Expiration Date: How Long Are RV Propane Tanks Good For?

Propane drives the RV. You may not think about it but propane is a big deal. From cooking your food, to cooling it to heating your water and more. Propane handles the big jobs so you can have a great vacation.

How Long Are RV Propane Tanks Good For? Even though they are not perishable items, propane tanks do have a lifespan. They are dated when manufactured and given a 12 year lifetime. It is possible to re-certify them and get an additional 5 years.

Learn more about your propane tanks and how long you can use them by continuing to read our article. It is filled with the information you need to know so you can properly use your propane tanks.

Do RV Propane Tanks Expire

Again the answer to this question is a positive. Each propane tank is stamped with a due date after it has been made. The due date a set of 4 numbers with the first two representing a month of the year. For example 02 = February.

The second pair of numbers represents the year it was manufactured. If the number says 04 then it was made in the year 2004. From that point, you have 12 years before you need to re-certify the tank or replace it.

The certification expires on the last day of the month stamped on it. In the case of our example February, that would be Feb. 28th unless the expiration happens during a leap year. Then the date moves to the 29th.

When do RV Propane Tanks Expire

RV propane tanks should expire 12 years after the date of manufacture. That date is clearly stamped on the top[ of the propane tank and is easy to see and find. This restriction is set by federal law.

Once the date is reached, no respectable propane dealer will refill your tank. You may need to make notes to remind yourself to re-certify or replace these tanks when the expiration date is approaching.

That way you won’t find yourself in a position where you have no propane when you are out camping in the wilderness.

RV Propane Tank Expiration Date

This date is clearly marked on your propane tanks. It is large enough to remind you and propane dealers that the tank’s expiration date is fast approaching. As the date gets closer, you should be thinking of how to re-certify it or where you can get a good replacement deal.

Now if you travel to Canada during your RV vacation, you should be aware that their propane tank expiration time limit is different than America’s. The Canadian expiration date is 10 years.

This means that before you leave the country for a Great Northern adventure, you should check your tanks. If they are close to the 10 year date, then you should have them filled before you leave the country.

It is against Canadian law to refill out of date propane tanks. For more details just click this link.

Do RV Propane Tanks Need to be Recertified

Once the expiration date arrives, you will not be able to refill your propane tanks at a reputable dealer. It is mandatory to re-certify any propane tank once they have reached or come close to their due date.

The re-certification process does not take long and once done you get another 5 years to use your tanks. Basically , the re-certification process just checks for leaks as well as the fittings and other parts. The cost is up to the dealers, but it ranges between $5 and 7.50 per tank.

That is a lot cheaper than purchasing new tanks that can cost anywhere between $58 and 102. There is one thing you should be aware of it you are thinking of driving through Canada to visit your Alaskan relatives.

The Canadians do not recognize the American 5 year re-certification. Their law states that it is illegal to refill out of date propane tanks. Each tank must be re-certified and good for 10 years. Just check the link in the above section to get all the Canadian details.

If you want all the American details on propane tanks and American re-certification, then click this link.

The Weight of the Propane Tank

There is another number stamped on the tank as well as the expiration code. The important thing to remember is not to confuse the two pieces of information. The second number may look like this: TW18.

This number indicates the weight of the propane tank when empty. The 18 means that the tank will weigh 18 pounds once you used up all the fuel inside. That means a 20 pound propane tank when full should weigh about 38 pounds.

These figures help when you need to figure out how much propane you have left in your tank. When you haven’t used the tank for a while, just sit it on a normal scale. If the scale reads 30, that tells you that you have 12 pounds of propane left in the tank.

How Long are RV Propane Tanks Good For

There is another expiration limit you should be concerned about. That time limit refers to how many hours will a propane tank last. A standard propane tank may hold about 4 1/2 gallons give or take a few quarts.

Each gallon equals about 92,000 BTUs. If you are vacationing in cool weather, the typical RV furnace may burn about 30,000 BTUs per hour. This gives you about 3 hours of continuous furnace use per gallon.

Now the furnace won't burn for 3 continuous hours so a gallon of propane should last you about 24 hours approx. These figures are all approx. but it should give you a good idea that your propane tank should last you for several days.

Of course, how long your propane tank lasts depends on how much you use propane.

Some Final Words

In today’s world, just about everything has an expiration date. To keep RV users and other propane tank customers safe it is important to have an expiration date on propane tanks.

Just use the information above to see when yours expires. Once you find out, l then take the appropriate action. Re-certification is painless and inexpensive.

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