If you enjoy cooking outdoors, you may have a grill fueled by a propane tank. While propane tanks are sturdy and can hold up to rough weather, you should inspect your grill tank occasionally to make sure it's still in good condition. While you're looking over your propane tank, check for the manufacture date to determine how old your tank is. When a tank that holds 100 gallons or less of propane reaches 12 years after its manufacture date, it needs to be recertified or retired.
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Here's how to read the age of your propane grill tank.
Reading a Propane Tank Date
The manufacture date is stamped on the tank's collar, which is the metal piece sticking up at the top of the cylinder. The date will be stamped as a simple four-number code. The first two numbers signify the month of manufacture, and the second two numbers indicate the year. There's usually a space, dash, or slash between the two sets of numbers. For example, if your tank is stamped 06 16, it was manufactured in June 2016.
An E or H stamped by the date means the tank has been recertified. A propane tank recertification stamp shows that the tank has been tested and recertified for use. Recertification adds five years to the life of the tank. So if the manufactured date on your tank is 12 09, it was made in December 2009 and expired at the end of 2021. If there's an E or an H by the date, the tank was recertified, and it should be good for another five years beyond 2021, or until the end of 2026.
Don’t confuse the date stamp with the weight, which may also be stamped on the collar. If you see the letters TW followed by numbers, that stamp indicates the weight of the empty tank.
Inspecting Your Grill Tank
While checking the expiration date on your grill tank, take a few minutes to look over the tank and make sure it's in good shape. Look for damage such as:
- Cracks in the metal.
- Leaking pressure valve.
- Missing parts, such as the collar or valve cover.
If you see any such signs of damage, don't refill the tank. Have an expert inspect it or dispose of it.
Disposing of a Propane Tank
Don't throw the tank in the trash or take it to a recycling center. The tank may still contain propane, which is flammable and potentially dangerous.
The best way to dispose of a propane tank that's no longer usable is to take it to a facility that exchanges and fills propane tanks. It can remove any remaining propane before recycling the tank.