LP Gas Concerns > Storage
Storage of Propane Containers
The way you store your propane containers can greatly affect your safety. The propane containers we are addressing include "gas grill bottles" in a variety of sizes, tanks on your travel trailer for heating and cooking, and "100-pound" cylinders used for a variety of home heating tasks. These are the containers most likely to be handled by people not trained to do this.
Condition of Container
Check the condition of your container(s) before you store them.
- Check to be sure the valve closes completely. Then make sure the valve is closed. As an added safety measure, screw a plug into POL valves, the type of valve with only internal, counter-clockwise threads. A plug must be in the valve whenever the tank is disconnected from the heating device or the gas line. *
Note: Do NOT put a plug in Acme valves, the type with external threads, as this disables a safety feature. *
- Make sure the tank is not severely corroded. Some surface rust is OK, but light sanding and painting should be in your schedule in this case. Deep pits mean the container wall is weakened. Seriously consider replacing such a tank. *
- Be sure the collar (the handle ring on top of the tank) and the foot ring (the ring on the bottom of the tank that keeps it upright) are still securely fastened to the tank. Severe corrosion at either of these places is a cause for concern. Seriously consider replacing such a tank. *
Places to Store Tanks
DO store tanks this way:
- Outdoors. Tanks containing propane, or that ever had propane in them, are to be stored outdoors. *
- Away from heat. Keep tanks away from heat sources. Try to keep them out of the sun.
- Standing upright on its foot ring. *
- With a plug in the valve outlet, if disconnected from its appliance or the gas line and if the valve has only internal, "backwards" threads. * (This applies only to older grill cylinders and larger, more than 60 pounds propane capacity, that do not have the Overfill Prevention Device.)
- In an out-of-the-way area, especially if there are children who might knock a tank over.
Do NOT store tanks this way:
- Indoors. *
- Under the house, such as in a crawl space.*
- Laying on its side or upside down.*
- Under or beside a gas grill in operation, unless it is the tank in use. Keep spare tanks away from the grill. *
- In the hot sun, especially beside a southern-facing masonry or dark wall.
- Near a flame, fire, or other source of ignition. *
- Where they can fall over or be pulled over.
Why are these rules necessary?
There are several reasons for treating a propane container carefully:
- The contents of the tank are under pressure and will leak out if given a chance.
- Propane is very flammable. That's one reason it's such a good fuel.
- The pressure inside the tank increases as the temperature increases. To keep the tank from becoming over pressurized, a relief valve is built into the main valve to discharge the over-pressure. This discharge is also flammable. This is why it must be stored away from fire and flame.
- If you allow the tank to become corroded, it is weakened and can become a problem more easily.
* Indicates a requirement according to state law, which references the LP-Gas Code, standard NFPA 58, as published by the National Fire Protection Association.
Last updated August 11, 2004