With New Safety Rules, Just Buy A New Propane Tank

Starting April 1, new safety standards require that propane tanks be fitted with overfill protection devices. This means that you need to buy a new propane tank or have an overfill device installed on an existing tank.

Bob Schantz at the Spanish Lake Blacksmith Shop in Foristell, Mo., feels many farriers may wish to buy a new tank. “In our area, a new 20-pound propane tank will cost about $40 while it will cost $30 to have an overfill valve installed on an older tank,” he says. “But there’s more to the story, since you’ll have to pay to have an older tank regularly inspected 12 years from its date of manufacture.”

Propane tanks manufactured after September of 1998 are already equipped with overfill protection devices. These valves can be identified by the triangular shape of the valve hand wheel. In addition, “OPD” is forged on the brass hand wheel and the side of the valve.

Tanks with round or star-shaped hand wheels generally don’t contain overfill protection devices. Staffers at the Massachusetts-based National Fire Protection Association say these tanks should be considered obsolete and not be refilled by propane suppliers. The group helped change the safety code in nearly every state to get older propane tanks out of service. Horizontal propane cylinders are exempt from the new safety standards. 

When a tank with an overfill protection device is filled, the device shuts off the propane flow when the tank is 80 percent full. That gives the liquid propane plenty…

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