Does Propane Go Bad? Shelf Life & Storage Tips

An image of a derelict propane tank.

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Propane is arguably the latest panacea in heating and powering systems. Why? The gas, which is typically in liquid form when stored under pressure in containers, has a myriad of upsides. 

First, it guarantees the convenience of use due to its portability and is also a clean energy source. It has super clean byproducts (water and carbon dioxide). Its reliability is also top-grade. 

But one of the remarkable concerns about the fuel is whether you can store it for long. 

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Can you store it indefinitely for use with your emergency generators, or will it go bad after some time? If that’s among your worries, we’re here to see you through everything about propane shelf life and how to increase it. 

So we invite you to discover Propane Shelf Life & Storage Tips: Learn if Propane Goes Bad and How to Keep It Fresh. Without further ado, buckle up, and let’s get right into the intricacies of this topic.

Does Propane Go Bad?

No, your propane gas reserves can outlive Methuselah. Jokes aside, propane gas, doesn’t go bad during storage. So, you can actually store it indefinitely without worrying that it’ll disintegrate into another substance. 

Propane features unique properties from its fuel energy counterparts like diesel and gasoline. Both are subject to quality deterioration; propane/LPG doesn’t go bad. It can last up to 30 years and probably (and ironically) even longer than your propane tank, and it’ll be as good as if you bought it yesterday. 

And this is primarily why it’s recommended to store propane gas for your emergency generators. It’ll always be in good condition no matter how long you store it. 

But there’s a caveat. To realize longevity in storage, the cylinder and valve must be leakproof. Why? Because if impurities contaminate the gas, they’ll pollute it, which is a recipe for spoiling.

Can propane get too old to use?

Yes, it may come to a point when your propane is too old. And this boils down to the status of your gas cylinder. 

Hence, it’s common to find propane gas cylinders with a manufacture/requalification date. This does not mean that the LPG can go bad. Rather, it is an indicator of the date that the cylinder and valve are due for inspection. 

Most of your average propane gas cylinders are due for requalification after 12 years. So what do you do if your propane tank expiry date is due? You can take it back to a certified inspector for a check-up of its condition. 

If it’s in great shape, it’ll be requalified for five more years. But if it is rusty and showing signs of leakage, you’ll have to replace it. So always ensure that your propane cylinder is inspected before the end of this date to guarantee indefinite storage. 

Another thing that can make your propane too old is not storing the cylinder in good condition. This significant issue can lower its shelf life from the designated 12 years. Therefore, always look for signs of rust, leaks, or any suggestion of tank deterioration.

How Long Can You Safely Store Propane?

Propane can outlive common fuels such as diesel, whose potency is one year, or gasoline, which spoils in about six months. So what makes propane one of a kind? Because it will be in good condition even for more than a decade. 

On average, your propane gas reserve can last 30 to 40 years with High quality galvanized LPG gas cylinders. But the hard work here is ensuring regular cylinder maintenance. If you are not careful with maintenance, your propane will only be potent for about ten years. 

And there’s something more beautiful to storing propane for emergencies. It doesn’t give your storeroom a foul smell, like the alternatives such as gasoline and diesel. Moreover, propane gas is clean and will never stain your generator. 

But we fundamentally emphasize that you must maintain the cylinder well to reap the long-term benefits of this incredible fuel.

Can Propane Freeze?

Whether propane can freeze should be among your least of worries. Why? Its freezing point is typically so low that it can be actually so difficult to achieve in a real-life scenario. The gas freezes at -306.4°F degrees Fahrenheit.

But there’s still a major problem to worry about in chilling weather- propane gas contraction. During cold temperatures, propane is prone to volume shrinkage, reducing a significant amount of pressure in the cylinder. 

And how is this an issue? With reduced pressure, the gas will not have sufficient ‘energy’ to rise to the burner/propane appliances. Hence, you cannot use propane as fuel in cold weather. So what’s the remedy to this issue? 

Check out below.

Tips to Boost Propane Gas Pressure

First, remember that we explained that these temperatures are unlikely to be achieved in a real-life scenario. But here are tips and precautions to deal with tank pressure loss if it happens.

  • Always have propane gas levels at least above 30% of the cylinder. This will help ensure that the gauge pressure is remarkably high. The recommended gas level is 20% on average, but this is for typical weather conditions. It also helps you steer clear of runouts during peak use. 
  • Also, ensure that snow doesn’t accumulate on the cylinder, as this contributes to the pressure reduction. It’s recommended to have the cylinder outside where there’s sunlight reaches. 
  • Finally, switch off your thermostat. This is because you won’t use the heating systems as often, which is a reprieve for your low-pressure gas cylinder. Turning it off will give it a chance of pressure build-up. 

FAQs

Which is the Best Fuel for Emergency Generators & Off-Grid Survival?

Propane is arguably the best fuel you can store for emergency generators and situations where you cannot access electricity. The fuel doesn’t go bad, is easy to transport, and provides versatility. 

You can apply the fuel in powering your generator, while it’s also valuable for cooking, heating, and even running small combustion engines. Given its versatility and longevity, your only limitation is how to carry enough for outdoor living

If you can solve the storage issue, propane will power you forever.

Is it Safe to Use a Full LPG Gas Cylinder Unused for Many Years?

There is arguably no reason to fret about using a propane gas cylinder you’ve not been utilizing. However, you need to be careful with it as the long storage could cause leaks that can cause a fire accident. 

Hence, check out if there’s a leak before connecting it. Also, confirm that its valves are leakproof after setting it up and ready for use. There are many ways to do this, and we recommend the soap water leak test as it’s easy to perform.

How Do I Dispose of an Expired Tank?

Rather, what do you do with your tank after it has reached the 12 years use limit? The best way is to return it to your supplier for inspection. If it’s still not damaged, they’ll service it and give it back to you for further use for at least five years. 

But if it is damaged, they’ll dispose of it. Luckily, you don’t own the propane gas cylinder you use, as it’s primarily the supplier’s property. Hence, you don’t have to worry about being given an expired cylinder since they do regular checks to confirm the state. 

Our return advice applies to customers who have packed the LPG in their homes for over 12 years.

Summary

We’re ever fanatical about propane because we know the wonders this gas can help you achieve in powering your home needs. Also, its versatility is a huge bonus, so we always recommend that you need it, at least for backup applications. 

So are you stuck on choosing a propane supplier? Calm your nerves, as we’ve got you covered. Compare Propane does everything for you- from highlighting the available suppliers in your area to giving you the top four options. 

Check out our tips on how to lower your Propane costs because we always care about you. So why pay more when we can always help?

Ryan McCabe

Ryan McCabe

Ryan is a home and small business energy expert, having overseen retail propane, heating oil, and HVAC services companies. On ComparePropane, Ryan writes about things that people should know when shopping for or using propane in their homes and businesses. 

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