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Lakes Gas Blog

Why Do Propane Tanks Expire?

tank 2Spring will be here before you know it. That means blooming flowers, more time outdoors, and of course, grilling.

But there are a few things you should know about your grill’s propane tank before you fire it up for the season.

Take a good look at the date stamped on the top of the tank. That’s the year your tank was certified. Propane suppliers will not fill your tank if it has been certified more than 12 years ago.


It’s a safety measure. Old tanks may have leaks, rust, punctures or other safety hazards. Plus, expiration dates ensure that your tank has the latest valve safety update.

What are my options?

If your tank is expired, you have two options. Depending on the tank, its safety features and the date of initial certification, you may be able to get it recertified. This extends its expiration date for another five years.

If your tank cannot be recertified, there’s no need to worry. Lakes Gas’ tank exchange program makes getting a new tank easy. Just bring it to your nearest Lakes Gas location. We also have Swap and Go cabinets at many area gas stations. 


Propane Tank Sizes

Propane Tank SizesPropane tanks come in all sizes. The amount of propane you'll need will determine the size of your tank. A 20 lb cylinder used on your grill would not be large enough to heat your home, and you'd need hundreds of them to supply enough propane to run a commercial kitchen. Here's a rundown of various tank sizes, courtesy of

Outdoor use
Cylinders, or bottles, are normally used for grilling and other outdoor activities. Unlike tanks, they must always be kept upright, and they cannot be stored inside.

Sizes include:
20 lb tanks hold about 4.7 gallons
30 lb tanks hold about 7 gallons
40 lb tanks hold about 9.4 gallons
100 lb tanks hold about 26.3 gallons

Home heating and energy
To deliver energy to your home, you're going to need something a bit larger than even the biggest cylinders. Otherwise, you'd have to refill your propane daily. The tank you need depends on many factors, including the size of your home, how many people live there, and the climate of your area.

Some common residential tank sizes are:
150 gallon
250 gallon
500 gallon
1,000 gallon

Commercial applications definitely use more propane than you do at home, but it may surprise you to know that their tanks are not much different than the one in your yard. In fact, many commercial propane users have the same larger 1,000 gallon tanks used by some homes; they just usually have more of them to meet their needs. It's not uncommon for a business to have two or three 1,000-gallon tanks that they fill more frequently than the home user.

Don't know how much propane you'll need? Your Lakes Gas representative will help you figure it out.

4 Reasons to Buy a Propane Fireplace

Winter is a great time to cuddle up beside a roaring fire and watch the snow fall with a hot beverage.

And for many, that roaring fire comes courtesy of a propane fireplace. Not only is it a cost-effective way to heat your home, it’s a low-maintenance way to relax. Here are some benefits of propane fireplaces.

Easy Starts

What would you rather do after a long day at work? Chop your own firewood, haul it inside, and struggle to light it or push a button for an instant flame?

We thought so.

Propane takes all the hard work out of starting a fire, so you’re left with more time to enjoy it.

Peace of Mind

With a wood-burning fireplace, there are lots of questions. Is the fire really out? Is it okay to leave it unattended for a brief period? How safe is it?

Propane fireplaces erase that worry.

When you’re done enjoying the fire, just push a button. No need to smother it or double check that it’s out.

Low Maintenance

Propane fires are hands-off. Since the logs inside them are fake, you don’t have to clean up soot. And there’s no worries about creosote, a dangerous, flammable byproduct of burning wood. There’s very little cleaning involved.


Since propane is cheaper than other kinds of fuel, propane fireplaces are also cost effective. And propane fireplaces also heat rooms more evenly than wood-burning fireplaces, so they can also be used as an alternative to space heaters and furnaces in smaller areas, helping you save on your energy bills.

Need propane for your fireplace or other appliances? Contact Lakes Gas.

How Long Does My Propane Tank Last?

Nothing puts a damper on a barbecue like running out of propane before the last burger is cooked.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly how much propane you’d need for grilling or other tasks so you’d know when you were at risk of running out?

How do you know how much propane you’ll need?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. You won’t find a manual telling you a family of four will need Xgallons of propane per winter, or that the 20 lb tank attached to your grill will last for Y hours.

That’s because so many factors are at work here. What type of tank do you have? How big is it? How much heat does your grill produce? How long does it typically take you to grill your food? It’s much more involved than just saying “this tank will produce about four hours of propane use.” There’s no way the manufacturer can know that.

There are guidelines, however. By using a complicated formula outlined nicely here, you can find out how long your grill’s tank will last based on your average usage.

Calculating an estimated usage for your home’s tank, however, is a taller order. There’s no shortage of factors that can affect your usage, including:

  • Your thermostat setting
  • The energy efficiency of your windows
  • The number of people in your home
  • The number of propane appliances used
  • How often the appliances are used
  • The number of bathrooms your home has

Luckily, you don’t have to calculate your expected usage yourself. The experts at Lakes Gas Co. are experienced in accounting for all the factors that could affect your usage and recommending the proper amount. We also have a variety of buying and delivery options to ensure you won’t run out.

Contact us today!

Winterizing Your Propane Grill

Propane GrillThe first snowfall of the year signals the official end of outdoor grilling season.

Stowing your propane grill properly will lengthen its life and help you avoid potential safety risks.

Here are some tips courtesy of

Clean it: Year-old grease and long-forgotten hamburger remnants are not the best ways to start next summer. Give your grill a good scrub before you store it.

Power down: Shut off the propane tank, unfasten the burner and slip the tubes off the gas lines. Your owner's manual will have directions specific to your grill.

Spray it: Spray cooking oil on metal parts. This will prevent rust during wet weather.

Wrap it: Wrap the burners in plastic grocery bags to prevent insects from making their homes there during the winter. These pests are not just scary; they could cause uneven flames or fires when you light the grill again. Give the grill's gas line opening the same treatment.

Store it: Should you disconnect the tank from the grill? It depends on where you're storing it. If you're leaving the grill outside, cover it but leave the tank connected, but shut off. If you're bringing the grill inside your house, shed, or garage, disconnect the tank, and leave that outside. You should never bring a propane tank inside, to avoid a potential explosion. Store it upright and away from dryer or furnace vents.

These tips will keep your grill ready for next year and many years to come.