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Question About Refilling 20lb BBQ Propane Tank Login/Join 
Oh stewardess,
I speak jive.
Picture of 46and2
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Places in Colorado (select Ace Hardware locations, for example) fill it like a car gas tank, only adding what actual capacity remains, and you pay by the tenth of a gallon. Their pump has the counter.

Easy peasy.
Posts: 25013 | Registered: March 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just remember, it ain’t a barbecue if you’re using propane. Wink

Made in Texas, in the good ole' U.S. of A.
Posts: 208 | Location: Western North Carolina | Registered: May 11, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Thank you
Very little
Picture of HRK
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A link for you

Open the bleeder valve on the tank you filled to make sure it isn’t too full. The bleeder valve is a screw underneath the main valve and helps remove any excess propane from your tank. Put on gloves to protect yourself from any liquid propane if there is any. Turn the screw counterclockwise with a screwdriver to open the bleeder valve. If liquid squirts out of the valve, leave it open until there’s only vapor. If gas or vapor comes out of the valve, turn the screw clockwise to seal it again.[10]

Posts: 17566 | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Dreamerx4:
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?


All tanks have a tare weight stamped on the collar. This is the weight of the tank empty.
Take the tare weight and add 20 lbs and this is what the tank weighs when full.

LP is a refrigerant, just happens to be a flammable refrigerant.
What this means is it will always boil or condense to match the pressure for any given temperature.
The colder the outside temp, the lower the pressure is inside the tank
The hotter the outside temp, the higher the pressure is inside the tank.

They fill the tank with liquid. It will boil to equal the pressure for the given temperature that day.
When filling the tank, the pressure will increase above the given temperature for that day. However, it will condense the vapor back to a liquid and lower it until it matches the pressure for that day.

One never vents refrigerant when recovering refrigerant from a system and transferring it to a recovery tank.
The tank will get warm, but it will cool down to the temperature for that day. As it does this, the vapor is condensing back to a liquid.

There is always liquid and vapor in a tank until the tank runs out of liquid to boil. At that point the tank is basically empty and the pressure will decrease until there is no vapor pressure left.

When there's liquid in the tank, the liquid will boil to maintain the pressure which corresponds with the given temperature that day.

Check out this pressure temperature chart. It will tell you the pressure the tank should have in it at any given temperature.
Pressures dramatically decrease and the boiling slows down when it gets 0 F and below, this is the reason for buried LP tanks in northern climates and Canada. Another option is to add butane to the LP. Houses are supplied with 10 PSI to the regulator on the house, which than drops it down to 11-14" WC (Water Column). There's 28.8" WC in 1 PSI, so basically just under a 1/2 PSI on the house piping.

The problem with filling a tank until liquid comes out of the bleeder, is if it's still spurting liquid when it's closed, you don't know the level of liquid above the port. As the pumps capacity could overfill the tank. Or if the operator doesn't get it shutdown quick enough. Watching the weight is the safest way to refill a tank.

Here's a link to a PDF with a lot of good info.


BTW, if an employee offered a customer the opportunity to fill their own tank, they should be fired on the spot.
The company would not take kindly to the liability their employee just opened them up too. LP filling should only be done by trained personnel.

Opportunity for tank rupture/explosion
Opportunity for refrigerant burns

Sounds like the person in question wasn't qualified or comfortable with the task at hand.

Posts: 9164 | Registered: October 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Firearms Enthusiast
Picture of Mustang-PaPa
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EX your text applies when using a pump to transfer the propane and yes by weight is the correct way to fill with no need to open the bleeder valve as the transfer pump can move the liquid and compress the vapor and weight equals volume.

My experience of filling my own bottle is from a larger volume propane tank with no transfer pump involved and using the liquid valve on the tank to fill small volume tanks and with the no transfer pump process one needs to open the bleeder valve and fill till liquid comes out and the bottle/tank is full.
Posts: 16999 | Location: DFW | Registered: December 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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^^^ absolutely. Smile

One thing you can do to make the transfer faster (without a pump), is too pre-cool your tank. Wink

Posts: 9164 | Registered: October 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My local Tractor Supply only charges me for the amount of propane they add to the tanks. I typically have one tank completely empty and another that I have “topped off” while I am there. They hand me a slip to take to the register that shows the separate amount for each tank.

"Animis Opibusque Parati"
Posts: 1241 | Location: SC | Registered: October 28, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Would you like
a sandwich?
Picture of Dreamerx4
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Originally posted by Excam_Man:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dreamerx4:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Excam_Man:

Thank you for the very detailed and explained response, I do appreciate it very much!

NRA Certified Instructor
NRA Endowment Member
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FFL Dealer
Posts: 942 | Location: Virginia | Registered: October 29, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici
Picture of ChuckFinley
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Ask the LAPD to fill it for you Wink

NRA Endowment Member
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C.S. Lewis
Posts: 5286 | Location: District 12 | Registered: June 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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