A propane tank is a device used to store and transport liquid propane gas (LPG). These tanks come in various shapes and sizes, and they can either be pressurized or unpressurized. The pressure of these tanks is regulated by the ambient atmospheric pressure, not by any safety valve.
Types of Propane Tanks
Propane Tanks are of two types – 20LB and 40LB. The difference between the two of these tanks is their size, weight, and storage capacity. 20LB Propane Tank is smaller than the 40LB Tank. It is approximately 33% lighter than its counterpart. A 20LB Propane Tank can be easily moved on its own, whereas a 40LB Tank would need some help to move it on its own. A full 20LB tank weighs around 19 pounds (8kg). A 20LB Tank holds just enough propane to heat a small oven or a microwave, and a full 40LB Tank can be used for a large dishwasher, a dishwasher-oven combo, many other uses.
Advantages of Propane Tanks
- Ease of Transport
20LB and 40LB Tanks are made lighter using a plastic shell to hold the propane, making them easier to move around. The 20LB Tank weighs 19 pounds when full, whereas a 40LB Tank could weigh as much as 44 pounds, plus the Tank’s weight.
- Ease of Setups
20LB and 40LB Tanks come with a valve attached to their top, allowing people to turn on and off their propane supply, and acts as a quick connector valve for other devices that use propane as a fuel source, such as barbecue grills or lanterns. The 20LB Tank also comes with a quick connector valve at the bottom, allowing the user to quickly connect a hose to the main valve, making it easier to transfer propane from other tanks or refillers.
- Portable Tanks for Many Uses
Propane tanks are lightweight and easy to carry. They can be taken from one place to another without worrying about moving heavy tanks. In addition, they can be carried by one person alone if they are full of propane.
Disadvantages of Propane Tanks
- Potential Explosions
The major disadvantage of propane tanks is their potential for explosion. Propane is made of hydrocarbon, and it doesn’t like oxygen very much, so if the Tank is not handled correctly, or if the outlet valves are not tightly shut when there’s no pressure exerted into them, it could cause an explosion.
- Possible Spills and Leaks
Propane tanks tend to overheat and crack due to pressure build-up inside its shell. When this happens, propane leaks out from the leaky seams of the Tank’s shell and could cause a fire or an explosion since it is flammable when in contact with oxygen air molecules.
- Drying out
If the Tank shell is not sealed when the Tank is filled with propane, it will, over time, dry out, and when that happens, propane can spill when it’s in the middle of its bulky folded position.
Propane tanks are relatively expensive; they could cost up to $40 for a 40-pound tank (16kg) in some places. It may also vary depending on where you live, though. Difficult to Carve Propane tanks are made of metal, so it’s hard to cut holes on these. Special tools are needed to pierce holes on these tanks.
Due to all the safety concerns involved in using propane tanks, people must get training on using them effectively. It should be done before the purchase of the Tank itself.
Steps of Using Propane Tanks
- Find your tank filler tube. It’s usually to the left of the stove when you are sitting at the kitchen table cooking dinner.
- Open your tank cover (located on top of the Tank) by pressing down on the pressure-release valve (located near one end) and then pulling up until it locks into place again.
- Close and lock the tank cover.
- Open the tank filler cap (located on the right-hand side of the stove) by pulling up on it, then replace the cap after removing the device attached to it.
- Hold your propane canister upright with your left hand, resting on an open area on the countertop to prevent it from rolling around during transport. Tip: Place a towel between your hand and gas canister to prevent burns.
- Locate a securely enclosed area away from small children, pets, fire hazards, windows, doors, etc.
- Lower the gas canister into the opening of the propane tank.
Tip: Line up the holes on the gas canister with those in your propane tank so that you don’t pinch yourself while opening and closing the cap.
- Lift the propane canister out of your propane tank and set it on an open area away from small children, pets, fire hazards, windows doors, etc.
- Flip it over and open its safety valve (if equipped). It will help prevent a flashback and cause the gas to evaporate faster into your home heating system via a hidden hole in your house or garage.
- Replace the gas canister cap on top of your gas canister.
- Refill with propane!
Tip: Measure your cylinder’s fullness by taking the number of times you have to turn the valve clockwise to siphon out enough gas into a measuring cup before it overflows, then closes the valve partway and set it back in your Tank so that your gauge shows you have used up all of your propane.
- Maximize use of propane tanks
- Don’t accidentally leave a stove or other appliance on with the propane tank unlocked at night when you go to bed or away for a few days.
- Keep propane tanks out of the sun during hot weather. They can explode if overheated.
- To safely dispose of your empty Tank, consult your local recycling info or take it to your local gas dealer.
- Efficiently use propane tanks by measuring their fullness to save money and not waste propane.
- All propane tanks should be tested for leaks before installation using a soap solution called WET or a wet-bubble test.
- Always keep your Tank and fittings clean and free of dirt and debris.
To help promote the fire safety of the public, make sure you know how to use propane tanks properly because it might save your life or the lives of your family members by not misusing them.