There are numerous reasons why someone would prefer to use propane as their primary fuel source when grilling or smoking. It is inexpensive, burns cleanly, and is simple to ignite, among other benefits.
One question you may have regarding propane is whether it has a long shelf life or if it goes bad.
In this post, we’ll address that question and discuss how to store propane and what to avoid when working with it.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Is Propane?
Propane, commonly known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), is an alternative fuel derived from refined petroleum and processed natural gas.
It is frequently used for industrial and agricultural reasons, as well as in homes and businesses for heating, cooking, and other uses.
It is also utilized as an internal combustion engine fuel in automobiles, buses, pumps, fleet vehicles, and other similar applications.
Steel vessels ranging from small barbeque gas bottles to big gas cylinders and storage tanks are routinely used to store them.
Propane is commonly found in natural gas and oil wells in conjunction with other hydrocarbons. It is extracted from heated crude oil using a distillation tower.
After that, it is compressed and safely stored in tanks and cylinders.
Like most other gases and fuels, propane is extremely flammable and should be handled with caution.
What Is the Reason for Propane’s Popularity?
Propane is one of the most popular alternative fuels in the United States and around the world for the following reasons:
- It is one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels available since it emits no greenhouse gases.
- It takes up less room than standard oil tanks.
- Because of its high BTU rating, it is highly efficient.
- It has the potential to be utilized in off-grid applications (camping, RV trips, etc.)
- It’s lightweight and portable, and it can be installed in practically any place.
- It can dramatically reduce your energy expenditure, particularly if employed as a heating system.
- It serves several purposes.
- It is relatively inexpensive.
- It is non-toxic and insoluble in water.
- It has a long shelf life because it does not spoil.
Another advantage of propane is that it can be stored at temperatures as high as 120°F and as low as -40°F, making it very convenient to store.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Propane
We’ll look at the benefits of using propane as a fuel:
- Propane is a cheap and easily accessible fuel. Even in times of disaster, such as ice storms, it may be provided.
- Propane has a substantially longer shelf life than gasoline. It’s because propane has an infinite shelf life. After all, it doesn’t deteriorate.
- It is one of the cleanest burning fuels since it emits fewer hazardous pollutants than diesel and gasoline.
- Propane is far less expensive and safer than the other two fuels. Using it in your home is so simple and inexpensive.
Propane has a few drawbacks when used as a fuel. However, these disadvantages can be fatal. Look at this:
- It is a very flammable material. If there are LPG leaks in or around your home, they can be fatal.
- Converting from the current fuel source to propane might be costly. For example, the LPG tank must be installed in the car trunk to convert a diesel/gasoline vehicle to an LPG vehicle.
It takes up a lot of space in your trunk and prevents you from keeping a spare wheel.
Propane is a fuel that emits very little greenhouse gas. Propane exhaust is colorless and practically odorless. It makes propane suitable for areas with poor air quality.
Does Propane Go Bad?
One of the best things about propane is that it never spoils or expires. Propane is a gas that may be compressed and kept as a liquid, giving it extraordinarily extended shelf life.
Because it is a safe gas to use in your house, it can be utilized for a variety of purposes such as grilling, smoking, and even powering home heating appliances, like a patio heater.
Propane is not like other types of fuel. Diesel and kerosene are fuel sources that must be utilized in a specific manner, or they may expire prematurely.
On the other hand, propane may be stored for extended periods. The most important thing is to ensure that your propane is stored properly and in the appropriate containers.
When inspecting the propane tank, you may see an expiration date on the tank or the gauge. You’re probably wondering why if propane doesn’t expire, it has an expiration date.
This data serves as a reminder to replace the tank, not the gas inside.
Why do propane tanks have an expiration date if propane fuel does not?
It is frequently the propane tank that causes misunderstanding and raises the question of whether propane expires. This is because many propane-storage vessels, such as propane tanks, will have what appears to be an expiry date printed on them.
So, why is there a date?
The solution is straightforward. An expiry date is not utilized for propane/LPG, as it is for other fuel sources such as diesel fuel.
Instead, this printed date is for the gas bottle or storage container in which the propane is stored or for the gauge on the tank.
These dates are required because, while propane/LPG does not expire, a propane tank or the tank’s valve will degrade with time. As a result, because propane has an enormously longer shelf life than other fuels, it may outlive its container.
The good news is that the correct containers will likely endure a long time. However, leaks might occur due to natural degradation of rubber seals or a malfunctioning safety relief valve.
As a result, it is strongly advised that you get any propane tanks inspected by a specialist semi-regularly. This will reassure you that they are still in good condition while also ensuring that they are appropriately preserved.
