Should you Open a Propane Tank Valve All the Way?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Disclosure in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

Propane lovers enjoy a clean, fast-heating and easy overall grilling experience. Although beginner-friendly, mastering the art of propane gas grilling can open you up to a world of grilled meats and vegetables that can be prepared a lot more conveniently than with charcoal. Here we’re going to answer a few key questions about the tanks that fire these grills. Namely, should you open a propane tank all the way?

Should you Open a Propane Tank Valve All the Way?

Answers and Propane Tanks Tips. 

Propane tanks are designed to give you a lot of fuel for your grill in a safe and compact container that’s easy to transport and refill. They come in a variety of different sizes for various uses, however we’re going to be looking at conventional BBQ grill propane tanks. 

There is of course a ‘right’ way to use a propane tank, unlike with charcoal where you’ve got some room for personal preference. Safety and fuel efficiency are more relevant to cooking with propane gas, since you can either find yourself spending more than you’d like or worse, causing a potentially dangerous accident to occur. 

Below we’ll explain how propane tank valve’s work, and how to operate them as safely as possible. First, we’ll go through a few key points you should know before you buy, or rent a propane tank for exchange. 

How Many Gallons in a Propane Tank? 

A standard propane tank used to fuel almost every residential BBQ grill is a 20lb cylinder tank. These are ideal for most applications including barbecue grills, space heaters and other outdoor appliances like turkey deep fryers. 

How much does an empty propane tank weigh?

When full, a 20lb propane tank holds 4-5 gallons of propane and weighs about 37 pounds. When empty, a 20lb propane tank is noticeably lighter at 17 pounds. This may be useful for figuring out how full or empty your propane tank is.  

Come to think of it, what’s the most cost-effective way to restock your propane?

Propane Tank Exchange vs Refilling 

A lot of amatuer pit masters regularly ask themselves, “should you exchange or refill your propane tank?” There are a few factors you should consider, although some of it depends on what’s convenient for you in terms of what’s available nearby. 

Lots of gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores and retail stores provide a propane tank exchange service. Typically, you’re able to exchange any type of tank just about anywhere. Be sure to double check ahead of time! In this case you won’t own the propane tank, and you must return it once you’re finished with it. 

Propane tanks can usually be refilled at some gas stations and certain big box stores. Costco sometimes offers propane tank refills, for instance. Look for a large above ground gas tank with a control panel or cage on one end, this is usually a good indication although they’ll also typically advertise this service. This requires owning your own propane tank, or buying one there. 

Why Refilling Your Propane Tank is The Better Option

Doing a propane tank exchange is fairly simple, I’ve personally paid 20$-30$ to fill tanks, which isn’t so bad. These tanks are also regularly inspected after they’re filled by the supplier on a regular basis. However, they have been known to have as much of a quarter less propane than a full tank. Also, you’re not actually getting the full value out of your tank. 

If you have a single tank that you exchange, there’s no chance you’re going to run it dry since you wouldn’t want to be stuck with a half cooked burger. In reality you’re paying for an exchange and handing over a tank with at least some propane left. 

Alternatively, you could opt to refill your own tank(s). I recommend buying two propane tanks, filling both and rotating between them once one empties. That way you can use all of the propane that you pay for without the fear of running out completely. 

Whether filled by yourself or an attendant, you’re usually paying for the tank to be filled completely. It’s less expensive than exchanging a tank on average, although you will have to be responsible for keeping an eye on your tank, checking for damage or leaks. 

Now that you’ve got a tank, here’s how to connect it to your grill and get started! 

How to Connect a New Propane Tank 

  1. Ensure that the valve on top of the tank is completely closed by turning it clockwise until tight. 
  2. Check to make sure all of the grill’s knobs are in the ‘off’ or closed position, including any cooktops. 
  3. Attach the connector to the hose underneath the grill, twisting until tight. 

Be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for lighting the grill safely. 

Should you Open a Propane Tank Valve All the Way?

Simply put, a propane tank valve should always be open all the way when in use. These tank valves are specially designed to prevent leakage when completely opened, or closed. By opening it halfway you aren’t saving any propane, you’re losing it. 

This isn’t just wasteful though, it’s potentially dangerous as propane gas can escape from the valve and have serious unintended consequences. Always open a propane tank valve all the way when you’re grilling. After you’re done grilling, close the valve as tightly as possible. 

No matter what your grilling preferences are, we can all agree that you should use a propane tank while observing all relevant safety procedures. On top of that, make sure you take a look at your appliance’s manufacturer directions as well. 

Other Important Safety Tips 

  • Make sure propane tanks are stored away from any potential source of sparks or flames 
  • Propane tank valve should always be either completely opened, or sealed tightly shut 
  • Regularly inspect your propane tank for leaks, signs of damage, rust or dents 

Thanks for checking out these propane tank tips! Any questions about how to get the most out of your? Leave a comment below, and feel free to share any advice you’ve gathered over the years to get the most out of your propane BBQ grill. 

More Propane Tank & Fire Pit Information

Scroll to Top