What do I do with a “dead” propane tank?


Dead Tank

A propane tank marked with the words “dead” on the tank indicates the tank is no longer capable of servicing propane-powered appliances.  We are referring to big tanks here, not small cylinders used for RV’s or grilling.  Small cylinders are handled differently.

Important regulations related to the discontinuation and transportation of dead tanks in the state of Texas are defined by the RRC (Railroad Commission).  If you want to know the rules for your particular state, consult your local state propane association or regulating body.  In addition, you can call a local propane company for information.

How do we know the tank is dead?

While some appurtenances (valves, gauges, etc.) that become faulty can be replaced to allow the tank to remain in use, there are other requirements necessary to keep the tank in service.  When we inspect your tank, we will be looking for the following:

  • The manufacturers nameplate is present and legible.
  • The tank is free of severe rust, pitting and deep dents that could weaken the metal and result in leakage.
  • The age of the tank is also important.  Older tanks have obsolete valves and can’t be replaced should they become faulty.
  • Tank will hold pressure.

If your tank fails inspection, it will be marked “dead” and we will advise you of various disposal methods.

How do we dispose of the tank?

Your first step is to label your tank properly wherever it is stored.  You must mark it with the words “dead’ in large letters.  Your dead tank cannot be placed back in service, however, it can be recycled.  You can accomplish this in three ways.

The first way is to sell it to someone with the expertise to turn it into a smoker or bbq grill.  The tank is probably worth between $75-150, depending on the size if sold this way.  In addition, we recommend you have the buyer sign a release of liability.  If there is any gas left, it must be pumped off or released to 0% by a licensed propane professional.  Department of Transportation (DOT) can fine the transporter heavily for relocating any stationary tank with gas.

Your second option is to scrap the metal.  Scrap yards have certain rules for accepting propane tanks.  For example, you may have to cut a hole in the tank.  This is likely above the ability of most homeowners to perform safely.  Also, scrap yard metal pricing varies, so call first.

Calling a local propane company is your third option.  Ask if they will haul the tank off for you and if there is a fee for this service.

Sometimes, putting a tank back into service is cost prohibitive.  For example, the type of fill valve used on the tank may be so expensive to replace that it exceeds the entire value of the tank.  In this case, we will recommend simply replacing the tank.

As you can see, dead tanks are more complicated than expected.  Therefor,  it is highly advisable to seek advice from a propane professional before selling your dead tank.


We can answer your questions regarding the safety of your tank and other propane-related question.  Our contact number is 817-279-8750.

This blog was produced by:

Cleburne Propane, LLC Granbury, TX and Weatherford, TX and

Cleburne Propane, LLC Glen Rose, TX and Cleburne, TX

You can refer to our location map to see if we service your area.