Where can I find the expiration date on a propane tank?
The date of manufacturing or requalification of a propane tank is stamped on its collar. It will be in the month-year format, such as 06-21 for June 2023.
Can My Tank Explode if left out in the sun?
One of the most common fears individuals have when purchasing a propane tank is the possibility of it exploding or imploding. The good news is that propane is incapable of doing either of these things.
It is a safe gas to work with. Thus it is a safe gas to utilize in your home. It takes a significant amount of work to blow up a propane tank.
The only time a propane tank can explode is if it suffers a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion. This occurs when the tank is subjected to severe heat for an extended period.
The liquid propane expands in the tank, causing the pressure to exceed the tank’s safety release valve, resulting in a rupture. You should be protected from any potential explosions unless you maintain your propane tank above an open and constant flame (which should never happen!).
The most important thing is to ensure that the temperatures outside the tank do not become so high that they cause the temperatures inside the tank to rise and therefore explode.
How Do I Store Propane Safely?
It’s always a good idea to keep the tank in a cool, dry location. Lower temperatures in a dry environment ensure that the tank’s temperatures remain low and free of rust.
It is dangerous to store propane tanks indoors, especially if the environment is hot. Furthermore, if the tank leaks indoors, it can be extremely dangerous.
When storing your tank outside, ensure that the space has a flat surface, is cool, and is upright. A slight elevation of the ground can also help to keep it dry and stable.
In any case, many grills have a rack or drawer to hold your gas tank – this is an ideal location to store your propane (be sure to check out our guide on how far to place your grill from your house).
Is it possible to store propane tanks outside during the winter?
The one element you don’t want your propane tank to be exposed to on a frequent basis is heated. This means that your propane tank kept outside will be unaffected by the chilly winter months.
What you need to be cautious of are damp or moist regions. These can cause corrosion to form on your tank.
Rust may be avoided by coating your tank with plastic. Otherwise, your gas will be perfectly safe.
How long will my propane tank last? Burn Rate
To determine how long your propane will burn, you must first determine how frequently you consume it and at what rate. To come up with a working formula, you must examine a few elements.
The size of your gas grill or propane smoker, as well as the length of time you want to use it, come to mind. Because smoking takes longer than grilling, you will undoubtedly use more gas.
A 20-pound propane tank should last up to 18 or 20 hours when grilling on a medium-sized grill. The greater the size of the grill, the more propane it will consume.
A large barbecue can consume 20 pounds of propane in about 10 hours. On a medium-sized grill, you should only need around 2 pounds of gas to cook an average-sized family supper.
You can also keep track of your propane levels if you know how to calculate your burn rate. This can be accomplished by calculating your burn rate.
An expert will perform this better because it is a little more involved. Weigh the tank if you wish to give it a shot.
Looking at the tank, you will probably find that this is written on it. Subtract this weight from the overall tank weight and divide the result by the value of one gallon, which is 4.24 pounds.
Divide the total gallons your tank holds by the hourly burn rate to find out how many hours of gas you have left.
How to Calculate a Propane Tank’s Burn Rate
You can also try to determine the burn rate of a propane tank to understand better how long it will last. This can be done by a professional, who will most likely receive a more accurate answer due to the complexity of the process.
However, you can accomplish this at home on your own. Use the following methods to have a decent idea of how to determine the burn rate of a propane tank:
- Determine how much the tank itself weighs. This should be located somewhere on the tank. The weight of the tank is sometimes referred to as the “tare weight.”
- Subtraction of the tare weight from the total weight of the tank and propane. This will tell you how much propane you have.
- 4.24 times the total weight of propane This is done to grasp the weight in gallons, which substantially simplifies things. For reference, one gallon of propane equals 4.24 pounds of propane.
- Examine the burn rate of the appliance for which you will use propane. This should be written somewhere on the appliance or any instructions that came with it.
- Divide the total gallons of propane by the appliance’s burn rate. This will tell you how long it will take for that device to consume all of the propane in the tank.
Many people prefer to buy propane grills since it does not expire and are easy to store. They require less upkeep and maintenance than charcoal grills or other grill types.
If you’re looking for a new gas grill, we offer a plethora of materials to assist you!
Hopefully, all of your propane gas inquiries, including “does propane go bad?” have been answered. As you can see, there are numerous advantages to using propane gas rather than other types of grills for an individual or family of any size.
It does not expire, but you must remember to change the tank when your levels go below a certain level. You should also keep the tank free from dampness and outside.