How to Empty a Propane Tank for Welding Use

Last Updated on Nov 19, 2022

Propane tanks are, as the name suggests, storage vessels for liquid propane – a highly flammable gas that is typically stored in liquid form and used in heating devices. A few day-to-day examples among the many uses of this device include powering up forklifts, heating up barbeque grills, home heaters, and fireplaces.

Clearly, propane tanks have a huge role to play in our day to day lives, and, because of this, it is extremely important that we understand some basic operations regarding its storage and maintenance –You should know these tips even if you currently do not own one; you never know when you might need it.

Emptying propane tanks – a step-by-step Guide

Since propane is a highly flammable substance, you must make sure you clear out all traces of propane from your propane tank before you weld it. Neglecting this safety measure can cause the user of the tank a serious injury. Here are the steps you need to follow to properly empty your propane tank before welding:

Step 1) Disconnect the hose

Start this process by closing up the valve and removing any hose attachments from your tank. The latest propane tanks come with a plunger that prevents the gas from leaking when you remove your tank from a hose. However, if your tank does not come with a plunger, wear gloves to ensure your safety before disconnecting the hose.

Step 2) Transport your tank to an open space

For safety, you should conduct your tank-emptying process in an open space because of propane’s toxicity to plants and because it is a highly flammable substance – you do not want to cause a fire.

Step 3) Tilt your cylinder towards the side

This is yet another safety measure. Tilting your tank towards the side of its valve ensures that you can better manage the gas escaping. Additionally, it ensures that most of the gas effectively leaves the cylinder.

Step 4) Recheck

Recheck for gas remnants by reconnecting your tank to a grill and then lighting the grill up. The fire you light should use any residual propane still trapped in the tank.

Step 5) Close the valve

The escaped propane leaves an odor in the tank. This can be hazardous. So, you must make sure you close the tank’s valve before you begin welding. If you do not do so, you will risk blowing up the tank when you weld.

Step 6) Remove the top

Removing the top is an important step in this process. Start by removing the valve of your cylinder. Then detach the handles from the head of the tank before cutting the head away.

Step 7) Recheck for gas

Open your tank’s weld plug and press its plunger to see if any gas remains. Rechecks are crucial to avoiding accidents during welding.

Step 8) Remove the valve

Use a hammer to break, lose the tank’s valve and then remove it before you begin welding.

Step 9) Leave your tank inverted for a day.

Leave your cylinder inverted overnight or throughout the day to let all substances’ odor escape.

Step 10) Rinse your propane cylinder

Use some liquid soap to clean your cylinder, then thoroughly rinse your cylinder with water. Repeat this process at least 2 to 3 times to ensure thorough cleaning. No residual gas or substances must remain in the cylinder after rinsing.

Step 11) Dry ice

Finally, leave some dry ice in your tank for a couple of days to ensure that your tank is absolutely clear of all substances.

How to Safely Store a Propane Tank

As mentioned earlier, propane is highly flammable. This means that it is important to observe safety measures while storing propane tanks if you want to avoid potentially lethal accidents. In this section, we will tell you the general guidelines you need to follow to store your tank safely anywhere.

These measures are based on the guidelines laid down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Compressed Gas Association (CGA).

  • Use open-air storage spaces to keep your propane tanks in – never store these tanks inside enclosed spaces, especially if it is a tiny space.
  • Keep your cylinders in the correct orientation (upright) as listed by OSHA.
  • Tightly close your tank’s valve when you’re not using the cylinder to avoid any gas leakages.
  • Propane tanks have their requalification dates noted on their collars. Please keep track of your tank’s expiration date before you use it.
  • When handling a propane cylinder, make sure you use gloves as well as other safety-protective equipment.

How to properly clean Propane Tanks

Use a water hose alongside a regular cleaning brush to clean your gas tank quickly and easily. Light dust and grime may be removed using this procedure, but tree sap and mold will need more effort.

Using a power washer is the other most convenient option. A power washer will provide you with extra strength to cut through difficult stains and other obstacles that a normal water hose will not be able to handle. On the other hand, using a power washer might be problematic since coming too near to the tank will remove paint. Most tanks will clean up this manner; however, some remnants may linger.

Using a detergent would be the next step. The tank may be cleansed using a degreaser or a two-step soap process. To cut through mold, mildew, and tree sap, use a degreaser that contains sodium or potassium hydroxide, or if a power washer is available, use it; if not, use a water hose. If a power washer isn’t available, apply the degreaser on the tank and scrub it before washing using a garden hose, depending on how unclean it is. Some people advise against using a degreaser since it may compromise the paint if it is applied and kept on for too long, and washing can remove the paint.

Propane is an extremely important substance used in various ways in all of our day-to-day lives. Due to their flammability, though, it is extremely important that you properly take care of it wherever you store it.