Many truck campers prefer to have their propane tank refilled instead of exchanging them.
Refilling the propane is a better dollar value than exchanging them at a big box store or truck stop.
Generally, the exchanged tanks are filled with about 3.5 gallons of propane rather than 4.7 gallons – the maximum limit of 20 lbs. As a result, a standard 20 lb. refilled tank will weigh 19.9 lb.
Standard truck camper propane tanks are filled to no more than 80% capacity. A valve at the top of the cylinder called “overfill protection device” (OPD) is required on all cylinders to prevent overfilling. The 20%Required is called “ullage” and allows for expansion during temperature swings which play a significant role. The risk of overfilling is complicated because the liquid in the tank will expand in warmer weather as the pressure in the tank increases from about 60 psi at 30 degrees F to about 200 psi at 100 degrees F. The tank may also cause the relief valve to open and spill liquid propane onto the ground causing damage, injury, and even a fire.
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