Submitted by Christophe Allen, Acme Fuel
First, all propane tanks 10 gallons (40 lb.) or less must be equipped with an Overfill Protection Device (OPD). You can tell if your tank has an OPD by the shape of the valve which should be triangular.
Second, the tank must be “in date”. A tank’s manufacture date is stamped into the collar of the tank. It is in this format: 05-12. A tank is in compliance for twelve years from the original manufacture date. So a tank manufactured in 05-12, is good until 05-24. If a tank is out of date, you have a couple of options: you can have it re-qualified (definitely worth it for any size tank besides BBQ tanks) or if it is a BBQ sized tank (5 gal/20 lb.) you can exchange it.
Re-qualifying a tank certifies it for another five years. When this is done the date stamp with have an “E” at the end of it: 05-12E. A tank can only be re-qualified three times. After that, it must be recycled.
With the exchange, you take your old tank and exchange it for a new or re-qualified tank that comes full. Pricing on this varies a fair amount. Many hardware and grocery stores offer this service.
The things that may make a tank ineligible for re-qualification are large dings or dents, excessive rust, or a damaged protective collar. If these are present, it’s best to just recycle the tank.
Acme Fuel offers a few additional safety tips. Always transport a tank in the upright position. If it is lying down, and the tank is overfilled, and the relief valve goes off, it will release liquid propane instead of vapor. This makes a bad situation much worse! Also, do not leave the tank in the cab or trunk for longer than the trip home. Again, it could get hot and the relief valve could release.
Finally, it is important to remember that propane is a great fuel, and incredibly versatile, but it must be treated with respect as it is highly flammable. As long as you follow safety guidelines, you can use it completely safely.
If you ever have any other questions or would like to get your tank filled, visit us at 416 State Ave NE, in downtown Olympia; or call at 360-943-1133 or visit us at www.acmefuel.com.