probably seen some old and rusty propane tanks laying around and never gave them a second thought. I remember one time I helped my buddy clean out his parent’s house after his dad died and we found an old propane tank that was so rusted we joked that it must have been on the Titanic.

But seriously, how do you know if your propane tank is expired?

Propane tanks are built to last for 12 years from the date of manufacture. When they reach age 12 they need to be taken out of service or recertified. If recertified they can be used for another 5 to 10 years. You can find the manufactured date stamped onto the collar or handle of the propane tank.

The picture below shows the propane tank that is currently attached to my Blackstone griddle. As you can see it was manufactured in January 2012. This particular tank also has a warning that it is only qualified for use within 12 years of the manufacture date.

Not all propane tanks have that message, but all tanks should have the date of manufacture stamped on it. Simply add 12 years to the date and you know exactly when the tank expires.

Below is another propane tank I have in my backyard waiting to be refilled. This one has a manufactured date of July 2022, so I can expect many more years of use out of this one.

What To Do With An Expired Propane Tank

If you have a propane tank that has reached its expiration date you can either have it recertified for continued use or exchange it for a newer tank.

Propane Tank Recertification

To have your tank recertified, you’ll need to find a place that is authorized to inspect it. Propane tanks are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and you can use their site to search for re-qualifier locations near you.

Look how many locations are within 100 miles of me:

Some locations only do a visual inspection where they check the tank for rust, corrosion, dents, cracks, and bulges. They ensure the foot ring at the bottom of the tank and the collar that protects the valve are in good shape. They also inspect the valve to make sure it doesn’t leak.

Others do more in-depth stress testing using either Volumetric Expansion or Proof-Pressure testing. The details of those testing methods are outside the scope of this article, but they are considered more stringent than a simple visual test.

Assuming your tank passes inspection, the re-certifier will either add a sticker to the collar or stamp a new date on it. If they only inspected it visually, the tank will be certified for an additional 5 years. If they did the more stringent testing the re-certification will last 10 years.

Propane Tank Exchange

Another option is to exchange your expired tank for a newer one. Many garden centers and stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart offer tank exchanges for around $19 to $25.

Generally I prefer getting my tanks refilled because exchanging your tank is usually a bad deal. But this is one occasion where exchanging your tank works to your benefit.

Just drop off your old, expired propane tank and swap it for one with a more recent date. Now that you know where to look, finding a newer tank will be no problem!

The stores won’t care if the tank you drop off is expired because they’re just sending it back to the gas company. They’ll do their own inspection and recertify it or take it out of service if it’s in bad shape.