Propane tank mounted under gas grill

Expired 20 Pound Propane Tank

So you go to fill up your propane tank and they tell you that it has expired, what’s up with that? Well thanks to our federal government propane tanks do actually expire every 12 years. Some tanks even have a warning about it stamped on the upper ring. They cite safety reasons for this law. So how do you handle an expired 20 pound propane tank?

Manufacture date stamped on upper ring of 20lb propane tank

What is the expiration date on your 20 pound tank?

All recently manufactured 20 pound propane tanks have a date stamp on the top ring (see image above). This is when the tank was made. If you add 12 years to that date that would be the expiration date. In the case of our tank pictured above the date is 02/2014 so the expiration date is 02/2026.

What to do with your expired 20 pound propane tank:

  1. Trade if off at the propane exchange. The propane exchange places have no problem swapping out an expired tank for a good one at no extra cost. You just end up paying a little more for your propane. The only real drawback to this is chances are the tank you get will expire sooner. This option will cost you about $5.
  2. Get your propane tank recertified: Not all places that fill propane tanks will recertify them, you will need to call around. To get a tank recertified it must have the proper valve. No visible damage (rust, dents, etc.) to the tank itself. A recertified tank is good for 5 years before it needs to be inspected again. This option will cost you about $8 for a 20lb tank.
  3. Purchase a new tank: The most expensive option and the only option that will give you up to 12 years of life again. This option will cost you about $30.
Warning of Expired 20 Pound Propane Tank stamped on ring

Personally I just swap our tanks out at propane exchange. It’s just a matter of convenience. Our propane filling station does both fill and exchange but they do not recertify tanks. Read our full review of the propane exchange here.


aka Sultan of Sizzle

I have been blogging about and selling grilling tool for over 12 years. A Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member, award winning writer and have over 10 years experience in the food service industry.

“I have experienced some of the best food this country has to offer and nothing is better than the food that comes off my own grill!”

What to do with an expired 20 pound propane tank
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What to do with an expired 20 pound propane tank
You have 3 options: 1) Trade if off at the propane exchange for about $5. 2) Get your propane tank recertified for about $8 3) Purchase a new tank for about $30.
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  1. I never knew. Thanks for posting this.

    1. That’s why we are here. I write these posts hopefully to inform people of things that they didn’t already know. Good or bad we just try to be honest.

  2. I thought I was stuck buying a new tank because mine expired. Thanks for the tip about exchanging it. You saved me a few bucks.

  3. I just exchanged an empty tank at my local grocery store. They have the typical Blue Rhino brand. The filled tank I got in exchange has a date stamp 03-10, -but I’ve never seen a newer looking tank. I’m sure they put new labels on once in awhile when they become too worn, but the tank itself looks brand new, no rust spots, scuffs or scratches anywhere at all. Would Blue Rhino bother to repaint and polish up a tank if it wasn’t refurbished/recertified? If so wouldn’t they put a new date stamp on it?

    1. Every propane exchange tank I have ever received looked refurbished and freshly painted as well. Maybe it’s some law that we are not aware of. If it wasn’t expired when you did your exchange maybe they just expect to get it back when your finished.

      1. This was a first for me, they’ve always looked at least a little rusty, like the pics you have posted above, around the collar handle area. I always exchange the empty for filled, usually at Home Depot, but just happened to find that my local Kroger store has them a couple bucks cheaper.

  4. Are new propane tanks good for ten or twelve years ? Ive seen both on this post

    1. It is 12 years, look at the last picture it is actually printed on the tank. That being said I have reread the post and see 10 years no where on it.

  5. prior to my introduction to propane 5 lb tanks I bought 2 from home depot ( NEW) when returning to home depot to recharge them I was charged for the propane and I received 2 used cans 7 years old in place for my new ones. there fee for propane was more than the normal in my area . A lesson was learned , you can go to any place that sells propane and get a better price than home depot. THANK YOU MIKE

  6. If you exchange your tank you only get 15lbs of propane in your 20 Lb cylinder. It says so on the blue rino wrapping. So it’s always a much better deal to refill your old tank unless it’s expired then exchange it.

  7. I was told that an expired tank can only be recertified once, then it’s junk. Not true? I’m in Washington state.

  8. What do you mean exchange will cost $5.00… Exchange is about $25

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