Trailer Life Magazine Open Roads Forum: General RVing Issues: Refill Propane vs Exchange
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 > Refill Propane vs Exchange

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ItsyRV

Desert SW

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Posted: 10/10/18 01:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

gkainz wrote:

and the 15 gallon fill in the 20 gallon bottle is part of that profitability formula.

Actually, it come about to make money not lose money. When a large major discount retailer demanded lower prices on the exchange cylinders, the company said it wasn't possible considering all the cost (product, refilling, maintaining cages, advertising, taking in expired cylinders, regulation cost, and transportation) but they offered a lower price if the amount was reduced from 20 lbs to 17 lbs. The retailer balked and threaten to go to another vendor. However the major vendors already were aware of the price squeeze so they got together and agreed to set a minimum price and not to budge. They agreed to reduce volume to match the price that retailer wanted to pay even if it meant only 15 lbs of propane. The concern was if they did that deep discount for one all the other retailers would make similar demands.

However, that major discount retailer ratted them out to the feds.
The feds sued and a settlement was reached. The vendors agreed to a fine but was able to get a concession that those exchange cylinders will have a posted and inspected minimum of at least 15 lbs while some may be more. The price advertised is based on that minimum with no additional charge for any extra lbs in the cylinder.

As a consumer, you just have to know you are really paying for 15 lbs of pre-packaged propane in a currently certified cylinder. If you want the best deal, get a cylinder that has a content weight over 15 lbs. I have no shame in weighting the cylinders and picking the one with the most content weight. If I can't read the Tare weight, I grab another. Takes all of 2 minutes to find a 18+ content lb cylinder.

CavemanCharlie

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Posted: 10/10/18 04:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are very few refill places near me. But, the exchange places are everywhere. I can refill my own tanks from the large tank on the farm but, I have gotten lazy they last couple of years and sometimes I just buy a exchange.

mobeewan

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Posted: 10/10/18 05:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

schlep1967 wrote:

One thing about exchanging tanks. Most of them do not fill the tanks. Instead of 20 lbs you will get 16.

20 lb propane bottle exchanges are one of the biggest rip offs in the modern world of conveniences. They do tell you (in fine print) that they only put 15 lbs of propane in the tank for "safety" reasons. That is a CROCK OF SH!T. The tank is deigned, tested and certified to hold 20 lbs. There is even a built in Overfill Protection Device (OPD) to prevent this occurrence.


Definitely a crock. Fewer pounds or fewer gallons inside the cylinder make no difference to the integrity of the cylinder and valve. Whether there is 1 pound or 20 pounds of liquid propane the pressure inside the cylinder is still the same.

aftermath

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Posted: 10/11/18 11:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

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 !


I believe this also qualifies as a crock. Please explain how going to a refill station gets you inferior propane. I have done this for over 30 years and have camped in the 20's a few times. Never had trouble with my propane. And, are you saying getting an exchange gets you better propane? What? In my area the big propane dealers drive out and fill large home tanks. These same trucks will go to a refill dealer and fill their tanks too. Please support your claim here. I think it is all wet which is a nicer way to say the same thing as you did earlier.


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