How to Dispose of Your Propane Tank

Date: April 29, 2019

Propane cylinders

Is trash day coming up? We know most of us are right in the middle of our traditional spring cleaning chores, but one thing you should never leave for the trash hauler is your portable propane tank.

Most trash haulers won’t take these tanks, and there are many areas where improper propane tank disposal is against the law. Propane tanks, no matter what their size, can still have a bit of gas in them even when they’re “empty.” That makes them a fire and explosion risk.

How long does a portable tank last?

Portable propane cylinders have a life expectancy of about 12 years. Propane tanks of 100 pounds capacity or less have an expiration date of 12 years from the date it was manufactured. You can find the expiration date stamped on the collar of the tank.

After the expiration date, it is against the law for the tank to be refilled. However, you can take it to your local Tennessee propane dealer to exchange it for a replacement, or you can have it inspected for recertification, which lasts an additional five years.

If you have an older portable tank that does not have an overfill prevention device, propane suppliers cannot refill it. Overfill prevention devices do what their name implies: As a safety measure, they prevent tanks from being filled so much that there is no room left for the gas to expand when exposed to warmer temperatures.

What to do

Because they’re portable and can be moved around—unlike the bulk tanks you use for the house—smaller tanks suffer more wear and tear. And the valves on older tanks may not fit newer grills.

Your local propane company may be able to help you with disposal. Or you can contact your town and see what the rules are about disposing of propane tanks. Some may allow you to bring them to the local transfer station for proper disposal. Some may have a hazardous waste pick-up day where tanks are accepted.

When it comes to bulk tanks, you obviously can’t just unhook them and run them down to your nearest propane provider for an exchange. If you lease the bulk tank for your home, your job just got easier. The propane provider you lease your tank from handles repairs, maintenance and swaps. If you have concerns about your tank’s condition, contact your propane provider and let them know.

Have more questions about propane tank safety? Contact your local Tennessee propane provider. You can also read more about propane safety here.