How To Recertify Your RV Propane Tanks

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Close up of a propane tank that needs to get its recertify

You can use propane in an RV for cooking, heating, and keeping the refrigerator cool. However, you’ll eventually need to recertify your propane tanks, or you can’t refill them.

You want to stay on top of your propane tank’s certification to avoid getting into a pickle when you need to fill your tanks. Luckily, the process of recertifying propane tanks is relatively easy.

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know so you can avoid any potential issues. Let’s get started!

What Does It Mean to Recertify a Propane Tank?

Propane is a hazardous gas, and it’s essential to ensure that you store it properly. You should never store propane in a tank that isn’t certified.

The recertification process is an inspection performed on the propane tank and its various components to help ensure it can safely store propane.

You cannot recertify the tank yourself; you’ll need to take it to a trained professional who can complete the inspection. They will likely only charge $35 to $60 to do it for you.

How Often Do You Recertify Propane Tanks?

Propane tank certifications initially last up to 12 years from the manufacture date they stamp on the collar of the tank.

This will typically be a two-digit month and a two-digit year. So a tank with the stamp 06 11 would have been from June 2011. 

Once your tank expires, you won’t be able to refill it without having it recertified. While there are plenty of propane refill stations, many propane refill locations do not recertify propane tanks.

You’ll need to scout out a professional service to do this for you.

How Long Is a Recertified Propane Tank Good for?

Once a professional recertifies your propane tank, it is suitable for an additional five, seven, or 12 years. How long it is acceptable depends on the recertification method.

A professional visual inspection grants you five years, a proof pressure test gives you seven years, and the volumetric expansion test gives you an additional 12 years. If you’re in a pinch, you may not get your preferred recertification for your propane tank.

What Causes an RV Propane Tank to Fail Recertification

An RV propane tank will fail recertification if there is damage to the cylinder or the welds. If the person inspecting the tank discovers any dents, cracks, rust, pitting, or fire damage, it’s an automatic failure.

The inspector will look for the right parts, like the cylinder’s footring, collar, and valve cover. If the tank has a valve leaking or any defect with the pressure release, it will also fail.

A propane tank must do the job correctly and not put anyone in danger. Propane leaks can be hazardous and cause massive explosions. It’s better safe than sorry when handling and recertifying propane tanks.

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How to Recertify Your RV Propane Tanks

If you need to have our tanks recertified, there are a few ways. As we said earlier, you will not be able to do these yourself.

You’ll need to take them to a trained professional who can test your propane tanks for you. Here are a few methods they’ll use when certifying your tanks.

Close up of a propane tank that needs to get its recertify

Volumetric Expansion Method

This is the most common way to recertify your RV Propane tanks. This test uses a water jacket hydrostatic test to pressurize the tank at twice the recommended service pressure.

If the tank passes the volumetric expansion method, the certified technician will place a sticker on it indicating the type and date of the recertification test. You’ll have a recertified propane tank good for an additional 12 years.

Proof-Pressure Method

If the technician uses the proof-pressure method to recertify your propane tank, it will be suitable for an additional seven years.

This also tests the tank and the pressure components with air at twice the recommended service pressure. This helps to ensure the tank and the parts are up for the challenge and aren’t likely to fail.

External Visual

Another option is to have a certified technician perform an external visual inspection. This test is the least effective method, but many technicians know what to look for when visually inspecting RV propane tanks.

They’re primarily looking for some apparent signs of damage we discussed earlier. Since this method doesn’t put the components to the test, it’s only good for five years. 

An RV with a propane tank attached to it that has it's recertify

Where Do You Get RV Propane Tanks Recertified?

If you need to get your RV propane tanks recertified, you’ll want to look for a local propane supplier. Many of the local propane refill stations will not offer this service.

You’ll need to look for bulk distributors like Amerigas and other residential services companies. They’ll be more likely to provide a recertification program since they’re highly trained in working with propane and various propane tanks.

Pro Tip: Do you know how your RV Propane system works? Learn how your propane system works!

Close up of a propane tank that needs to get its recertify
Source: Amerigas

Does U-haul Recertify Propane Tanks?

The U-haul propane centers may be your favorite place to refill your propane tanks, but they do not offer recertification programs. You’ll need to look for a more specialized propane distributor to recertify your tanks. 

Does Tractor Supply Recertify Propane Tanks?

Unfortunately, Tractor Supply does not offer a recertification program for propane tanks. Many of their locations offer propane refills and exchanges.

However, they’re not likely going to provide recertification services. They may put you in touch with their propane distributor, who would likely handle the recertification of propane tanks for the area.

Close up of propane tanks that needs to get its recertify

Stay Safe and Recertify RV Propane Tanks

Propane is extremely dangerous and is not something that you should take lightly. You should only put propane in a certified tank. You must also stay on top of your tank’s certification to avoid any potential issues with having it refilled.

If you keep your tank certified, you’ll be able to stay warm, have hot water, and enjoy keeping the food and other items in your refrigerator cool. If you’re unsure of when your tanks expire, head on out now and have a look!

When do your propane tanks expire?

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