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Propane tank purchase+exchange

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May 6, 2005
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Propane tank purchase+exchange

Just got my first BBQ and wanted to confirm how propane tanks work ;)

I know you buy them then exchange them after at a lower price, but is each store/gas station/etc on their own "program" or can you basically buy/exchange anywhere mixing along the way?

I assume all propane is equal no reason to pick one tank over another?
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Jul 7, 2017
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Tank exchanges are an expensive way to get propane. You have to pay sales tax on them. Some reasons to do a tank exchange is 1) you live a long way away from a propane refilling station, 2) your tank's date stamp is expired so the cheapest way is to exchange to get an in-date tank (what most RFDers do), or 3) your time is worth more than waiting to get a tank exchanged.

In regard to 1), there are more than one tank filling stations near where I am including a Costco which is generally said to be the cheapest (around $10-12 for a 20 lb tank vs $23 and up + taxes for an exchange). By your stated location, there is or was a Mohawk near the south end of Victoria Drive, east side of the road (IIRC), that refilled propane. Don't remember where the others were/are.

In regard to 2), the smaller exchangers may check your tank to determine if it is in date. That's why those exchanging expired tanks go to a larger retailer such as Walmart or RCSS where the employees don't care. There have been reports of automated exchange places but I haven't seen one.

If you do buy a tank and exchange it, you may be getting one with shorter life.
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Dec 18, 2017
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Buy 2 tanks from a retailer (preferably Costco), and get them filled so you have a backup when the first one goes empty. This usually happens when you have a lot of people over for fathers day or something lol. If you have a Costco, you can buy a refill for future use when you happen to be in shopping sometime, you don't have to only go in to buy the refill at the time you want it filled. That way you can just pull up, ring the bell and get the tank filled. I also use Canadian Tire gas bars that have propane if I haven't pre-bought at Costco. Be aware of the refilling hours that those places have. Some of them, even though they have the refilling station, might only have tank exchanges at certain hours because of no licensed staff present to fill the tank.
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Feb 7, 2017
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We gave up on tank exchange fills ... like they have at Cdn Tire
(Leave your empty ... take away one of the filled ones)

We now are strictly doing refills @ Costco, with our own tanks

Went from spending $ 20 to $ 30 for a 20 Lb tank fill to between $ 9 and $ 12

Costco definitely is the cheapest place to buy Propane

Agree with @djeffery it pays to have a back up tank ... or two

Our backyard runs a lot of stuff on propane ... so we have 4 tanks installed with their respective appliances ... and 2 filled spares ready to swap out whenever needed.
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Jun 12, 2007
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Kaitlyn wrote: Just got my first BBQ and wanted to confirm how propane tanks work ;)

I know you buy them then exchange them after at a lower price, but is each store/gas station/etc on their own "program" or can you basically buy/exchange anywhere mixing along the way?

I assume all propane is equal no reason to pick one tank over another?
Buy a tank from Costco. The Costco tanks have built-in level gauges. When the level gets low, go back to Costco for a refill. They only charge for the true amount of propane filled, not a whole tank.

Other places charge for a full refill, even if the tank is 1/2 full. Costco would only charge for 1/2 a tank
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Jul 22, 2009
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l69norm wrote: Buy a tank from Costco. The Costco tanks have built-in level gauges. When the level gets low, go back to Costco for a refill. They only charge for the true amount of propane filled, not a whole tank.

Other places charge for a full refill, even if the tank is 1/2 full. Costco would only charge for 1/2 a tank
How does this happen when you prepay for a full tank
before filling
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kopokipi wrote: How does this happen when you prepay for a full tank
before filling
It's empty the first time you fill it so a 100% full fill is about $11. The next time you want to fill, say it's still at 20% full.

You take the tank to the refill kiosk. They refill it back to full 100% and keep the tank at the kiosk. The kiosk gives you a ticket with the amount of propane filled (in this case 80%)

You go to the cash inside the store and pay the amount of propane on the ticket (so 80% fill = $8.80)

You take the receipt and ticket back to the kiosk and reclaim your tank

Likewise , if the tank was still 50% full when I get Costco to refill it, I would pay 50% or $5.50

Other places like CT charge full fill regardless of how much gas is left in the tank . Not only that, but a full fill is like $19.99 vs $11 at Costco
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Jul 22, 2009
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l69norm wrote: It's empty the first time you fill it so a 100% full fill is about $11. The next time you want to fill, say it's still at 20% full.

