Can Propane Go “Bad”?

What to Know about Propane Storage

propane expiration Orange county, ny If you’ve ever left a car with a tank full of gas for an extended period of time, you may have discovered that after about six months the chemical properties of the fuel change and it won’t burn properly. Diesel lasts a little longer, but not more than a year. And ethanol and bio-based fuels begin to degrade and evaporate after only a few months. Heating oil will last about 18 months—so a fill-up in the spring will not only protect your tank from corrosion, but will be good to burn when that first frost happens in the fall.

Propane, on the other hand, will never spoil or “go bad.” That’s one reason propane is a smart choice—not only for appliances and equipment you use all the time, like ranges and water heaters, but also for those you use sporadically, like space heaters and fireplaces. It’s also what makes propane particularly smart for whole-house generators. Hopefully, you don’t need to use it often, but you don’t want to worry about the fuel not working in an emergency.

Propane Storage

While propane can’t expire, storage tank maintenance is important. That goes for large storage tanks as well as for the portable tanks you use with grills and RVs. Tanks need to be inspected and recertified every 10 years or so, depending on the size and type of tank. Inspections ensure that valves are working correctly and there’s no corrosion that can lead to leaks.

If you lease your tank from us, you can rest easy knowing that we’ll make sure your tank is in good shape, backed up by visual checks every time we deliver.

Low Temps Lead to Low Pressure

People often ask us if they need to worry about their propane freezing, particularly in an above-ground tank. Hudson Valley winters are cold and damp, with average lows around 24 degrees in January. Fortunately, the freezing point of propane is -44 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t need to worry about your propane freezing.

However, propane can still be affected by very cold temperatures. Propane contracts when it’s cold. That means the volume of propane inside your aboveground propane tank will shrink, resulting in a loss of pressure. The problem is, if the pressure becomes too low, the propane inside your tank will not be able to reach your gas burner. That means you may not be able to run your propane appliances, including your furnace or boiler, which can be very problematic in the winter.

3 Ways to Avoid Low-Pressure Problems

  1. Keeping your propane tank at least 30% full will help maintain positive pressure. If very cold weather is in the forecast, check your propane tank gauge and call us to schedule a delivery. (If you’re signed up for automatic delivery, we’ll take the weather into account and there’s no need to call.)
  2. Don’t let snow build up on your propane tank. Clear it so sunlight can reach your tank and keep it warmer.
  3. If you use propane to heat your home, turn down your thermostat so your heating system doesn’t run as often, giving the pressure inside your propane tank a chance to rebuild.

Have more questions about versatile propane or propane safety or to set up automatic deliveries? Contact Depew today.