When you’re ready to grill but realize you’re out of propane, it’s easy to see the appeal of a swap-and-go cylinder exchange. But when you look at time saved versus money saved, you might find that refilling your own portable propane tank is the smarter choice. In fact, when you own your propane grill tank and refill it, you can save money in a couple ways.
First, you’ll save on the price of the propane. The difference can be up to $1.75 per gallon! That’s because with an exchange, you’re paying a third party who charges a retail markup for all their overhead: buying propane, maintaining and filling tanks, etcetera. When you refill your tank from a propane dealer like Midway, you aren’t paying that markup.
You also save because you’ll pay only to replace the propane you’ve used. With a propane grill tank exchange, you’re charged for all the propane in the cylinder—including the propane that was left in the tank when you take it to be exchanged. Because think about it: When you see your propane cylinder is starting to run low, your instinct is to take it in to exchange before you run out. So unless you run them until they’re completely empty, you could be wasting half a tank or more over the span of a few tanks.
Even though most of the portable cylinders that you’d hook up to your grill don’t have a gauge, there are easy ways to track the level of propane in your tank to make sure you don’t run out.
Water Trick: Fill a small bucket with hot tap water and pour it down the side of the cylinder. Then run your hand down the side of the tank and find the point where it turns cool. That’s the level of the gas. (The liquid propane inside the tank absorbs heat from the water, which makes the metal wall of the tank cool to the touch.)
Weight Check: Check the cylinder for markings that let you know the “tare weight” or TW, the weight of the tank when empty. A 20-pound tank usually weighs about 17 pounds when empty. To calculate how much propane is in the tank, place the cylinder on a scale (a basic bathroom scale will work) and subtract the tare weight from the amount shown on the scale. So, if your 20-pound cylinder weighs 27 pounds, and the tare weight is 17, you have 10 pounds of propane or about half a tank. Or, pick up a digital propane tank scale at your local hardware store. Most come with a digital app to let you know when it’s time for a fill-up.
Add a Gauge: You can buy a gauge to install between the gas line from the grill and the cut-off valve on the tank. It will measure the pressure and show you how full the tank is.
Keep a Spare: The easiest way to make sure you always have enough propane on hand to fire up the grill is to keep an extra tank on hand.
Whether you need a cylinder refill, or you want to buy an extra tank so you always have a spare, Midway is happy to help. Just bring your empty tank to us during business hours whenever you need a refill. We provide quick and easy, no-wait portable propane tank fill-ups. Don’t bring empty tanks inside! And remember, we can’t refill tanks with excessive rust, corrosion or other damage.
Contact us today for more information.