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  • Recertify That Propane Tank, or Buy New?

    Posted on March 27th, 2018 admin No comments

    I’ve got a couple of old propane tanks, so the question came up:  should I have them recertified, or should I just buy new ones?  One is a 30 lb RV tank and the other is a 20 lb BBQ type tank (though it came from a truck camper).

    A couple of years ago I was able to exchange a recently out-dated 30 lb tank for a recertified tank, full of propane, for $10, but that was a special deal, propane guy said customer hadn’t come back to pick it up and he wanted it out of the way.  Maybe a little shady, but I was happy enough.  Can’t expect a deal like that every time, though.


    A lot of outdoor/RF forums seem to thank that recertification is not worthwhile.    For example, this post by Clgy_Dave2.0, dated 06-17-12 on Alberta Outdoor Forum:

    It costs just as much to get them recertified as a new tank.
    Just buy new ones. Costco is the cheapest place by far. I bought two new 30lb’ers for $80. RV place wanted $89 EACH!!!!

    Wow, gotta love those 2012 prices!

    The consensus of such arguments seems to be

    • It’s inconvenient to recertify as you have to go to a place that will do it
    • The cost of recertification almost balances the cost of a new tank
    • If you recertify, you STILL have an old tank; why not go with new for peace of mind
    • New tanks can be had at almost any service station
    • Many places, such as Costco, sell new tanks quite cheaply


    Exactly how rigorous is the requalification procedure?  Posted by RIF, Oct 6 2015, on RV Network:

    I’ve had two cylinders re-certified, both times at propane dealers. Simple process. They just looked them over and tested for leaks, then slapped a new sticker on them. I think one place was $5 and the other $7.50 or so. Not a big deal and certainly cheaper than buying new cylinders.

    Many posters report having got a “new” or exchange tank at a service station, only to discover that their “new” tank has only a year or two left on its service date, or has even already expired!   It seems that some companies do not recertify the tanks; they simply clean them up, repaint them, and put them back into service.   If you exchange or buy a “new” tank from one of these bays, you are advised to check the date of manufacture before you accept the tank.


    A lot of people rely on assumptions or outdated information in making decisions of this type.  Is it, in fact, in 2018, cheaper to buy new than to recertify?   Here are the prices, as of the date of this post:

    Costs to recertify at TempHeat, Edmonton:20 lb tank

    • 20# recertification – $25.50
    • 30# recertification – $41.50
    • Cost to refill – $0.80/lb (to 80% capacity, $12.80 and $19.20 respectively)
    • So a 20# tank, recertified and filled, would cost about $38

    Cost of brand new tank, Costco online:

    • 20#  – $59.99
    • 30# – $79.99
    • Cost to refill – varies; at one time they had a flat rate offer of $9.99 for a 20# tank
    • So a 20# tank, filled, would be about $70

    Cost of “new” refilled, exchange tank at Alberta Co-op, Leduc

    • 20# – $65

    Cost of new empty tank at Co-op

    • 20# – $49.99
    • A 20# tank contains about 18 L and a 30# tank about 26 L
    • Cost to refill – $0.899/L  (to 80%,  $12.95; 30# $18.70)
    • So a 20# tank, filled, is about $63, not much different from the exchange cost.

    Why do I mention 80% capacity?   There is some headroom left in the tank to allow for expansion.  A good explanation is given here.


    Clearly, it is far cheaper to have a 20 lb tank recertified and filled at the place that does the recertification.  In fact, it is about half the cost of buying a new tank at Costco and having it refilled there, even if you can still get the $9.99 flat rate deal (which has apparently expired)

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