Propane tank storage shouldn’t be taken for granted because, as efficient as the fuel is, the tank can cause a lot of trouble if carelessly handled. So it makes absolute sense to ask questions regarding propane tank storage. One of the most important ones is whether to store your tank full or empty.
You can store a propane tank full or empty. What’s more important is that you store it properly. You can do this by placing it in a ventilated area away from direct sunlight, and not on its side but upright. You should also shut off the valve and place the tank on level, dry ground.
As long as you follow the correct storage tips, it doesn’t matter if your tank is full or empty. It’s also important to know how long you can store a propane tank before it becomes a safety hazard. Let’s take a look at this information in detail.
Should Propane Tanks Be Stored Full or Empty?
It doesn’t matter if the tank is full or empty; what’s more important is following the right steps to store it. An improperly stored propane tank is a safety hazard, whether full or empty, so that’s why you have to pay attention to its storage.
How to Store Propane Tanks Safely
Proper storage of your propane tank isn’t rocket science. As long as you follow these simple steps, storing your propane tank shouldn’t be an issue.
Store Your Tank in a Ventilated Area
Always ensure that you store your tank is kept in a well-ventilated area away from any living space. Propane tanks have been programmed to release gas when the pressure in the tank gets too high.
This means that propane will be released into the air, which might become a fire hazard if the tank is close to any flammable item. And in the case that there’s a leak, you wouldn’t want the tank to be to close to where people are living.
Place the Tank Upright
Propane tanks have a relief valve that allows the tank to release pressure when necessary, but this is only possible if the valve reads the pressure in the tank correctly. A correct reading, in turn, happens only if the tank is stored upright and not placed sideways on the ground.
If you place your tank on its side, the valve will not read the pressure correctly and activate when it should. This could result in damage to the valve, and you might need to replace it or get a new tank altogether.
If you lay your propane tank on its side and there’s a pressure release, what will come out will be liquid and not gas. That means the tank will be releasing more propane into the atmosphere, which could be dangerous. Always make sure the tank remains vertical to avoid these issues.
There’s one exception to this rule: if you have multiple propane tanks, a storage solution like this vertical propane tank storage rack (on Amazon) may make sense to you. In this case, the tanks can be horizontal. The reason vertical storage is preferred is because the tank won’t roll away if it’s upright! With a rack that will keep them from rolling away, it’s ok to have them on their side.
Keep the Tank Away From Direct Sunlight
Although it’s better to keep your propane tank outdoors, you should also avoid placing it in direct sunlight. The sun can heat the tank and increase the pressure inside.
You know what happens when the pressure increases — the relief valve gets activated, and propane is released into the atmosphere. This could lead to a fire. The best place to store your tank is in the shade.
Shut Off the Valve
Ensure you turn off the valve before disconnecting any attachments or hoses. If you don’t do this, there might be a propane leak, and this is another situation you should try to avoid.
Store Your Tank on a Dry Surface
Avoid storing your propane tank on wet surfaces. Propane tanks are prone to rust once they contact water or wet substances, making them unfit for use. This is why it’s better to store them in places without moisture.
How Long Can You Store a Propane Tank?
One thing that makes propane one of the best burning fuels around is its life span. Unlike diesel and gasoline, propane doesn’t go bad with time — its shelf life is unlimited. However, what determines how long you can store your propane is the tank itself.
If stored in optimal condition, a propane tank can last as long as 20 years or more. Still, you have to re-inspect the tank every ten years to ensure that it’s still safe for use.