You take the tank to the refill kiosk. They refill it back to full 100% and keep the tank at the kiosk. The kiosk gives you a ticket with the amount of propane filled (in this case 80%)

You go to the cash inside the store and pay the amount of propane on the ticket (so 80% fill = $8.80)

You take the receipt and ticket back to the kiosk and reclaim your tank

Likewise , if the tank was still 50% full when I get Costco to refill it, I would pay 50% or $5.50

Other places like CT charge full fill regardless of how much gas is left in the tank . Not only that, but a full fill is like $19.99 vs $11 at Costco
I always had to prepay before filling my tank in Brampton
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Dec 18, 2017
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kopokipi wrote: I always had to prepay before filling my tank in Brampton
Same in London. No paid receipt when the guy comes out, they send you inside to pay before filling.
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Jul 22, 2009
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djeffery wrote: Same in London. No paid receipt when the guy comes out, they send you inside to pay before filling.
Exactly
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Nov 16, 2008
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l69norm wrote: It's empty the first time you fill it so a 100% full fill is about $11. The next time you want to fill, say it's still at 20% full.

You take the tank to the refill kiosk. They refill it back to full 100% and keep the tank at the kiosk. The kiosk gives you a ticket with the amount of propane filled (in this case 80%)

You go to the cash inside the store and pay the amount of propane on the ticket (so 80% fill = $8.80)

You take the receipt and ticket back to the kiosk and reclaim your tank

Likewise , if the tank was still 50% full when I get Costco to refill it, I would pay 50% or $5.50

Other places like CT charge full fill regardless of how much gas is left in the tank . Not only that, but a full fill is like $19.99 vs $11 at Costco
never once at our Costco have we had to get a ticket, then pay. They list standard refill charges in the stores..which store does that?
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OP is in the Vancouver area. None of the nearby Costcos (Vancouver, Burnaby west and Richmond have gas stations AFAIR so Costco LPG fill up is not an option.
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Jan 25, 2007
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Costco does piss me off when refilling. They fill to 16 pounds for what we call a 20 pound tank. The actual capacity of a 20 pound tank is 20 pounds, as they hold between 24 and 25 pounds so an 80% fill (For potential expansion) still gives you 20 pounds of fuel.

Lots of web info about it.
https://www.orangecoat.com/the-truth-ab ... pane-tanks

Picking up an actually full propane tank you can feel the difference.
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Mar 4, 2007
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Kaitlyn wrote: Just got my first BBQ and wanted to confirm how propane tanks work ;)

I know you buy them then exchange them after at a lower price, but is each store/gas station/etc on their own "program" or can you basically buy/exchange anywhere mixing along the way?

I assume all propane is equal no reason to pick one tank over another?
Hi,

To buy or exchange? It depends on how much bbqing you will be doing. All propane tanks have a 10 year expiry, the date is stamped on the handle. If a tank of propane will last you a whole summer or a whole year, you're better off to exchange the tank. If you bbq a lot & a tank of propane will only last you 1 to 3 months, you're better off to buy your own tanks. People that bbq a lot will have 2 tanks...never have to worry about running out of gas in the middle of a cooking session, you can use up every bit of gas in the tank & can get the empty tank refilled at your convenience. Enjoy your new bbq.
https://propane.ca/fuel-station-locator ... uver,%20bc
https://www.uhaul.com/Locations/Propane ... C8/845055/
http://www.pnepropane.com/en/exchange_program
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Dec 18, 2017
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Fraser River Rat wrote: Hi,

To buy or exchange? It depends on how much bbqing you will be doing. All propane tanks have a 10 year expiry, the date is stamped on the handle. If a tank of propane will last you a whole summer or a whole year, you're better off to exchange the tank. If you bbq a lot & a tank of propane will only last you 1 to 3 months, you're better off to buy your own tanks. People that bbq a lot will have 2 tanks...never have to worry about running out of gas in the middle of a cooking session, you can use up every bit of gas in the tank & can get the empty tank refilled at your convenience. Enjoy your new bbq.
https://propane.ca/fuel-station-locator ... uver,%20bc
https://www.uhaul.com/Locations/Propane ... C8/845055/
http://www.pnepropane.com/en/exchange_program
I don't see why its better to exchange. Even if you don't run the tank dry, it's cheaper in most cases to refill a tank than to exchange a tank. Maybe exchange the tank in it's 9th year knowing you should at least gain some time out of the newer one.
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thriftshopper wrote: OP is in the Vancouver area. None of the nearby Costcos (Vancouver, Burnaby west and Richmond have gas stations AFAIR so Costco LPG fill up is not an option.
Both of our Costco's have propane and only one has a gas station, and that one had propane long before the gas station was added.
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djeffery wrote: Both of our Costco's have propane and only one has a gas station, and that one had propane long before the gas station was added.
This

As I understand it ...

Automotive + Propane + Gas Station ... are 3 different add ons to a Costco Warehouse. Some have none. Some have many. One is not dependent on the others.

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