Letting the air out. This process is similar to but not the same as letting the air out of your tires. Before you can fully fill a propane tank you need to get rid of any excess air and moisture inside the tank. This is not a DIY project and must be done by a professional LPG technician
Letting the air out of a propane tank is not a hard process. You just have to fill the tank with a little propane and then open the relief valve to let the air out. Propane is heavier than air so once that gas gets inside, it will push the air out. This process happens 3 to 4 times during the refilling of your tank.
To learn more about this process, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about so you can get your tanks purged safely. It is not a task you should do yourself as the gas is very flammable and combustible.
Purging the tank is merely removing the excess air and moisture that has found its way into your propane tank. Before you can completely fill the tank with new gas, you need to go through this process.
This action must be done by professional LPG technicians who are trained to do this purging right. It may take 3 to 4 times before the air and moisture is totally removed but if you want a full tank of propane, it must be done.
Since propane is heavier than air, it will force the air and moisture out when you open the relief valve. After this is done, your tank should be empty and ready to get more propane inside.
Some people do forget to do this step and it may not have disastrous results but it can complicate your life a little bit. One possibility is that the air and gas mixture may open the relief valve so that excess pressure can be released.
Another possibility is that you can have a pilot light or burner malfunction when the combination reaches the stove. If you go to fill the tank without purging, that process can go slower than normal.
One warning note. You should never use liquid propane to purge the tank. This causes other problems and you may not get all the air and moisture out of the system. It is best to let the professionals handle this as they are trained to know what to look for and what to do.
One main reason is that the tank will fill a lot faster. When you do not have a lot of time, this is a very good reason to make sure the tank is properly purged. Another good reason is that the air will be at the top of the tank.
When you open the regulator, it is the air that will reach your gas stove first causing it to not work right. If there is moisture inside, then the regulator and other parts may freeze on you. That will cause them not to work right.
One thing to note is that this purging applies to new propane tanks only. The purging should be done at a certified propane dealer not a gas station attendant or a store that sells propane.
This purging process is to be done when you first buy your new propane tank. The reason it is done at this time is that manufacturers fill the tanks with a certain amount of air pressure.
That air may also contain moisture, contaminants and so on which do not work well in your gas stoves. The manufacturers can fill these tanks with up to 100 PSI to help balance the pressure when those tanks are shipped over different altitudes.
There are national safety codes in place making it essential that you purge any new propane tank before filling it with that gas. This will ensure that the tank performs up to expectations and keeps your propane-fueled activities running smoothly.
The best advice that can be given here is that you do not try to do this yourself. You may not have the right equipment on hand and it does take some propane to help purge the air out of the tank.
But if you want to do it, here are the instructions:
1. Connect your new tank to a full old tank using a line that has a bleed port valve and a regular valve.
2. Move the valve to purge then turn the new tank’s valve as far as it can go counterclockwise.
3. Now open the old tank’s valve and move the line valve to charge
4. When you do not hear gas moving to the new tank, move the line valve on the old tank to purge
5. wait till you do not hear any gas moving again, then repeat steps 1 to 4 again 3 to 4 times.
Old propane tanks are not usually included in this process. They may already be filled with propane and no moisture is inside to worry about. Also, purging is only required to be done once.
After that, you should not have to purge the tank again. Only new unused tanks need this process as the impurities inside the tank can cause you a lot of problems as well as ruin the integrity of the tank.
This is not that hard to do but it may require a second set of hands to complete. The first step is to make sure the tank is empty of gas. Don’t release it into the air but find a way to use it before you switch out the valve.
Once the tank is empty, close the valve. Then have a friend hold it still. You may need a heat gun to break the seal between the valve and the tank. Open the valve again to release any built-up pressure.
Then while your friend is still holding the tank, take a pipe wrench or larger wrench and turn the valve counterclockwise. With the valve off, check inside for rust. If you see rust, the tank is no longer any good and you need to replace it with a new one.
But if it isn’t rusty just put the new valve on and tighten it down.
There is no mention on Menard’s website that they offer this service. They are a refueling proprietor, not a certified LPG distributor or dealer. That means that they may not have the trained personnel to handle that task.
You may have to ask if they actually do purge new tanks but since they sell filled propane tanks they may not do that work. But again, you should prefer that a professional handles this task as that is the quickest and safest method to use.
The way Menard sets up their propane system, purging may not be a good idea at their many outlets.
This company’s website does mention that all new propane tanks must be purged. What they do not say is if they offer this service or not. It may be done and it may not be done.
If they do it, expect to pay between $2 and $5 for a purging fee. The company does have refilling stations at different locations so again since their website does not say anything, you can always ask.
The worst they can do is say no. They do have trained personnel who can answer your questions but purging is another matter and a different training program.
They have an exchange policy and they sell new propane tanks. The new tanks have been pre-purged saving you the trouble and the fee. From what we have read on their website, they do not purge propane tanks.
That is a service that should only be done by certified professionals which ACE hardware probably does not employ at this time. There may be exceptions to the rule but you would have to go to individual outlets to find those exceptions if they exist.
But do not count on that taking place. Save yourself the trouble and go to a dealer instead.
Costco will be like Ace Hardware. They may exchange tanks, and refill them but they do not purge them. They do sell pre-purged tanks so you do not have to go through the process and get your propane supply quickly.
We have repeated the advice many times and will probably repeat it shortly but go to a real propane dealer. They will have the trained technicians on staff so you can get your tanks purged safely
Since Tractor Supply is like the other stores, they are very careful when it comes to propane tanks and their handling. They do refill and probably exchange tanks but they do not re-certify them.
They most likely do not purge them either. They are not in that business nor offer that service. It takes special training to purge a propane tank and most employees will not have that training.
Also, they may be like Costco and sell pre-purged new tanks so you can get that tank filled quickly and be on your way. Just ask about their propane services to be sure.
While it is tempting to simply go to a gas station or business re-filling station, those outlets are not the places to go. Propane is not their main business and their staff is probably trained to only refill tanks or do exchanges.
The place to go is those companies that deal in propane as their major product. They employ professionals who are trained in all aspects of handling propane and propane tanks.
You can recognize them as they will have lots of propane trucks on the property as well as all sizes of propane tanks. Their business names will reflect their business purpose so they are easy to spot even in the yellow pages.
The drawback to this is that these companies may not be in any of the small towns you may drive through. You may have to wait till you get to a larger city to have those tanks purged.
As usual, the actual fee depends on the company providing the service. The fee we have seen ranges between $2 and $5 per tank. But that may be an old figure so use it as a starting point to make sure you are not being over-charged.
That fee pales in comparison to some of the propane fees companies charge for that product. Those charges can range between $4.50 and up per gallon. That means you are paying close to $100 on a 20-pound propane tank.
You might want to check around and do some comparison shopping to see if you can save a little money on your next tank fill-up. Since most refillers sell pre-purged propane tanks, there is no purge charge added to the price of the tank, that we know of.
Propane is a gas you have to take seriously. It is highly flammable and combustible so there is no reason to take a chance and do the purging yourself.
Purging is a one-time act and you won’t have to do it again unless you buy another new tank. The fee is not that high so it is best to leave the work to the professionals and save yourself the hassle.
Just remember that it has to be done if you want a smooth-flowing supply of fuel.