What is Propane Tank Inspection?

propane tanks

Propane tank maintenance

Propane gas tanks are commonly seen in rural areas where natural gas isn’t available and in a commercial or industrial setting. It provides a clean, safe energy source cooking stoves, water heaters and outdoor grills. They are also used for generators and welding equipment. Propane comes in different sizes of bottles and metal cylinders, compressed, and transformed to a liquid form. From time to time, propane tank inspection is required to make sure the transporting, storing, and use of the tanks is safe. 

The different types of propane tanks used are: 

  • Single Use: This size of propane tank is used once and disposed of because it isn’t refillable. The portability and ease of use makes it desirable when gas is needed for one time. 
  • Refillable Propane Tank: This type of propane tank is used in rural homes where natural gas isn’t available. A large metal tank that is designed not to leak and connects to a main gas line that is connected to the home. This type of propane tank, inspections are needed to be certain there isn’t any gas leaking. 
  • Acme Valve: This propane tank is used on outdoor grills and can be exchanged as they empty without a wrench because of the Acme Valve style.  These type of propane tank, inspections are done before they are refilled with propane gas and placed for sell. 
  • 20 Pound Cylinder: Used for camping, grilling, and RV travel, holds approximately four gallons of propane, and has the OPD (overfill prevention device) valve. This type of propane tank, inspection is done before refilling the tank to check for leaks.
  • 100 Pound Cylinders: These types of propane tanks are seen outside rural area homes and provides propane gas to cook, heat homes and water. This type of propane tank, inspection is recommended for safety of the home and surrounding areas. 

A propane gas tank is resilient and has been designed and built to hold LPG (liquid propane gas) while under pressure and in different types of elements and weather conditions. It is for this reason that the most sturdy propane gas tank will have a shelf life, and any propane tank, inspection is needed to check for any possible deterioration, leaks, or weakness. 

How do I know if my propane tank is outdated?

Near the handle of every portable propane gas tanks is a series of numbers stamped into the tanks. These numbers provide information like the capacity rate and the tank’s origination. A date is stamped on the handle close to the valve that indicates the tank’s manufacturing date, read in a Month-Year format like 12-19 meaning it was built in December of 2019.

Do propane tanks need to be tested?

Yes, it is federal law which is established and overseen by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Every propane gas company is required to test each propane gas tank before refilling them. The propane tank inspection and leak test checks for any leaks with the tank and its piping system. The plumbing joints and seal integrity are tested to assure the tank is working in a safe manner. 

How often does a propane tank need to be inspected?

Propane tanks fall under the jurisdiction of DOT (Department of Transportation) when it comes to certification, propane tank inspection, and recertification.  As of January 2017, the following rules were updated and implemented by DOT:

  • Initial requalification every 10 years from the date of original manufacture.
  • Requalification by volumetric expansion testing every 10 years.
  • Requalification period for propane tank cylinders by proof pressure every 10 years.

What happens if you use an expired propane tank?

A gas propane tank that near the expiration date stamped on the handle needs to be recertified or exchanged for a new tank. This can be done a qualified propane gas service technician. To have a propane tank inspection and recertification done can range in pricing between $35 and as much as $60. In most cases, the technician or LPG company will exchange your current tank for a newer one. It is important to learn and understand the markings on a propane tank, inspection should be current so that you can be comfortable in knowing you have a safe propane gas tank. 

What is done to recertify a propane tank? and How long is propane tank recertification good for?

 There are 3 ways for propane tank recertification to be done and should only be done by a professional propane tank service tech that is certified to perform the recertification: 

  • Visual propane tank inspection – all the connections, hoses, and lines are visually inspected all are connected tightly with no cracks. 
  • Proof Pressure –  and air test of the propane gas tank at twice the service pressure and should be done every 7 years.
  • Volumetric Expansion – this is a water jacket hydrostatic test at twice the marked service pressure and should be done every 10 years. 

How many times can a propane tank be recertified?

As long as the propane tank inspection doesn’t find any issues like bent, bulging, or cracked tanks, they can be recertified over and over, every 7 to 10 years as described above based on the method of propane tank inspection and recertifying method. 

big propane tank

How long is a 20 lb propane tank good for?

An underground propane tank that was professionally buried and installed can have a life expectancy up to 30 years depending on the soil and routine maintenance. Portable propane gas tanks can have an endless life if not abused or misused and routine recertification is performed. 

Propane gas doesn’t expire, providing a long shelf-life. If you have a propane tank service that refills your tank, many offer a gauge and will have automatic schedule for refilling. Otherwise, you will want to check the gauge regularly and have it refilled when it reaches the 20% mark. Call 817-341-7240 today for your propane tank inspection in Weatherford, TX.