The gotcha started innocently enough with me blithely loading our propane tanks into the back of the car and driving to our local Canadian Tire to get them filled—as I had done with no problems in the past—prior to our heading south last fall (2010). However, this time the Propane Guy (PG) said, “I can’t fill them. They are more than 10 years old.” Either this was a new rule since we last had them filled in Canada (it has been in place in Europe for a while) or the PGs who filled them before didn’t check. Whatever.
Anyway, this PG suggested we get them recertified. Well, that might work in theory but I couldn’t find anyone to actually do it. So we had to order 3 new tanks to replace 3 perfectly good ones. The price of bureaucracy!
Our local chandlery in Halifax, Nova Scotia ordered the tanks and I once again loaded them into the car and drove to Canadian Tire. This time the PG filled them, no problem.
After they were filled, I got the bright idea that I should know the date stamp location for future reference. Imagine my surprise when I found that the tanks were dated 2005, 2006 and 2008. Nuts! Two of them were already halfway through their 10-year lifespan. (We eventually got half our money back on the two aged tanks from our local chandlery, but I had to push them…hard.)
So there are two morals to this story:
- If you are planning to travel in Canada or Europe, make sure your propane tanks are less than 10 years old, or you will be joining the raw food movement whether you want to or not.
- Don’t assume that a new tank is necessarily a young tank.
P.S. We just ordered a fourth tank for our upcoming voyage to Greenland and West Marine sent us a tank dated 2007. However, I’m a beaten woman. I just don’t have it in me to go through another fight to get my money back.
Update August 2013: Our friend Hans tells us that you can now get aluminium tanks recertified here in Nova Scotia at Tony Huntley Propane, Lower Branch (Bridgewater). W- 543-8793 , cell- 521-6057. Also at Scotia Propane (Bridgewater). 530-3150.
Update June 2015: Well, getting tanks certified may not be the problem we originally thought in terms of finding someone to do the job (at $50.00 per tank). However, the real problem, which we discovered when taking our long-dated aluminum tank to the recertifier, is getting the bronze valve (which they have to replace to recertify the tank) out of the aluminum tank without stripping the threads. Which is what happened, which means we now have to get a new tank. So only getting 4 years (we got the now defunct tank, dated 2005, in 2011) out of a tank is not funny nor environmentally friendly.