Throughout Canada, many people prefer to use their barbecue grills well into the winter months of the year. Whether it’s for hosting parties year-round or just for whipping up a meal that feels like summer, many people truly enjoy barbecuing no matter what month it is. It doesn’t even matter what type of grill they have.
With propane grills being just as popular as charcoal grills, there eventually comes a time when your tank needs refuelling. Many stores are likely to have closed their refuelling stations for the winter, so doing your refuelling is the next best option. However, doing the process at home can look quite daunting if you don’t know how at first.
To show you how to refuel the propane tank for Napoleon gas grills as well as other models, we’ve put together this guide to make it easy to do.
What to check for before refuelling
Before you begin to search for stores that allow you to refuel your propane tank or before you do it yourself, there are a few factors you need to check first. Many of these factors have to deal with preventing any damage from happening, ensuring that you, your family and your home are safe before and after refuelling.
Check the tank for damage
One of the most important steps to take before you refuel is to check the tank itself for any damage. Typically, since propane tanks used for barbecues are much heavier and sturdier than other tanks, most of the damage can appear in the form of small dents, dings or bulges. However, it’s incredibly important to pay attention to those small dents as well.
Though they might be small, even one dent or bump can increase the risk of damage to its surroundings. Dents can often be a sign of a potential leak that can cause fires or – on extremely rare occasions – explosions. Bumps and bulges can also be a sign of pressure building up inside the tank or a sign that the metal in that area is thin. If you find any of these problems when you check your tank, take it in to be replaced as soon as possible, regardless of the dent’s size.
Similarly, check for any rust on the surface of your propane tank. If you find rust, you can use fine-grit sandpaper or steel wool to remove the rust. However, avoid scrubbers or materials that can cause sparks. If the rust is too stubborn or too far into the metal of the tank, replace the tank since the corrosion has weakened it. Never ignore any small amounts of damage, rust or otherwise!
Check for the tank’s age
The age of the tank itself can also be incredibly important in whether or not you can refuel it. Many of these tanks often have a shelf life of 12 years, and while the propane inside may not go bad, the tank can wear out much faster. On average, many propane companies and barbecuers say that you can use and refuel the tank as usual, but recommend a new tank after 10 years have passed. You can often find the date on the upper section of the tank’s handle when checking.
This is primarily due to how, with age, the tank becomes more vulnerable to rust and leaks. As we mentioned above, even the slightest damage can lead to dangerous conditions, so it’s better to bring it to a gas dealer or a similar company. In many cases, you can even get a new tank from the same place.
Make sure the tank can be refuelled
Of course, the most important factor in refuelling the tank is whether the connections allow it in the first place. Not every propane tank can be filled up again and the best way to see if yours can be is by checking the valve on top.
These valves are called an OPD or an overfilling prevention device, and as the name suggests, make it so the propane tank can’t be filled past a certain limit. As per national fire and safety standards, propane tanks that weigh between four to forty pounds must have an OPD attached. So, if your tank has a rectangular valve, you can definitely refuel the tank.
How to refuel your propane tank
If your tank is in good condition, has an OPD valve and isn’t past its shelf life, All that’s left is finding a place to refuel the propane tank. Ideally, the best idea is to buy the propane from a store or a company that offers propane for barbecuing, but there are also ways to do it between two tanks.
Start by taking a connector hose and screwing it counterclockwise onto both your empty tank and the filled one. For your receiving tank, you’ll need to find a receptor port while the supplying tank needs a supply port. Slowly open the valve on the supplying tank until you hear the hiss of the propane moving through the hose. As the gas transfers, your tank will start to heat up, so keep a hand on it to know when to close the supply valve. At 80 percent capacity, close the valve and open the bleeder valve to check your tank hasn’t overfilled.
The 80/20 rule
Most tanks have a set rule as to how much you can legally fill a propane tank. This rule is primarily there to ensure everyone’s safety, but the extra 20 percent of space is also there to allow for the propane’s expansion rate. As tempting as completely filling the tank can be for barbecuing, safety does have to come first!
Refuelling a tank can be quite simple at first glance, but there are still a few things you need to make sure of first. Refilling a damaged tank and even transporting an empty one can be quite dangerous since the propane itself can still linger and cause hazards. Additionally, not all tanks can be filled, so checking the valves first is just as important. Only once you’ve done the needed checks can you go ahead and refill them.