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Refill vs swap. The capacity of the standard 20 lb propane tank is, well.. around 20 lbs. Several years ago, some swap services started to underfill tanks. For example, it’s my understanding that Blue Rhino fills to 15 lbs and Heritage Propane fills to 17 lbs.
For me, refilling a tank to 20 lbs is actually less expensive than swapping it out. For the purpose of comparison, let’s say that refilling and swapping are the same… $20 to swap and $20 to refill. The fill costs you $1/lb. If you’re refilling with a vendor that fills to 15 lbs, you’re paying $1.33/lb or 33% more.
When you refill your tank – You’re, generally, saving money, You’re supporting a local business and saving yourself time because you don’t have to get propane as often.
Extra tanks. I suggest having an extra tank (or two) of propane on hand. Running out of propane mid brew is a bummer. It is inconvenient and you can end up with a different beer than you intended because of the delay. This can also be a money saving thing too if you refiller charges by the tank. Since you don’t want to run out of propane on brew day, you may be more likely to swap or refill a tank that still have propane left in it.
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Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application. Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application. Always read and follow manufacturer directions.
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