Propane’s Shelf Life. Storage Friendly, Stable & Durable for Years

January 25, 2021 – ,

We are often asked how long propane can be stored before it goes bad.  The simple answer is propane can last for decades. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most storage-friendly, stable and resilient energy sources around. With no expiration date, propane won’t degrade or lose its potency over time, so its shelf life is extremely long. To be clear on the term “shelf life”, it is defined as “the length of time a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale” (Wikipedia). Unlike diesel’s one-year shelf life and gasoline’s three- to six-month shelf life, propane can be stored indefinitely so it is highly effective and convenient for both residential and commercial sectors, and the ideal partner in emergency preparedness plans.

You’re in great hands with propane since propane cannot degrade.  Residential uses include, but aren’t limited to home heat, fueling appliances, powering generators, pool heat, outdoor living, gardening, barbecues and grills, and more.  Commercial uses are plentiful. Just think agriculture, building and construction, restaurants, forklift, autogas, BBQ exchange, and industry/manufacturing.

Moreover, the cylinders which propane is stored also have an extremely long shelf life. This is why propane cylinders are required to be recertified periodically by a qualified propane professional. Getting 30 or 40 years out of a stored propane tank is quite feasible when cylinder maintenance is properly adhered to.

A few examples of how propane beats other fuels hands down in convenience and longevity are home heat, portable cylinders used for BBQ and gardening/landscaping, space heat, forklift, autogas and emergency preparedness.

Oil-fired heating systems are large, dirty beasts that take up valuable real estate and require annual maintenance. The heating oil itself can become unsafe if it has been stored for too long. What is “too long”? Think 18 months or less, and that all depends on how well it’s been stored to begin with.

BBQ cylinders are commonplace. They’re portable, convenient, easily refillable and storable.  When stored correctly, they can stay put for years and don’t require change outs or additives.

Emergency preparedness can mean propane in portable, small cylinders up to and including 1,000 gallon ones.  Items like space heat and generators supported by diesel or gasoline are smelly, can create messy leaks and stains, and must be changed out regularly. But not propane!  Its indefinite shelf life makes it a perfect fuel for portable use or robust standby generator systems that power everything in a home.

With all the convenience, versatility and peace of mind benefits, It’s no wonder residences and businesses love propane.  You can learn more about all the great things propane can do for you by visiting our Residential and Commercial pages.  We’ve got you covered at Paraco, fueling your every day.

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  1. Gerry Ross on June 6, 2022 at 7:14 am

    Can one safely store a 15-pound propane tank, strapped down in a covered pickup truck bed, while driving it cross-country?

    • Kristen Anderson on June 6, 2022 at 9:16 am

      Yes, if the container is secured upright, so the relief valve is located in the vapor space and is prevented from moving/shifting during transit, it is safe to transport a propane container in a covered truck bed.

      A little extra info — a regular grill cylinder is actually 20 pounds and can contain as much as 20 pounds of propane when filled accurately. Exchange containers (pre-filled to a standard 15 pounds of propane) are technically safer as they have a greater amount of vapor space available for liquid expansion if temperatures rise.

      Please be advised that there are some LPG restrictions across the country’s travel routes (especially if tunnels are part of the travel path) that may prevent the transportation of the LPG cylinder in the truck bed, no matter what safety precautions are taken, so look into that before you head out!

      Safe travels!

  2. Kim Zeiss on August 12, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    Can I store my extras 20 pound cylinder in a box that is ventilated in a shade area away from the house? I see propane boxes online and want to prevent tank from rusting.

    • Kristen Anderson on August 17, 2022 at 9:23 am

      Your solution to prevent rust is fine! The intent of the regulations of not storing propane cylinders “inside” is to prevent them from being contained in an area where heat can build up, potentially creating a release of propane from the relief valve, as well as preventing a release in a confined area which could lead to a catastrophic event. Since your box is well-ventilated and well away from the house, it passes the safety check! Thanks for checking, it’s always best to be sure!

  3. Eli Richardson on February 1, 2023 at 9:29 am

    We want to buy a BBQ grill this week to host our party over the weekend, so we’re interested in knowing more about propane filed ones. It’s good to know that portable propane cylinders could last many years if stored correctly, so we’ll keep this in mind when we go shopping. Thanks for describing BBQ cylinders and their maintenance perks.

  4. Thomas Clarence on December 19, 2023 at 1:48 pm

    It stood out to me when you talked about how propane is a storage-friendly energy source. With that in mind, I would think that it would be a good idea to keep propane storage tanks out of the sun. You would want to keep the tanks out of the sun so that the gas inside the tanks doesn’t expand.

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