Propane fuel: how old is too old? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-20-2019 Thread Starter
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New-to-me boat came with a 2gal aluminum propane tank. LP fuel in the tank is at least one year old, possibly 2-4. Tank was stored topside so it took plenty of sun and heat (sailed the SP and Hawaii waters). The question is: I just bought a new Mercury LP powerd outboard engine, 5hp, that I use as power/propulsion (no inboard on the boat, a Albin Vega 27).

Is the fuel and tank still good to use on my spankin' new engine?

I baby my appliances so am willing to swap for new -- either just new fuel or both new tank/new fuel.

Much appreciated for any advice. Thanks!!

Last edited by Vega27; 12-21-2019 at 01:29 AM.
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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

How would propane gas spoil? Contamination.... seems unlikely. What is the pressure reading?
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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

Have not taken a reading. Re contamination, as I'm a newbie to propane and specifcally longer term storage -- in sun and heat, in aluminum -- am merely seeking more experienced hands.

What would I look for re pressure? Guages can be had at my local Home Depot.

Thank you!
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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

No way is one-year-old propane "too old." I have used propane that sat in the bottle for a decade, and had no problems with it at all. I wouldn't worry about it in the least.
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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

Propane will outlast the tank it’s stored in. It’s a pretty clean, singular fuel. Unlike gasoline, which is a concoction of chemicals, some of which will separate out in time. I literally believe it lasts for decades.

The tanks, on the other hand, have 10 or 12 year expiration dates.
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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

Isn’t propane a byproduct of decaying dinosaurs? Adding a couple of decades to 65,000,000 years shouldn’t change it much.
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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

Most of it is extracted from natural gas I believe.

It’s been a long time since science has realized that natural gas and crude could not have all come from decayed organic matter. In many cases, it’s found much deeper than geologic time would say the “fossils” existed. It’s also possible that methane is generated by the earths core, but that hasn’t been proven yet. Imagine that.


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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

Should have no issues as long as you have the correct OPD, new Type 1 valve. 2 lbs won’t give you much range. The old bombs are only 1 lb.

We have a Tahatsu 5 hp propane outboard. It is a great engine and starts 1st time every time. Beginning of the year it’s good to bleed the chamber till you smell a little gas or you need to pull it into it.

We bought a fiberglass 11 lb fiberglass tank and strap it with webbing under the seat. Advantages are 1- you can see level of propane left and 2- will never rust.






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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

Propane does NOT degrade even with particularly low or high storage temps.

From https://www.sosxtremecomfort.com/blo...-propane-last/ which has essentially the same info as all other propane sites I have seen:
"Does Propane Expire?
First up comes one of our most important questions: Will your stored fuel expire? And we’re glad to say no, it will not! Unlike fuel sources that can degrade over time (kerosene, diesel, gasoline), propane fuel has no expiration date, nor will its potency suffer while being stored. The only thing you need to worry about when storing propane is maintaining the health and integrity of the propane storage tank. You need to have on-site tanks re-certified every decade, and it’s wise to get the tank inspected by a professional to detect any possible leaks annually."
So go ahead and use what you have and then have the tank checked before re-filling if you feel it is necessary for your peace of mind or regulatory requirements.
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Re: Propane fuel: how old is too old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldfurr View Post
Propane does NOT degrade even with particularly low or high storage temps.

From https://www.sosxtremecomfort.com/blo...-propane-last/ which has essentially the same info as all other propane sites I have seen:
"Does Propane Expire?
First up comes one of our most important questions: Will your stored fuel expire? And we’re glad to say no, it will not! Unlike fuel sources that can degrade over time (kerosene, diesel, gasoline), propane fuel has no expiration date, nor will its potency suffer while being stored. The only thing you need to worry about when storing propane is maintaining the health and integrity of the propane storage tank. You need to have on-site tanks re-certified every decade, and it’s wise to get the tank inspected by a professional to detect any possible leaks annually."

So go ahead and use what you have and then have the tank checked before re-filling if you feel it is necessary for your peace of mind or regulatory requirements.
I suggest you run the tank through your home BBQ and start fresh with a full tank.

We take our two boat ( oven and Grill) aluminum tanks home (11 lb) and also the dinghy fiberglass one and run them out through our home BBQ . They get refilled at the start of the season, so we know we are starting with full tanks .


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