When you purchase a new gas grill, you will also need a full propane tank before you get started barbecuing. After a time you will need to refill the tank once it's empty. Remember to remove your propane tank from your vehicle as soon as you get home. Do not bring a tank indoors. Store propane in a well-ventilated area in your garage or other sheltered outdoor location away from heat and flame. Make sure your grill knobs are all turned to the "off" position before installing a propane tank. The following are a few simple steps to purchasing and safely installing a propane tank for your gas grill.

Usually stores that sell gas grills also carry empty or filled propane tanks. New tanks will be found inside the store while, for safety reasons, filled tanks will be available outside. Make sure you purchase a compatible tank for your particular grill as outlined below. Prices will vary, but usually a new filled tank will run around $50 and if you are exchanging an empty tank, will cost about $20. You can also look for gas stations that will refill your current tank. The best places to find new or exchangeable tanks are grocery stores, some pharmacies, gas stations or big box stores like Home Depot or Wal-Mart. Shop around for the best prices.

Most new gas grills will come with a tank connector that can be screwed on by hand. This is called an Acme valve. This type of connection requires a tank with external threads. Older tanks will not work with these connectors. These newer style tanks and fittings are designed to prevent the release of gas unless the connection is installed correctly and securely. As such, you should not use a plug on this style tank, because this will nullify the safety features already in place. Make sure the cylinder valve (the wheel-like piece on top of the tank) is securely closed. Secure the tank in its proper location under the grill and connect the gas hose to the propane tank by fitting the hose collar to the tank and turning it until it is secure. Don't over tighten, but make sure you turn it enough to prevent gas leaks. Open the cylinder valve. If you smell propane, close the cylinder valve and try reconnecting. If there is still a propane leak, you should replace the tank and/or replace the gas hose and connector. Do not light the grill if you suspect there is a propane leak!

Older grills will have a connector that must be screwed in and tightened with a wrench. These tanks have a POL valve. They must be plugged for transport and storage since they do not have a built-in leak prevention feature. Keep in mind; it is now illegal to refill POL valve tanks, though they can be used for exchange. New tanks with an Acme valve will still work on older grills because they have internal threads as well. Place the tank securely in position beneath the grill. Connect the hose to the tank and secure by turning the connector counter clockwise with a wrench. Tighten the connection securely, but don't over tighten to avoid stripping the threads. Turn the cylinder valve and listen for leaks and notice if you smell propane. If so, the connection may not be tight enough, or the tank or hose and connector may need replacing. Do not light the grill until you are sure you have a secure connection or you may cause a fire.

Purchasing a new propane tank or replacing an empty one is simple. Once you find the best price for your purchase or exchange, choose a tank that will work with your grill's connector. Follow the steps above to ensure a safe connection and read your grill manufacturer's documentation before proceeding with the installation. With attention to safety, you will have your propane securely installed and you and your family will be happily grilling in no time!


North Carolina Division of Agriculture and Consumer Safety