Propane, also known as liquid petroleum (LP gas) was first identified in 1910 by a Dr. Walter O. Snelling. It is one of the chemical components of ordinary gasoline. After this discovery, Snelling teamed up with Chester and Arthur Kerr and Frank P. Peterson, to found American Gasol Co. – the first commercial propane company. Patents were issued in 1912 and 1913 to Snelling and Peterson for their LP production methods. By 1922 production reached 223,000 gallons. By 1935 it had climbed to 56 millions gallons. And by 1945, propane production had reached a billion gallons. It continues to be a widely used fuel today.
Propane is commonly used for barbecues, portable stoves, heaters, and torches. It most commonly comes in a 4.73 gallon (20lb) tanks, often called a “barbecue tank.” These tanks are often purchased full and then swapped for another tank at the same location if more of the substance is needed, rather than refilled by the user. One tank can last for several weeks or months, depending, of course, on the usage and application patterns.
Purchasing Propane Tanks
Propane Tanks can be purchased at a variety of common and easy to find locations. Here are some of the main locations for purchasing propane tanks:
Home centers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, along with many other large retail home centers, are some of the most convenient tank vendors. These types of locations nearly always stock propane tanks that are ready filled.
Gas stations and propane dealers are also a good supply point for propane tanks, as are ordinary hardware stores.
Online purchase. As is the case with nearly everything else these days, you can also purchase propane tanks online. A quick search will reveal a number of direct suppliers of the tanks.
A couple of other things you should know
Most suppliers will only sell filled tanks. Often tanks are purchased for a one time tank rental charge fuel tank rentals and then the cost of each refill thereafter. That is, the initial charge is larger then the subsequent “swaps,” in which you return the empty tank and are given a full one for only the cost of the propane it contains. This is a very convenient system in that the end user does not have to wait for the old tank to be filled, fill it himself, or otherwise get involved in the process of replenishment of the tank.
Exchanging a tank is not the only option. You can have your tank refilled as well. This is often less expensive and has the added advantage of not wasting any unused propane that may be left in the tank. Gas stations, propane suppliers, and campgrounds are some of the locations where this is done. So it’s your call – pay a little extra for the convenience of a swap, or have it refilled and save some money.
Important safety note: Tanks are subject to ASME American society of mechanical engineers requirements. They are constructed to stringent safety specifications that protect the user from harm. This fuel is fairly volatile so you should observe all due caution when using it. Do not attempt to tamper with, modify or repair propane tanks – this should be undertaken only by licensed professionals. Only refill propane tanks if you have fully informed yourself about how to do it.
Propane tanks are a great solution for heating, outdoor cooking and barbecuing, torching and a variety of other common household requirements. They are easy to find and buy either at local store or online.