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Question About Refilling 20lb BBQ Propane Tank Login/Join 
Get my pies
outta the oven!

Picture of PASig
posted
I bought my own 20lb propane tank a few years ago and now get it filled at my local Tractor Supply instead of playing the 15lb exchange tank game anymore.

I just bought a second one, the first one has about 1/5th left in it but I wanted to take them both to be filled.

My question is, can I bring a partially filled tank there and get it topped off? Or does it need to be completely empty? I can’t seem to find a straight answer about this online.

Thanks!


 
Posts: 27976 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Dances With
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If they are filling it there, instead of trading you out, they will, or should be, weighing it, and you should pay only for what they put into it.

If they are charging you a flat fee to fill it, no matter how much is still in it, you might be losing a few bucks.

They should have no issue at all filling one that is not completely empty, "topping off" so to speak.
.
 
Posts: 9884 | Registered: October 26, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Get my pies
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Picture of PASig
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It’s by the gallon at Tractor Supply.


 
Posts: 27976 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Dances With
Tornados
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That should no be any issue at all, however you might advise the filler-person that it is not completely empty.
.
 
Posts: 9884 | Registered: October 26, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of dsiets
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I think that's why they weigh them and fill to a certain weight. But I think they under fill them a bit to be safe.
 
Posts: 6109 | Location: MI | Registered: May 22, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Optimistic Cynic
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quote:
they under fill them a bit to be safe
safely in the black, you mean.
 
Posts: 4458 | Location: NoVA | Registered: July 22, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of bigdeal
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I've re-filled my partially full/empty tank numerous times without issue. As noted above, you should only be paying for the volume they add to the tank.


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Posts: 31761 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: April 30, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
eh-TEE-oh-clez
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When I get my tanks refilled, the filling pump has a counter like an old school odometer that spins as the gallons fill. The attendant fills until liquid vents out the little relief valve, and then I pay for the number of gallons purchased.

I've seen similar setups across the 4 or 5 gas stations I've used around here to fill propane tanks.

I pay to swap the tank out every 2 or 3 years just so I at least have a tank that's been looked at and resprayed periodically.
 
Posts: 12098 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Jelly
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quote:
I can’t seem to find a straight answer about this online.


Huh? Anyone who says you can't has no clue! 2 years working in a gas station high school that also filled propane tanks. And 40 years in areospace industry around propane forklifts. I've top off many propane tanks. Hundreds of thousands of propane forklifts are topped off every day. Last thing you want to do on a propane forklift is run out of propane an 1/8 mile from main tank. Because your going to be taking it off and packing a heavy steel tank a long ways.


quote:
they will, or should be, weighing it, and you should pay only for what they put into it.


I've never weighed a propane tank in my life and I've filled many. Places around here all have a gauge to show gallons and tenths

There is a lttle loss of propane to the air when filling because you must have the tank bleeder valve open when filling or toping off. You fill till the propane starts coming out the bleeder valve. The bleeder valve is usually at 80 percent capacity of the tank. In the old days it used to be closer to 90 percent give or take of the tank capacity. So a 5 gallon tank would be considered full at 4 gallons using the 80 percent figure. There is also some loss of propane in the air because the hose also has some propane in it.
 
Posts: 2179 | Registered: March 15, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Our TSC counts by the gallon & opens the bleeder valve until liquid flows, so you know it's full.

20 years ago, we filled to weight & charged a set amount for a fill - you got screwed if it wasn't empty.
 
Posts: 2874 | Location: IN | Registered: January 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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TSC here is by the gallon. Takes less if partially full/not totally empty. Makes them no difference as long as the test date is within range.


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Posts: 17 | Registered: July 20, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Easiest solution is to have another BBQ first. Big Grin
 
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I've brought partial tanks in before a hurricane and they charge me for what they put in the tank.

Actually, they charge for a full refill, and the guy put in half a tank, then walks me back to the register and has them refund me the difference.


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Posts: 6039 | Location: Floriduh | Registered: October 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I take all my tanks up to the uhaul and get them filled. Often there are a couple partials. Especially when a storm is predicted to come in, they all get filled regardless

They have a spinning gauge to how much they put in


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Posts: 5545 | Location: New Orleans...outside the levees, fishing in the Rigolets | Registered: October 11, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Jelly:
quote:
I can’t seem to find a straight answer about this online.


Huh? Anyone who says you can't has no clue! 2 years working in a gas station high school that also filled propane tanks. And 40 years in areospace industry around propane forklifts. I've top off many propane tanks. Hundreds of thousands of propane forklifts are topped off every day. Last thing you want to do on a propane forklift is run out of propane an 1/8 mile from main tank. Because your going to be taking it off and packing a heavy steel tank a long ways.


quote:
they will, or should be, weighing it, and you should pay only for what they put into it.


I've never weighed a propane tank in my life and I've filled many. Places around here all have a gauge to show gallons and tenths

There is a lttle loss of propane to the air when filling because you must have the tank bleeder valve open when filling or toping off. You fill till the propane starts coming out the bleeder valve. The bleeder valve is usually at 80 percent capacity of the tank. In the old days it used to be closer to 90 percent give or take of the tank capacity. So a 5 gallon tank would be considered full at 4 gallons using the 80 percent figure. There is also some loss of propane in the air because the hose also has some propane in it.


False, you don't HAVE TOO open the bleeder to fill/top off a tank.




 
Posts: 9139 | Registered: October 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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I normally get them refilled, especially when I like the tank. The son went to tractor supply to get two refilled yesterday. He came back with one refilled & the other ‘denied’. They told him there was no date on the tank or it was out of date. It didn’t seem that old to me.

One is enough for now, if needed I’ll do the exchange with the out of date tank.
 
Posts: 4837 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of nhracecraft
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I have NEVER in my life paid for propane by the gallon....I've never even had the option as I've NEVER encountered a propane dealer that sells it that way!

Always paid for the '20 lb. Propane Refill' at the counter, and then wandered out the propane filling guy to get my tank refilled...


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Posts: 4797 | Location: New Hampshire | Registered: October 29, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Say your truck has a 25 gallon fuel tank, there are 10 gallons in it. Does anyone pull up to the station & buy 25 gallons of fuel? Only 15 will fit?

That’s the same principle with a propane tank, with many refilled. Of course if doing the exchange, you may have some left as you get the full tank.

I think an ‘empty’ tank can vary some. Getting one refilled can average $14-$15 or so, I forget the price with exchange, usually more.
 
Posts: 4837 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've only paid for the amount they put in... like many have mentioned... there is a counter on the pump that says how much goes in the tank.

Speaking of the slight amount of bleed off when they are doing this... since there is a big environmental concern over all the methane cows are putting out.... what about all this propane leaking out?
 
Posts: 2407 | Location: Greenville, SC | Registered: January 30, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Excam_Man:


False, you don't HAVE TOO open the bleeder to fill/top off a tank.


Can you help me understand this please. Seriously, not questioning you, want to understand only.

I have always taken in my tanks and had them filled, the folks have always bled the tank until it bled liquid at bleeder.

Last time, at a new station, and the gentleman did not bleed it at all, in fact he had offered originally for me to fill it... So, I was very concerned he didn't know how to do it properly.

I was concerned the tank would not accept as much volume of liquid since he did not bleed it, also that the pressure would be higher than normally it should be.

Was he in fact right in doing it this way?

Thanks!


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Posts: 939 | Location: Virginia | Registered: October 29, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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