Do you enjoy spending a summer’s afternoon on your deck grilling and cooking for a few friends? Or how about sitting around a nice propane fire pit? I find it very relaxing to do. The only thing that is a hassle is when I run out of propane and need to refill my tank. Lets look at how you can go about refilling that tank for your next barbecue.
Years ago in my area, you would have to travel a bit to go find a propane dealer to fill up your tank. Now there are several companies that have propane tank exchanges that makes refilling and exchanging so much easier today.
Blue Rhino Propane and AmeriGas are 2 of the largest propane tank exchange companies in the United States.
Blue Rhino (which is owned by Ferrellgas LLP) can be found at Lowe’s, and at convenience stores and gas stations and thousands of other locations nationwide. Wal-Mart also has a propane tank exchange with Blue Rhino. You can either purchase a tank from Blue Rhino, or exchange a tank you already own. Before you exchange your existing tank, it will need to be checked out to see it is acceptable for exchange. They do not want to take an old rusted out unsafe tank.
Exchanging the tank is very easy to do. Just go to the exchange location, find a clerk and you can be walking out with a new full tank in just a few minutes. Just one bit of advice, don’t go when you are in a rush to exchange the tank. Sometimes it takes awhile for a clerk to come around to take your tank and to unlock the storage and give you a new one. So you might want to only exchange when the store isn’t busy.
AmeriGas tank exchange works the same way. They are located at Home Depots and other locations throughout the United States. AmeriGas also offers a self-serve exchange. You go to their exchange kiosk, and pay with a credit card. After the transaction is approved, it will tell you which numbered locker to exchange your tank with. Go over to it, open it up, take out the full tank and place your empty one in there. Nice and easy right?
Exchanging a propane tank versus refilling the tank
If there is a refill station near you, it might be more convenient and perhaps cheaper to have your tank refilled instead of exchanged. Here is something you need to know. When you go to exchange a propane tank, just don’t compare prices. You are exchanging a 20-pound capacity propane tank, but as of this writing, Blue Rhino and AmeriGas only fill it to 15 pounds. So if you call a propane dealer and ask their price for a refill, it may sound more expensive, but the dealer will fill it to about 18 pounds. When you go to the Blue Rhino or AmeriGas station, you will see that they do state their tanks are filled to 15 pounds. As always, you should compare propane prices.
Transporting Your Propane Tank
Transporting your full propane tank is safe to do if you follow some basic common sense.
This is stating the obvious. Propane is a flammable fuel and you must use care in transporting it. If you are carrying it in the back of a pickup truck, you must secure the propane tank so it doesn’t roll around. The same holds true if you put the tank in the trunk of your car or in the passenger compartment. If you propane tank is not secured it can cause damage to your car and even possibly explode.
Some people will use a cardboard box or a milk crate to help secure the tank and to keep it in it’s upright position. Do not leave a propane tank in your car for any length of time. If you go out shopping, refilling or exchanging the tank should be the last stop on your trip. After receiving a filled tank, you should bring it home and store it properly.
Propane Tank Exchange Locations
Find Blue Rhino propane tank exchange locations here.
Find AmeriGas propane tank exchange locations here.