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 > Refill Propane vs Exchange

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theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 10/09/18 08:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not that this matters much to most RVes, but ...

What you get at your refill station is not likely 100% pure propane (C3H8). It is typically blend with butane (C4H10), which is a bit cheaper. The amount of butane typically depends on the time of year. One problem with butane is that its boiling point (the point where it turn from liquid to vapor) is around 34F (1C) while propane is about -44F (-42C).

In winter, if your tank contains a high concentration of butane (from a summer fill up) you may not have enough vapor to actually get it to burn !

Beverley&Ken

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Posted: 10/09/18 08:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here in Ontario , it’s more about cost to the dealer / campground to provide the service. When regulations were changed , maybe 10 years ago, the cost for small operations became ridiculous, The Campgroud owner said that the initial inspection, new mandatory equipment would have cost him $25000 and then yearly inspections licences of $5000. Plus yearly training for any staff that would be doing refills. Good Bye propane.
Oh yes , he would have lost a considerable number of campsites, since residential units were not allowed in a certain radius of the refill location. Campsites, in the eyes of the inspector, are considered residential units


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BB_TX

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Posted: 10/09/18 08:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Beverley&Ken for getting back to the OP’s question. [emoticon]

valhalla360

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Posted: 10/09/18 10:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes they are moving more and more to exchange...the vast majority of sales are your typical BBQ tank and it saves them the hassle of teaching someone to fill.

I'm kind of surprised, manufacturers haven't started spec'ing 3-4 BBQ tanks instead of a couple 30lb tanks.


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mgirardo

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Posted: 10/10/18 08:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Where we camp seasonally has propane refill, but it is expensive: $25 for 20lb, $35 for 30lb. There are plenty of places that exchange 20lb tanks for $16 - $17, but there are plenty of places that refill as well. We usually take our tanks to the RV Dealer we bought our MH and TT from. This summer they were the cheapest place around. What would have cost $70 from the campground, cost $54.

In the past 12 years that we have lived here, there have been 3 places that I can get propane refill within a few miles of the house. We lost one of those places a few years ago because the place went out of business. Perhaps it is a local trend where you live, but not where we live or where we camp seasonally.

-Michael


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buc1980

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Posted: 10/10/18 08:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was surprise when I refill my 40lb. bottles to be charge by the bottle and not by the gallon.One was empty but the other one has some propane left.So when you refill be sure the bottles are empty if not you will pay more per gallon .


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Grit dog

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Posted: 10/10/18 10:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^ That must be just a store policy for additional profit. Everywhere I’ve been still does by the gallon.


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gkainz

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Posted: 10/10/18 10:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have to believe the propane exchange industry has factored in the cost of recertification of expired bottles they get in return, as well as the disposal of the completely unserviceable pile of rust that got recycled back into their system, and the 15 gallon fill in the 20 gallon bottle is part of that profitability formula. If you know what you're getting and decide, then good. If you DON'T know, then it's a ripoff.


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Posted: 10/10/18 11:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

gkainz wrote:

I have to believe the propane exchange industry has factored in the cost of recertification of expired bottles they get in return, as well as the disposal of the completely unserviceable pile of rust that got recycled back into their system, and the 15 gallon fill in the 20 gallon bottle is part of that profitability formula. If you know what you're getting and decide, then good. If you DON'T know, then it's a ripoff.
Well, if they don't, then they should. The only time I exchanged was when my local ACE hardware guy said he couldn't fill my pristine tank, because it was too old. Exchanged it for one at the Blue Rhino at the gas station. The lady let me look at the tanks an pick the one I wanted. Tore off the BR label, and continue to refill it at ACE. I'm betting they can recertify them at minimal cost.


Experience without good judgment is worthless; good judgment without experience is still good judgment!

westernrvparkowner

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Posted: 10/10/18 12:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

buc1980 wrote:

I was surprise when I refill my 40lb. bottles to be charge by the bottle and not by the gallon.One was empty but the other one has some propane left.So when you refill be sure the bottles are empty if not you will pay more per gallon .
Before we quit propane completely, we had to go to a minimum charge. People would come in to fill their tanks and bottles and they would be purchasing 7/10th of a gallon. Filling bottles and tanks can be a dirty, nasty time consuming job and we were losing money and overtaxing the employees on those small fills. A minimum charge at least moderated the problem.

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