Does Propane Go Bad With Age or If Left Unused? (We Got The Answers)

If you have a propane tank for your grill or camping stove, it’s important to know if the gas inside is still good. Nothing is worse than taking propane on a camping trip only to find it isn’t up to par. This will leave you without a working stove or a way to cook your food.

Propane does not go bad with time or if it is left unused. The expiration date on the tank is related to safety, not the quality of the propane. When this date comes, the tank will need to be inspected to ensure it is safe. When stored properly, the tank can last between 10 and 30 years. 

Keep reading to ensure your propane tank is still good for that next excursion as we explore more information on this topic. We will discuss the signs of bad propane, how to store it properly, and if you should worry about expiration dates. You can ensure a bad propane tank doesn’t ruin your next adventure with a few simple steps. 

Will Propane Go Bad?

Unlike other fuel sources like diesel and kerosene, propane does not go bad over time. However, it is important to store propane properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible. If you don’t store the propane properly, the tank can become corroded, or the valve can become clogged. This could lead to a leak in the tank, which would make it unsafe to use.

Propane is a very efficient fuel source. It can provide a lot of heat for a small amount of propane. This makes it a popular choice for camping and grilling. Some other benefits of propane include: 

  • Non-toxic, so it is safe to use indoors
  • Easy to store and transport
  • Not as volatile as gasoline, so it is less likely to explode

Another benefit of using propane is that it is a clean-burning fuel. As a result, it doesn’t produce as many emissions as other fuels, which makes it better for the environment.

Propane vs. Other Gases

There are other gases which can be used for grilling and cooking, though propane is the most popular. However, these gases can go bad over time.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is one of the alternative gases available for use in grills and cooking appliances. It is less expensive than propane but has a shorter shelf life. In addition, the tanks must be inspected every five years to ensure they are safe to use. 

Natural Gas and its delivery
Natural Gas and its delivery

Another disadvantage of natural gas is that it can be dangerous if not used properly. It’s important to make sure the connection between the grill and the tank is tight and that there are no leaks in either the grill or the tank. You could easily start a fire with natural gas if you’re not careful. 


Butane is another alternative to propane. It is even less expensive than natural gas but has a shorter shelf life. In addition, the tanks must be inspected every six months to ensure they are safe to use. Butane doesn’t produce as many emissions as propane, but it is not as efficient. It will also require more refills over time because of its shorter shelf life. 

Butane operated stove
Butane operated stove

What Does The Expiration Date Mean For The Gas?

The expiration date of a propane tank is found on the neck of the tank. It is a code that indicates when the tank needs to be inspected. The inspection is required to ensure the tank is safe to use. The date does not indicate when the gas will stop working.

If you have an old propane tank past the expiration date, it is important to have it inspected. The inspector can ensure the tank is safe to use and determine if it needs to be replaced or repaired. A replacement tank is recommended if it has been more than ten years since the last inspection.

A propane tank can last between 10 and 30 years when stored properly. To ensure the tank lasts a long time, storing it away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place is important. 

Checking the Propane Tank for Issues

It is important to periodically check the propane tank for any signs of damage or corrosion. Damage to the tank, such as rust or cracks, can be dangerous and should not be used. Many of these signs can be seen from the outside of the tank.

Inspect the hose and valve for any cuts, tears, or bulges. Ensure the valve is in good working condition and can be opened and closed without difficulty.

You should also check for a rotten egg smell coming from the tank. This could mean a leak in the tank, which would make it unsafe to use. If you smell a rotten egg odor, the tank should be replaced.

While it is unlikely that the tank will explode, it can still be very dangerous if it has been damaged or is leaking. It is best to replace the tank and properly dispose of it rather than take risks. 

Proper Tank Disposal

It is important to dispose of a damaged or expired propane tank properly. These tanks can be recycled, but they must first be emptied of any propane. Many hardware stores, camping centers, and other locations will accept empty propane tanks for recycling. 

Proper Tank Disposal

If you are unsure how to dispose of a propane tank properly, contact your local waste and recycling center for more information. They can provide you with the necessary steps to dispose of the tank safely.

If the tank is leaking, contact a hazardous waste facility for more information about proper disposal. 

Dangers of Propane

In addition to being careful where you store the tank, it is important to be aware of the dangers of using propane. Here are three tips to keep in mind: 

  • Propane is flammable and can cause a fire if not used properly
  • It is important to keep children and pets away from the tank and grill when cooking with propane 
  • Propane can cause asphyxiation, so never use it in an enclosed area 
  • Always use a regulator and hose when connecting the propane tank to your grill 

3 Tips For Storing A Propane Tank

Now that you know about propane expiration dates, tank maintenance, and disposal, here are three of the most important considerations when storing a propane tank safely:

Never store a propane tank indoors

As with any flammable gas or liquid, propane should never be stored inside a building or near any heat source. This includes locations like garages and basements. If there is a leak, it can be difficult to detect and could result in an accident. Also, propane is heavier than air and can collect in low-lying areas where a spark can ignite. If you must store the tank indoors, ensure it is in a well-ventilated area and away from any heat sources.

Propane tank under the stove

Store in a cool and dry area

Storing the tank in a cool, dry place is important to ensure it does not rust or corrode. Exposure to moisture can cause the tank to rust and weaken, so regularly check the tank for signs of corrosion.

Keep temperatures under 120 degrees F

If your propane tank is exposed to high temperatures for an extended period, and the pressure inside of the tank begins to increase, there will be a safety valve that’ll blow off. Although this action prevents your tank from exploding by stabilizing the pressure levels, slight gas leakage will occur.

If the tank is stored outside next to the grill, ensure it is out of direct sunlight and away from the grill’s heat. Keep temperatures below 120°F / 49°C to ensure proper function and safety. 

Other Storage Tips

Propane tanks should also be stored in an upright position and not allowed to tip or roll around. This could cause the tank to leak, which could be dangerous.

Always keep the tank valve closed when not in use and store it away from anything that could cause sparks or open flames. This includes cigarettes and open flames from grills and fire pits. 

During the winter, ensure the tank is kept dry. Placing a plastic tarp over your propane tank will stop ice from forming and preserve the longevity of your tank. Finally, ensure the tank is secured with a chain or other means to ensure it does not fall or roll over.  

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