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Old 05-19-2011, 09:38 PM   #1
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30# Alum. tank woes!

Today I took an empty 30# alum. propane tank to our local (Canadian)
Costco store for a refill.First time I had done that, although we get our 20# BBQ bottles filled there all the time.

Well, I lined up 20 minutes to pay for the 30# refill inside the store then went out and drove to their propane station.

As soon as the operator saw me getting the tank out of the truck, he shouted over to me that he couldn't fill it!

I asked him why ever not as I had paid for a 30# refill, my bottle was only
6 years old and had all the required standard fittings and safety devices.

He couldn't tell me but said it was just against Costco policy to fill anything other than standard 20 and 30# steel BBQ bottles! He suggested I speak with the manager back inside the store where I had paid!

Well, I did. The manager could not offer any further explanation - nor could he even give me my money back but sent me on to the "refunds" counter to wait in yet another line!

They also called another manager who had no info either other than "Costco policy!"

I still like Costc, but was more than a little p*ssed with this fiasco!

We haven't had the trailer that long and filled a bottle maybe three times, always in the US (although never tried a US Costco). We never had the slightest issue in having the bottles filled.

When I (finally!) left our local Costco, I drove to another location,
(Canadian Tire for any Canadian readers!) and they filled our aluminum bottle without hestitastion.

Although evern there, they checked the bottle, noted its date of manufacture,
(being 2004) and said it was good until 2014.

I had thought aluminum bottles were good indefinitely - maybe not?

So ........

Anyone else have problems filling their aluminum bottles - US? Canada?

What about allowable bottle life - US? Canada? Can Aluminum bottles be hydrostatically tested to extend their life?

Anyone know where I would find regs (esp Can.) that would give the specifics for aluminum bottles so I can be better informed?





Frustrated - but at least with two full bottles and ready for a weekend RV trip if the rain holds off, or even if it doesn't!

Brian.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:46 PM   #2
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I have a propane dealer close to my house that I have been using for 5 years with no problem. They check the date, check for leaks and fill the tank. I always get comments about how great the tanks look.

They do have a requirement to put a warning sticker on the tank when they refill it which has become a friendly game with us. They know that I will be taking it off as soon as I get home so now they only peel a very small amount of backing from the decal when they put it on. It makes it much easier to remove.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:46 PM   #3
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AL tanks weigh less than the same size ones in steel, so they have to do a bit of re-calculation to fill it correctly.

Your tank needs to be re-certified every ten years. This usually means a new valve for the AL ones, and then they stamp a new date in the side of the tank with dies.

You just need to go for a fill to where the folks weren't selling lamps or fabric the day before.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
AL tanks weigh less than the same size ones in steel, so they have to do a bit of re-calculation to fill it correctly.

Your tank needs to be re-certified every ten years. This usually means a new valve for the AL ones, and then they stamp a new date in the side of the tank with dies.

You just need to go for a fill to where the folks weren't selling lamps or fabric the day before.
Thanks for the info! Obviously I guess I'll be going to a propane supplier or maybe an RV place in future for refills or at least CTC!

Not that mine are close yet, but I had the idea that alum. bottles didn't need anything at ten years - seems not! I guess I'll have to find someone quaified close by if I still have the trailer at that time!

Tnanks again ........ Brian.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
I have a propane dealer close to my house that I have been using for 5 years with no problem. They check the date, check for leaks and fill the tank. I always get comments about how great the tanks look.

They do have a requirement to put a warning sticker on the tank when they refill it which has become a friendly game with us. They know that I will be taking it off as soon as I get home so now they only peel a very small amount of backing from the decal when they put it on. It makes it much easier to remove.
Interesting! What does the warning sticker warn about?!


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Old 05-19-2011, 10:35 PM   #6
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It is something like this and also includes the dealers name and address.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:38 PM   #7
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Exclamation <------------------ lotsa them there li'l symbols

"Don't stub out your cigarette on the metal container." is one.

"Don't store within 2' of a bonfire." might be there as well.

It's all just part of our "dumbing down".

ps: I forgot to mention, the AL tanks have the "tare weight" (unladen weight) stamped on them somewhere, so if the LP fill station has the chart they are supposed to have, they will know how much more gas by weight they are supposed to add to the tank.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:40 PM   #8
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Had a bottle filled this morning. The girl carried a sticker out to the filling station, but never put it on my tanks. Wouldn't have mattered either way to me since the bottles are covered and out of sight.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:53 PM   #9
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Brian I know it's not close but Caledon Propane based out of Bolton will recertify your tanks. I had all four of my 40lbs steel tanks done there. They sandblast them, repaint them, install new valves and test them. IIRC it was $30 each. In your case no sandblasting or painting so it might be cheaper.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
... Although evern there, they checked the bottle, noted its date of manufacture, (being 2004) and said it was good until 2014.

I had thought aluminum bottles were good indefinitely - maybe not?
It's just the recertification requirement, not a "good" requirement. For safety, Canada and most US states stand by a requirement that cylinders be reinspected every so often. This filters out cylinders that have been abused, etc. (Of course, fillers are supposed to examine cylinders at every refill, but that's another story ...)


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Old 05-20-2011, 12:08 AM   #11
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Some Costcos sell propane? Something fun to look forward to, finding someone who'll fill the tall aluminum bottles.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:03 AM   #12
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I am embarassed to admit it, but i didn't look that closely at the bottles in our new 2011. BUT if memory does serve me, I seem to recall them being painted and steel. I sure didn't notice anything different about them, but I was looking at the valve,not the tank, and it's all enclosed in that rattling box, anyhow.

Did AS stop supplying aluminum tanks? Or are they an option?
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:46 AM   #13
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Brian I know it's not close but Caledon Propane based out of Bolton will recertify your tanks. I had all four of my 40lbs steel tanks done there. They sandblast them, repaint them, install new valves and test them. IIRC it was $30 each. In your case no sandblasting or painting so it might be cheaper.
Thanks Chris, I'll keep that in mind - I suppose though that living close to Toronto there may well be many local propane places around here that are authorized to do the recertification - presume they must re-stamp the bottle once done.


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Old 05-26-2011, 12:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Brian I know it's not close but Caledon Propane based out of Bolton will recertify your tanks. I had all four of my 40lbs steel tanks done there. They sandblast them, repaint them, install new valves and test them. IIRC it was $30 each. In your case no sandblasting or painting so it might be cheaper.
Chris,

An interesting thing I just learned from Canadian Fed. Govt. Assuming the info is correct).

My gas cylinders have a DOT desgination. I am told that an aluminium 30# cylinder with a DOT designation made AFTER (not before!) 1993, is not legal to refill in Canada!

Supposedly it must be stamped with a TC (Transport Canada) designation.

Apparently there is some provision for the cylinder to have both a DOT and a certain TC number stamped on it and in that case you could fill in either country.

I'm not sure if my cylinders have both and will check next time I visit the trailer.

If not, it still isn;t a big deal for us as most of our traveling is winter snowbird trips.

You'd really think things would be better coordinated between our two countries.

I wonder if a Cylinder only has a TC stamp that technically it cannot be refilled in the US!!

My suspicion is that many places (in either country) only look to check the date stamp anyway!

The info that they sent me was a pdf file from the Canadian Propane association.


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