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Old 08-07-2022, 02:54 PM   #1
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Do you let your propane tanks run completely dry before filling?

Travelling on the Alcan up in the Yukon and stopped to get propane tanks filled. Services are few and far between. Anyway, the guy pulls up to the filling area and starts to fill a couple tanks. I ask him to fill mine and he asked me if they were empty. I said close enough to me because I judge by weight. He wouldn't fill them. Said it's "not worth his time". I asked him if that was because he charges a flat fee for tanks and he said no...he charges by the volume used. I was stunned. When I came around I asked if he really expected people in an RV to run their tanks completely empty where they now are stuck without propane until they can find a refill station. This isn't a BBQ grill. I don't want my fridge to cut off while driving. He basically turned his back on me and that was it. He continued to fill the other two tanks but wouldn't fill mine.
So, my question is, is it normal to completely empty your tanks before filling? Was I being unreasonable? Remember, everyone doesn't have multiple tanks (even though I carry three tanks). One time I let my propane run out and it caused the orifice in my fridge flame to get clogged. I assume from contaminates when it ran empty. What about if you are boondocking for a while or driving for 12 hours? Don't you want some propane feeding your fridge?
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:04 PM   #2
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I get mine filled when I choose to have them filled...either empty, half full, or just top off for trip

Never had any place hassle me about 'how much' I got.

Guy was a JERK!
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:11 PM   #3
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I do let my tanks run dry before filling. Not because I expect someone won’t fill them, but since I carry three 20# tanks, it’s also my measurement system.. I just swap out the tank in my truck bed with the empty one, and run that one til it’s empty. So I always have one full tank remaining when I refill the two empties Never experienced fridge jets getting clogged from tank residue, but I’ve got a compressor fridge, so that wouldn’t affect me.
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:29 PM   #4
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You ran into some very poor service there. No reason to not fill propane tanks, no matter how low they may be. He just didn't want to or care to help.

Propane tanks have an 80% valve. No matter quantity in the tank, they are only to be filled to 80% capacity. The 80% valve spits out liquid propane as a signal to stop filling. If it only took a gallon to get there, or if it took 20 gallons to get there. There is just one full mark, at 80%.

I had the opposite experience a few months ago. My regular propane stop was out of service with a bad pump, so went down the street. Wanted to fill a 30 lb cylinder that wasn't empty. Guy hooked it up and threw on the pump without opening the 80% valve at all. I asked if he would please open the valve. Reply was I've been doing this for years and know best how. Well he pumped 8 gallons in there somehow. 80% capacity is 7 gallons and it wasn't empty beforehand.

My best guess is 9 gallons were in there. I stood there looking at a bomb, wondering if I could safely get home. Mentioned the capacity was only 7 gallons and my concern of safety. He charged me for 7 gallons to told me to never come back. My opinion, as well.

Ended up placing cylinder in middle open area of property and bleeding off liquid through the 80% valve small amounts a day over several days with a hose running water at the ready. Left a message with the State Fire Marshall, they couldn't be bothered to call me back.
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:32 PM   #5
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On my travel trailers I would run one tank dry and refill.
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Old 08-07-2022, 05:03 PM   #6
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Maybe he thought it was too much Mickey Mouse. I had that problem in Michigan once but the owner never hassled me, he just overcharged me on the gallon price. I was actually happy they could fill it at all as it was close to closing time on a Friday. They backed up one of their trucks to where I had parked and filled it up.

After the fill and paying I was just happy to have the fuel. So happy that I went back and was going to tip the fella who pumped from the truck a ten spot. The owner, seeing me come back in all of a sudden became kind of sheepish looking and his eyes narrowed. I think he charged me close to four dollars a gallon and it might have been five or so gallons. He was surprised when I laid the ten dollars down and told him it was for his driver. Hope he got it.

I can't condone bribery, if that's what it is, but something extra in his hand may have changed his tune.
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Old 08-07-2022, 05:32 PM   #7
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I generally will run one dry before refilling the 40# tanks. As we head into winter, I will make sure both tanks are full and get one topped off.

The problem is a few places will charge you the full amount for a tank even if it is 1/2 full. Got to Tractor Supply or Ace Hardware and they charge by the gallon.

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Old 08-07-2022, 05:43 PM   #8
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When I was selling propane in Maine some 23 years ago it was illegal to charge for anything but the volume or per gallon amount.
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Old 08-07-2022, 06:15 PM   #9
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Well I have a motorhome so I don't let the onboard tank run dry. But I also have a long hose that connects to a 20# or 30# tank. That's what I use in the summer on my seasonal spot as there are no propane trucks that will come in and fill even a 30 gallon tank.

What I find unusual is that they don't scale a 20# or 30# tank. In fact, my son uses a 100# tank on his travel trailer in the seasonal spot. The scale that too. A good propane guy will just set the scale for the tank weight and when it tips, he's done. When I get ready to move for the season the local Co-Op fills the coach by the gallon at their store. But the 2 20# that I carry they always scale. Doesn't matter if it takes 1/2 gallon or it's empty. It's $15.99 to fill.

In Mexico, there is no such thing as natural gas. The propane trucks are running all over town every day. They show up within an hour of a phone call, fill by the liter, and print out the receipt. On my coach, in my 20# even a 5#. They are just happy I top everything off.
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Old 08-07-2022, 08:40 PM   #10
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I'm shocked by what I'm reading , all the scams some propane dealers are running .

In all my years getting propane filled , everywhere from a RV Park to a Commercial Propane shop I've never been charged a penny more than the advertised cost per gallon .

I would walk away from anywhere that charges more than the cost per gallon.
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Old 08-07-2022, 09:03 PM   #11
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I don't think I ever filled a tank that wasn't empty. Sounds like PMS.
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Old 08-07-2022, 09:15 PM   #12
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Not normal. I just had mine filled last week, was at a quarter tank. Guy made a special run to the filling station just to do my rig too.

I would find a new place if there is another option.
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Old 08-08-2022, 10:45 AM   #13
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I'm lucky with my potable tanks I guess. There's a small town local place that takes good care of people. I almost always carry my tanks there empty but they always ask if they were when they bill me. They don't care, half full or whatever. As long as I get correctly billed. Good enough. Their fill spot is a walk away from where you pay. Last time I was there I dropped my tank and went in to pay. Johnny on the spot filled it before I even dropped my cash on the counter. In other words I was set to wait for him to get to when he said it was done already. After reading this thread I'm slipping that guy a ten spot next time. Should have done it already.

They unfortunately don't fill RV tanks. That service is seriously hit and miss. Well, miss really. I've yet to have it filled by someone who impressed me as knowing what they were doing. King so far was when I asked a guy if he weren't going to put those gloves on. "Nope, I do this all the time." Hmmm, been there a few times and never saw him before but whatever. Suffice to say I think he will be bothering with the gloves going forward.

But in my years of dealing with propane I've never had a butthead like the first poster ran into. The home delivery people say they have a minimum before they will bring a truck out but they've never been rude about it.
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Old 08-08-2022, 02:01 PM   #14
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King so far was when I asked a guy if he weren't going to put those gloves on. "Nope, I do this all the time." Hmmm, been there a few times and never saw him before but whatever. Suffice to say I think he will be bothering with the gloves going forward.

I don't recall ever seeing anyone put on gloves to fill a propane tank. Fill me in on your take on that.

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propane, tank

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