20 lb. Propane Tank Exchange - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-23-2009, 12:09 PM   #1
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AP is carrying a story that major suppliers of 20 lb. exchange tanks available at groceries and home supply stores are not filling them with as much propane as they did a few months ago. Typically, they used to fill to 17 or 18 lbs. Now they're filling with only about 15 lbs. (20 lb. tanks should never be filled to 20 lbs.) The article specifically refers to Blue Rhino and Amerigas in regard to this practice, but implied that others are following their lead. These are the two brands that I see in almost any retail outfit where exchange tanks are sold.

This apparently is not illegal, since the vendor does not state the amount of liquid there is in the exchange container. Blue Rhino and Amerigas are doing almost the same thing as a lot of food suppliers, reduce the size so they don't have to increase the price.

Just one more reason why I have my original tanks refilled at the local farmers' co-op. I'd prefer to have a full tank rather than one which is already 15% depleted. At least locally, refilling is much cheaper than the exchange tanks anyway.
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:49 PM   #2
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I called the main headquarters for "U-HAUL" today and they told me that their stores that fill propane charge by the Gallon so I will give that a shot to see the cost factor of a gallon and times it by 20 to see if it's a bargain.
Joe

Update on the U-HAUL propane refill:
I just now brought them a completely empty 20 lb tank and they charge by the Gallon (not pounds) ..... my tank has 18.8 LB. TW stamped on the side and weighs now 37.0 LBS FULL...... my ticket says i got 4.60 gallons [at] $2.75 a GALLON so by the look at the math 1 gallon equals approximately 5 pounds...... total fillup is $12.65. NOT BAD. He also told me he fills it til the float shuts it and that the exchange tanks are only giving you 15lbs wheas he put in close to 20 lbs
The man said that propane prices have dropped lately and this was a good price.
Hope this helps someone.
Joe
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:05 PM   #3
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. . .Just one more reason why I have my original tanks refilled at the local farmers' co-op. I'd prefer to have a full tank rather than one which is already 15% depleted. At least locally, refilling is much cheaper than the exchange tanks anyway.
Ditto for us. I refilled both our cylinders for under $20 recently. (7.5 gallons of propane x 4.1 pounds-per-gallon = 31.5 pounds of propane cost $19.43.) So refilling two of our own cylinders cost the same as buying one ready-filled Rhino or Amerigas exchange cylinder at the local Home Depot.

The one advantage Amerigas and Rhino have is that, while propane filling stations often have limited hours and are somewhat hard to find, you can find pre-filled cylinders at grocery stores, Walmart, home improvement stores, some national park stores, even some 7-11s.
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:37 PM   #4
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another advantage for the ones that require you to leave a tank to take a tank is they rotate out cycliders, that are out of date. So when you drop off your now out of date tank to pick up the new full one....... you have a newer tank you can now refill yourself from that point forward if you want.

It's something built into the price and makes us all safer too.
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:31 PM   #5
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Hi: All... Just a word of warning about "Tank Exchanges". If you ever see one where the brass fittings are greenish in colour...DO NOT TAKE IT!!! I understand some Meth labs use propane tanks and let out the propane to put other stuff in the tanks for their "Cooking". This discolours the brass and may be more volatile if used. I have not run exchanges but only refill my own tanks.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:49 PM   #6
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Update on the U-HAUL propane refill:
Our local U-Haul locations also have these discounts: Decal discount (you ask for it if you don't already have a decal from previous fill) and 11+gallon discount (I think 1/3!). So, if you have several tanks, topping them all off on one trip can save you even more.

Also, my last old tank exchange took place recently at Menard's (U-Haul wouldn't fill it). They now have a 24-hour automated exchange cage. It rings up full cost including tank on your credit card swipe, then cage opens, you remove a full tank, put your empty in that slot and the tank cost is deducted from the charge before the transaction is finished. It worked just fine for me.
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:10 PM   #7
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Our local U-Haul locations also have these discounts: Decal discount (you ask for it if you don't already have a decal from previous fill) and 11+gallon discount (I think 1/3!). So, if you have several tanks, topping them all off on one trip can save you even more.
Great Tip...... will definately check it out on the next re-fill
Joe
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:10 AM   #8
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Hi: All... Just a word of warning about "Tank Exchanges". If you ever see one where the brass fittings are greenish in colour...DO NOT TAKE IT!!! I understand some Meth labs use propane tanks and let out the propane to put other stuff in the tanks for their "Cooking". This discolours the brass and may be more volatile if used. I have not run exchanges but only refill my own tanks.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
This info has been circulating on the web for some time. You can check out the myth vs facts at:

http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/methtank.asp
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:16 AM   #9
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Just a follow on question:
How long does a tank of propane last?
I've had my casita almost five years and I have never run out of just ONE tank when I was camping. Two tanks seem like overkill.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:52 AM   #10
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depends on how you camp. If you 100% boondock, have a water heater and furnace, run the fridge on 'pane, cook inside... for me, it's about two weeks to go thru a tank, maybe even a little less.... thats if I am in the rig full time for that period. I live like I would at home.

when only weekending it, even with a boondock, I "camp" differently... sometimes cook outside, don't fire up the water heater and just go as I need with a pot on the stove for small water heating.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:44 AM   #11
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The major consumer of propane in our trailer is the furnace. It's a 16,000 btu (per hour) heater; propane yields 22,000 btu per pound burned, so the furnace burns almost 3/4 of a pound of propane for every 60 minutes of operation.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:17 PM   #12
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Check the tank valve before you leave, my sister purchased one and took it camping, the valve was jammed or would not turn, (everyone tried) they spent the whole weekend without propane, and were pissed off.

Linda
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:47 AM   #13
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Keep in mind that all propane cylinders are not supposed to be filled to more than 80% of capacity, so this means a 20 lb cylinder should only be filled to 16 lbs. Propane weight is 4.25 lbs per gallon. If your seller fills it to more than 80 %, he is endangering you. There is a valve that is supposed to prevent a greater fill. The purpose for this is that propane expands in heat, and if you overfill your cylinder you risk explosion. One pound shy of that is appx .25 gallons. Not a huge loss in the scheme of things, esp. if you are talking about hotter climates.

If you have a tank rated for 18.8lbs, 20 percent is appx 15 lbs.

Pam
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:00 AM   #14
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depends on how you camp. If you 100% boondock, have a water heater and furnace, run the fridge on 'pane, cook inside... for me, it's about two weeks to go thru a tank, maybe even a little less.... thats if I am in the rig full time for that period. I live like I would at home.

when only weekending it, even with a boondock, I "camp" differently... sometimes cook outside, don't fire up the water heater and just go as I need with a pot on the stove for small water heating.

I think you and the others have convinced me (in my own way) to do something I have been thinking about for a long time: Take both metal tanks off. Buy one 20 pound fiberglass replacement. Mount Honda where the other tank was. I'll carry a spare tank in the truck if I think I will need it (which I doubt as I am averse to COLD!!!! LOL)
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