What to Do if Propane Won't Come Out of the Tank

Propane is mostly known for providing energy to household heaters and backyard grills. A liquid that converts into a gas, propane is stored in tanks that need to be maintained and refilled periodically. Sometimes tanks can malfunction, due to either mechanical problems or human error.

Close-up of valve on propane tank
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Inspecting the Tank for Leaks

Inspect the tank for leaks, ensuring that the valve has not been left open (which would allow the tank to empty over time). You should not be able to smell propane when you are near the tank. Ensure that all fittings are tight and that the hoses are not cracked. Look for any obvious punctures or other damage to the tank. If you know how much propane should be left in the tank, try weighing it on your bathroom scale, or invest in a small gauge that monitors the propane levels for you.

Determining the Age of the Tank

Find the date of manufacture on your tank, which will be stamped at the top of the tank near the collar. The Department of Transportation allows propane tanks to be used for only 12 years before recertification is needed to gain an additional 5 years of use. If your tank is older than this, your problem may be a worn-out tank.

Attaching the Hose End Connection to the Service Valve

Attach the hose end connection to the service valve. As of April 2002, all propane tanks have what is called an "overfill protection device." This safeguard allows propane to escape if a tank is filled more than it should be. This device is also designed to safeguard against any gas flow if the service valve is not connected.

Leave Repairs for the Professionals

Never attempt to repair a propane tank by yourself. Attempting to modify any part of the tank on your own is dangerous, and repairs should only be done by a licensed professional. If none of these tips gets your propane flowing, then return your tank to the store or leasing company and ask for another tank.


Desdemona Delacroix

Desdemona Delacroix has been working as a freelance author in her spare time since 2000, writing short do-it-yourself and current events articles. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Maryland University College, and she occasionally offers tutoring services in writing to undergraduate college students.