When it comes to RV life, there are two important items you will always need. One is electricity and the other is propane. It's easy to get electricity, all you have to do is plug into the nearest outlet. But getting propane is another matter.
Can you exchange a 30lb tank? Yes, you can exchange a 30lb tank but you should do it at a qualified dealer and not just a place that sells propane. The key for some outlets is that your old propane tank must have the new OPD valve on it already. If it doesn’t, some dealers won't make the exchange. Or they may charge a higher fee.
To learn more about the 30 lb. propane tank exchange, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about. Take a few minutes to find out what you need to do before you rush off to the dealer.
The answer as you already know is yes. But you need to watch out for the little details that may thwart your plan of making an exchange. First, your tanks should not be expired. In Canada, propane tanks expire after 10 years and in America, it is 12 years.
Some companies may not take expired tanks in their exchange program so you should check first before showing up. One phone call can send you to the dealer who will make the exchange without any hassle.
Second, the valve matter. In America, you need that OPD valve as most dealers sell by volume now and not by weight. There may be some exceptions to this but that is the way this industry is moving.
However, in Canada, they sell by weight so the OPD valve is not a requirement if you want to refill your propane tank. Changing the valve may get expensive as one dealer will charge almost $50 to do it for you.
You have to be careful as regulations can change on you in 10 to 12 years and there will always be some new hurdle to jump over to exchange a propane tank.
There are a few nationally known companies that will exchange your propane tanks for you. Home Depot is one of them and Lowe’s is another. Then you can go to hardware stores or supermarkets that sell propane and exchange your tanks with them.
There are just too many outlets to list as a quick internet search brought up a bunch of local stores, dealers, and other outlets that will gladly exchange your 30 lb. propane tanks. it would be best to do a local search on your computer to find the one nearest you.
When you go to exchange your tanks, make sure they have not expired. If they have you will have to go to a dealer that is capable of re-certifying your tanks. One fee for this service is $15 per tank at ONE dealer.
The fee can be different at other dealers and if you know the people or not. Always check your tanks first and make a phone call to the dealer you want to work with. Some people require new customers to phone first or they may not take your order.
This is actually hard to say as there is a myriad of outlets that all exchange propane tanks. They set their fees according to the competition in their area and those fees can change without notice.
Blue Rhino and Amerigas are the biggest propane companies you can find and the outlets that work with them may be the cheapest of them all. Walmart seems to work with Blue Rhino and they may have the cheapest prices.
But with that said, being the cheapest is relative. The reason we say that is that these outlets do not always give you 30 lbs. of propane in the tank. it is a well-known fact that at the 20 lb level most outlets only give you 15 lbs of propane at the 20 lb price.
The same system may hold true for the 30 lb level. You are not getting what you are paying for. Refilling may be the better option if it is an option for you. It will be cheaper to refill than to exchange as you get more propane for the same price.
As you already know, the actual cost to fill a 30 lb propane tank will vary. It will depend on the region of the country you are in and the dealer you go to. Some will be very expensive and others will be cheaper.
The average cost of re-filling a 30 lb tank ranges between $40 to $70 for a standard propane tank. The horizontal ASME tanks may cost you u[ward to $250 approx. That is if your tank doesn't need re-certification to use.
The cost to re-certify a 30 lb propane tank varies as well. You can spend as little as $25 and as much as $35. Or you can spend a lot more depending on how honest and ethical the dealer is.
On top of all this, those tanks with the OPD valve may cost you even more. It will depend a lot on the industry and the requirements. The best thing to do is shop around and make a few phone calls before you venture out.
Finding the lowest price will be worth the time you spend making those phone calls. This may be a bit more difficult if you are on the road between destinations.
There is some good news in all of this information. The rate your tank lasts will depend on how often you use it and what BTU rate you burn at. For example, if you only burn at a rate of 1000 BTUs then your tank should last you 28 days.
Some people will experience a shorter period and others will have it last longer. It will all depend on how you burn it and how often. Your gas stove may burn at 30,000 BTUs and that will definitely shorten the life span of your propane tank. On average at that rate, you are looking at it lasting roughly 21 1/2 hours or 1 to 2 weeks.
But that is for only 1 appliance. If you are running several appliances throughout the day, do not expect the supply to last a very long time. But if some of those appliances have an electrical option, then you can extend that period a little longer.
Most likely, you would have to check the BTU rating for each appliance that uses propane gas and then figure out how long a tank will last you. If you limit your propane use, then chances are you will make at least 2 to 4 weeks.
If you are interested in a little trivia, then the propane in a 30 lb tank weighs only 30.8 pounds when full. Add the tank weight and the weight goes up to 54.5 pounds. They tend to get a bit on the heavy side when all material weights are added together.
But be thankful you do not have a 40 lb. tank as those items get to 42 1/3 pounds for just the propane and over 70 pounds when you add the tank weight. Lifting these tanks can be quite a chore when they are full. Make sure to lift with your knees.
On the other hand, when you exchange your tanks, the 30-pound version may not meet that level of weight. Most exchange tanks are not filled all the way and you are losing out on cost as well as the amount of propane you will have.
Refilling is one of two ways to get a full tank. The other would be to buy a new propane tank that is already filled to its limit. How you get your propane will be up to you so be careful that you do not pay more and get less.
That is a very good question because most propane tanks are not filled to capacity. Usually, the tanks are filled to 80% of their total capacity. The reason dealers do this is because propane can expand.
If the tank is filled to capacity, there is no room for the expansion to go and when that situation arises, you could end up with an explosion on your hands. So when the dealer says the tank is full and you put the tank on the scale and see there is room left over, it is still full.
With that information in mind, there are only about 6.4 gallons of propane in a 30 lb tank when it is 80% full. If you were to fill the tank all the way, then there should be 8 gallons of propane inside.
If someone says that it is a 7-gallon tank, they may be rounding up and not stating the true capacity size. When you know the gallon size, you know exactly how much you are paying per gallon and can see if it is a good deal or not.
This is a good question as refilling takes time and you may not have a lot of time on your hands. For convenience sake, exchanging is probably the best way to go as you just hand in your tank and get a new one.
But there is a slight problem here. Exchange tanks do not get filled up to their 80% capacity. In 20 lb tanks, you may be paying for 20 lbs and only getting 15. The same is probably true for 30 lb. exchanges although we have not seen any numbers on that level.
With refilling, you will be paying for approx. 20 pounds of propane and paying for 20 pounds. Economically, it makes more sense to refill than exchange. Of course, if you are getting close to the expiration date on your tanks, an exchange or a new purchase may be in order.
That way you will avoid paying a recertification fee, which can be fairly expensive for 30 lb propane tanks. In the end, you will have to see which option works best for you. Be careful though, some dealers do not accept tanks that do not have the OPD valve on them and you may be stuck with an empty tank on your hands.
This may be a situation you will be faced with if the dealer does not take your tank in exchange. The tank may be damaged or it can’t be re-certified so your options for use become limited.
It is possible to remove the valve assembly and punch a hole in the side of the tank. Once you do that, you can sell it to a scrapyard. You may only get pennies on the dollar but at least it is not taking up storage space.
Or you can repurpose it and use it legally in a non-pressurized way. There are lots of ideas available for this option.
Exchanging your 30 lb. propane tank may sound like a good idea. And it is great if you are in a hurry or can’t find a re-filling station. However, you may end up losing out as you pay more for the propane in an exchange than you may in a re-filling.
Check out your options and choose the one that is best for you.