Do you have your campsite all set up? It is time to pack and go. Camping just isn’t the same without a fire, but that would be difficult if there were no propane tanks for cooking. Plus getting stranded in an unfamiliar place with nothing but nature waiting around us becomes much more dangerous when we are out of food or injured from one our hikes not something anyone wants on their mind before they get back home safe after enjoying some alone time away.

Ever wonder if your propane tank is about to expire? Your answer awaits you in this article.

What is Propane?

Propane gas is a versatile, clean burning fuel that can be used in many different ways. It’s obtained from natural gas processing and crude oil refining processes to produce regulated propane.

Propane gas is a universal fuel that can be used in just about any cooking or heating device. It has no color, smell and low boiling point of -44° F at atmospheric pressure this makes it perfect for use with the oxygen present in air to burn off moisture released from food sources as well as release carbon monoxide when mixed with an ignition source such like firewood.

The energy from propane gas is stored in tanks, making it a good source to use for storing this type of fuel.

How is Propane Gas Stored and how is it Used?

For use as fuel, propane gas is stored in the form of a liquefied gas under pressure. The tanks are either small BBQ type tanks or large LPG (Liquefied petroleum gases) ones they all have different capacities depending on how much cooking someone does at home.

Propane gas is a versatile fuel that can be used for heating water, cooking food on an outdoor grill or stove top burner and powering industrial equipment. It’s also commonly found in power plants where it powers machinery such as pumps to move fluids around inside the plant efficiently with little emissions of pollution into our air supply.

Do Small Propane Gas Tanks Expire?

Propane gas is a clean burning and odorless fuel that can be used for many years without going bad. However, propane tanks must be re certified every 10 due to an expiry date which limits its long term use. A great alternative option when considering natural gas as well.

The special pressures tanks that hold propane must be carefully maintained in order to avoid leaks. These can lead to devastating consequences, such as an excess of escaping gas and fire.

The best way is for homeowners or businesses who use large amounts on a regular basis are required by law (in most parts)to keep their equipment safe from accidents through proper maintenance practices.

As a result of public safety, propane gas tanks are highly regulated with different laws existing for each type in certain states or municipalities. Most regulations are oriented towards ensuring safe storage and handling practices by those who use them as well as inspecting periodically.

Camping propane tanks that are 100 pounds or below and have a shelf life of 12 years can still be used after the date on which they were manufactured. You must have them inspected for exchange/replacement if it is within five years from now, though there’s no need to requalify unless you want more time with your tank.

Larger propane tanks used at homes or in industries are regulated directly by the state or municipality.

How can I check the expiry date of my propane tank?

When you inspect your propane gas tank, you will notice letters and numbers stamped on the collar at the top of your propane gas tank. These are important numbers and letters without which your propane gas tank cannot be refilled and that can be used to determine if your propane gas tank is expired. These letters and numbers include:

  1. The water content (WC) shows how much water your propane gas tank is capable of holding in gallons.
  2. The tare weight (TW) represents the weight of the empty propane gas tank, for example, TW 18 for 18 pounds.
  3. The serial number depending on the manufacturer of the propane gas tank.
  4. The manufacture/certification date which is usually stamped using a month and year format (MM-YY). For example, a tank stamped 05-2020 was manufactured in May 2020. If your tank expires and is recertified, the qualified inspector will add a sticker with an “E” next to the manufacture date which will add 5 years to the expiry date of your propane gas tank.

As you can see in the example, it is easy to determine when your propane tank expires. Simply add 12 years from its manufacture date and that tells us how much longer we have until it’s automatically replaced with a new one.

Why do propane tanks expire?

The old propane gas tanks may have visible rust or other damages on them which could serve as avenues for leaks. This poses great potential public hazards because they can lead to the start of fires, especially with how easily flammable it is.

When you are burning propane, there’s no need to worry about your tank bursting. In fact the low boiling point of this gas means that once it has been vaporized and mixed with air, these two elements can’t coexist for very long as such when something goes wrong inside one (like an overzealous cook) the safety valves allow some vapor escape so nothing happens in earnest.

A safety valve is one way to ensure your propane tank doesn’t explode during refilling. The function of this nifty device inside the gas canister will stop it from going any higher than you want it too, and if for some reason something goes wrong then an overfill protection system ensures that nobody gets hurt.

For safety purposes, states and municipalities have laws that control the storage of propane gas tanks. The main reason these tanks need to be replaced is because they are designed in such away so as not last forever on an individual level but there’s also a concern for public health when it comes down how old certain models may be before being used by consumers which leads into their expiry dates.

What if my propane gas tank is expired?

Once you check your propane gas tank and find that it is expired you have two options.

Find a qualified propane gas tank re qualifier for your tank to be recertified. Depending on the state of your tank (in good condition without visible rust or damage), the state of its safety features (appropriate safety valves), the date of its initial manufacture (within 12 years), and the rules and regulation in your state, your propane gas tank expiration may be recertified. Recertification extends the expiry date of your propane gas tank by 5 years.


If your propane gas tank cannot be recertified for one reason or another, you can have the tank exchanged or buy a new one. There exist gas tank exchanging programs depending on the state that you live in. Find out from your local propane gas supplier the program that best suits you.

By Anthony Paton

Anthony Paton, the outdoorsman who loves to report all sorts of interesting stories about camping in Great Britain. He's based out London and doesn't get much time for himself these days because work commitments keep him away on occasion but does what he can with what little free time there is.