Propane gas tanks have many different uses. They are used in grilling, outdoor fire pits, and camping stoves. Since propane is flammable, you should never throw an empty can in the household garbage.
The cans are made of recyclable copper and steel. But they cannot be placed with other recyclable items due to explosion risk.
You need to dispose of the tanks properly if rusted, expired, or no longer usable.
How to Dispose of Propane Tanks
Read the proper method of disposing of empty propane tanks here in this blog post.
1. Know the Hazardous Waste Disposal Laws in Your Area
Before you take any steps in disposing of propane tanks, you should read the applicable laws. You should find out about regulations for disposing of hazardous items.
Every county has different rules regarding propane tank disposal. You should find out the laws to ensure proper disposal of the tanks that don’t violate local regulations.
2. Contact Hazardous Waste Disposal Company
You should call your local hazardous waste disposal company. Find out if they accept hazardous items such as propane gas. Many firms collect hazardous items for a fee.
Check if the hazardous waste collection service is available in your area. Consider asking for instructions on how to store the propane gas tanks for pick up.
Some companies accept propane gas tanks but do not offer waste collection services. In this case, you should ask for directions to properly store and transport the flammable propane gas.
3. Refill Your Propane Tank
Consider refilling an empty propane tank if it’s refillable. You can get the tank refilled at your local propel tank refilling facility for about $4 a gallon. Popular tank refill companies include U-haul and AmeriGas.
Check the label of the tank to find out if it can be refilled. In case there is no label on the tank, you should bring the can to the refilling station and ask whether the tank is refillable. Chances are your tank can be refilled.
4. Contact the Propane Tank Manufacturer
You should contact the manufacturer of the propane tank company for removing large propane tanks. A few propane tank retailers offer exchange programs.
You can bring an empty tank to the retailer and get it replaced. You may have to pay around $20 or more to get the tank replaced. This is a bargain compared to buying a new propane tank.
Most companies that offer the propane tank exchange program also offer the pickup facility. Blue Rhino or AmeriGas are two such companies that offer an exchange policy on propane tanks. They will pick up the propane tank and give you a replacement on making the payment.
5. Take the Propane Tank to a Designated Municipality Collection Site
Certain municipalities have designated spots for the collection of hazardous items. Ask whether your municipality has a designated collection site for propane tanks.
Remember that some municipalities have set a weight limit propane tanks. Most will accept propane tanks that are less than 5 pounds. You should find out about the weight limit for the propane tank.
6. Disposing Stationary Propane Tanks
Disposal of large propane tanks installed above or below ground poses a challenge. The large size of the tank creates difficulties in the disposal of the tank. Selling the tanks to metal scrap yards is not an option since they don’t generally accept large tanks.
Contact a licensed supplier of propane tanks for assistance in removing the above-ground tank. The companies have special tools and equipment that they use to properly dispose of the tanks.
For underground tanks, removing the tanks can be a costly and labor-intensive task. A more cost-effective option is to depressurize the tank and fill with water or sand.
Safety Tips for Storing Propane Tanks
Propane tanks that are to be disposed of should be stored safely. Here are some tips for safe storage of empty or damaged propane tanks that are designated for disposal.
Avoid Placing Near Combustible Materials
Avoid placing the tank near combustible materials such as fuel gas cylinders. Consider placing the tank in a well-ventilated place during transport. The tanks should not be placed near electrical or heat source.
The gas tank should be placed about 10 feet away from flammable materials.
Never Leave the Tank Inside a Shed
Never leave your propane tank inside a shed due to a fire hazard.
Place proper warning signs when storing the tank for transport. The area marked for storage of the tank should be flat. This is important to avoid the tank tipping over and rolling away.
Place the Tanks in a Shaded Area
Remember that the propane tank should be kept at a proper temperature.
Very high temperature increases the risk of an explosion. Empty tanks have some gas left in the tank. Temperatures above 113 °F can increase the pressure inside the cylinder. This increases the risk of an explosion resulting in significant damages.
Avoid placing the tank in direct sunlight to minimize the fire risk of an explosion. The tanks should be placed in a shaded area. Consider storing the tank on an outdoor shelve that is secured to a wall.
Keep Propane Tanks Away from Vents
You should always keep the tank away from windows or vents. In case of a leak, propane gas can enter the house and lead to a dangerous situation. Never place the propane tank near vent grates.
Propane gas is denser than air. The leaked gas will sink to the ground and enter the vents.
You should also not keep your propane gas near the air conditioner or radiator. These appliances can pull a gas inside your home creating a dangerous situation.
Never Keep the Tank in an Enclosed Space
Never place the propane tanks in a garage or any enclosed place.
The gas could leak creating a dangerous environment if kept in an enclosed place. You should also avoid placing the gas tanks near each other. This is important as if one tank explodes, it can ignite the nearby tanks leading to a grand explosion.
Safety Precautions When Moving the Propane Tank
Most dangerous incidents occur when transporting the propane tank to the disposal site. Propane tanks should be handled with extreme care when transporting. Improper handling of the tank during transport can lead to an explosion.
Consider following these safety procedures when transferring the propane tank. You should follow these safety measures to minimize risks when moving the tank to the disposal site.
Avoid Rolling or Dragging the Propane Tanks
You should avoid rolling or dragging the propane tanks.
This is important to prevent a gas leak that can be dangerous. Consider using a cart to move empty tanks to the vehicle. You can use a crane, nets, or cradles to transport large propane tanks.
Use Proper Techniques to Handle the Tanks
Consider wearing heavy-duty gloves when handling the tank. Also, you should avoid picking up the tank using slings or magnets.
You should place barriers around the tank using bricks or blocks.
This will ensure that you don’t accidentally damage the valves when handling the propane tanks. But make sure to leave the handles and valves exposed.
Keep the Propane Tanks Upright
Secure the propane tanks by keeping them upright. If the propane tanks are not secured, they can drop and hit someone. Moreover, keeping the tanks upright will avoid damage to the valve.
To keep the tank upright, consider using a strap or a chain in a cylinder cart. Moreover, you can use a milk crate to keep the propane gas tank at an upright position. A standard milk crate can be used to secure a 20 pounds propane tank.
You can also use special platforms for holding propane tanks that cannot be secured using a milk crate.
Install Protective Guards or Caps
Make sure that the guards or caps are installed on the tank. The valves should be closed completely when moving to a disposal site. Also, never lift a gas tank by the guards or the caps to avoid damage to the valves.
This is important to avoid a gas leak that can lead to a deadly explosion. Even a slight spark when starting the vehicle could ignite a leak resulting in an explosion.
Some Final Words
Empty propane tanks should be disposed of properly. When it comes to the safe disposal of a propane tank, you should err on the side of caution. Proper disposal of propane tanks is important to avoid an explosion.
Make sure that the tanks are kept away from heat sources. The empty tanks should be kept in a ventilated area for transport to a disposal facility. The propane tanks should also never be disposed of in a trash can.
Moreover, you should also not try to open or recycle the propane tank on your own.
Evacuate the area immediately if you smell gas coming from a damaged or dented propane tank. Call your local municipality office to inform you about the propane gas leaks. Let the professionals handle the task of removing the propane tank to avoid any risk.
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