The Full Scoop on Home Depot‘s Propane Tank Exchange Program - Marketing Scoop (2024)

If you‘re a frequent user of propane-fueled grills, patio heaters, or other outdoor appliances, you‘ve likely faced the common dilemma of what to do when your trusty tank runs out of gas. You may be wondering – can I get my empty propane tank filled up or exchanged for a full one at my local Home Depot?

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The short answer is that no, Home Depot does not fill customer tanks with propane at any of their store locations. However, they do offer a convenient propane tank exchange service where you can swap your empty tank for a pre-filled one, allowing you to get back to grilling or heating without delay.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll walk through all the details of Home Depot‘s propane tank exchange program, including how the process works, what it costs compared to buying a new tank, and what alternative options you have for refilling at other retailers. Armed with this info, you‘ll be able to keep your propane-powered gear running smoothly year-round.

How Home Depot‘s Propane Exchange Works

While you can‘t get an empty tank filled at Home Depot, their propane tank exchange is a convenient alternative that allows you to swap your tank for a full one quickly and easily. The process works like this:

  1. Bring your empty propane tank to a participating Home Depot store. Note that tanks should never be brought inside the store for safety reasons – instead, go directly to the propane tank storage cage, which is typically located near the front of the store by the parking lot.

  2. A store associate will assist you in exchanging the empty tank for a pre-filled one. You‘ll pay a fee for the new tank, but it will be less than the cost of buying a brand new tank outright (more on pricing below).

  3. Double check that the valve of your new tank is fully closed and the safety cap is securely in place. Then you‘re good to safely transport the full tank to your vehicle and head home.

It‘s a simple enough process, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you can only exchange tanks that were originally purchased to be part of an exchange program. You‘ll know if your tank is exchange-eligible if it has a special triangular label affixed to it indicating the exchange brand – AmeriGas and Blue Rhino are the most common.

If your tank doesn‘t have an exchange sticker, you likely purchased it outright, in which case you can‘t exchange it at Home Depot but would instead need to get it refilled elsewhere or buy a new tank.

Also note that for safety reasons, Home Depot associates will only exchange tanks that are free of rust, dents, or other visible damage. If your tank is in poor condition, it will need to be replaced outright.

Pricing for Propane Tank Exchange at Home Depot

So how much does it cost to exchange a propane tank at Home Depot compared to buying a new one? As of 2023, a new filled propane tank typically sells for around $50-60 at Home Depot depending on your local market.

In comparison, exchanging an empty tank for a pre-filled one costs around $20-25. So by utilizing the exchange program, you‘ll save roughly 50% compared to buying a new tank each time.

Keep in mind these prices are for the standard 20 lb propane tanks used for most gas grills. Home Depot does also sell larger tanks like 30 lb and 40 lb sizes, which cost more to buy new or exchange.

Propane Tank Sizes Available at Home Depot

Along with the ubiquitous 20 lb tanks, Home Depot sells a range of larger propane tank sizes you can use to fuel bigger outdoor appliances or store as spares. These include:

  • 30 lb tanks: Commonly used for mid-sized grills, smokers, or patio heaters. Costs around $70-80 new.

  • 40 lb tanks: Suitable for larger residential grills or turkey fryers. Runs about $100-120 new.

  • 100 lb tanks: Used to heat outdoor spaces, pools, or large appliances. Costs $200+ new.

Note that not all tank sizes are able to be exchanged – the exchange program is typically limited to just 20 lb tanks. For the larger sizes, you would need to either buy a new filled tank outright, or have your empty one refilled at a propane dealer.

Where Else Can You Exchange or Refill Propane Tanks?

While Home Depot is a convenient place for many to exchange propane thanks to their wide footprint of stores, they are far from the only option. Many other national retailers and gas stations offer propane tank refills or exchanges. Some top options include:

  • Lowes offers a very similar propane tank exchange service as Home Depot, allowing you to swap 20 lb tanks for around $20.

  • Walmart fills propane tanks at many of their stores for about $15 for a 20 lb tank. They also offer exchanges.

  • Tractor Supply Co both fills and exchanges tanks for around $20.

  • Many Ace Hardware and True Value locations provide propane refills for $3-4 per gallon.

  • U-Haul stores with propane services on-site will fill tanks for about $3-4 per gallon as well.

  • Costco is well known for having some of the cheapest propane refills at around $2.19 per gallon for 20 lb tanks, though you need a membership.

If you‘re not near any of those big brands, many local gas stations, hardware stores, and grocers provide propane tank refills or exchanges too. When in doubt, call ahead or check online to verify a location near you has propane services available.

Tips for Safely Transporting Propane Tanks

When bringing tanks to be exchanged or refilled, it‘s crucial to handle them properly to avoid potentially dangerous leaks or combustion. Some key tips for safely transporting propane tanks include:

  • Always keep the tank valve fully closed and the safety cap securely in place.

  • Transport tanks upright and secured in a well-ventilated part of your vehicle, ideally in the bed of a truck or trunk of an SUV rather than in an enclosed passenger cabin if possible.

  • Take tanks directly to/from the store – don‘t leave them in a hot vehicle or store them indoors.

  • Handle tanks gently to avoid dents, punctures, or valve damage. Don‘t let them tip over or roll around during transit.

With proper precautions and common sense, propane tank transport is very safe. But handling this pressurized, flammable material always requires an abundance of caution.

Why Propane Tank Exchanges Have Replaced Refills at Many Stores

You may have noticed that while many retailers used to refill customer tanks in the past, most have now switched to only offering pre-filled tank exchanges instead. This shift occurred mainly due to updated safety regulations.

Refilling a customer‘s tank requires a propane retailer to inspect it for wear, leaks, or defects and then refill it with an appropriate amount of gas based on the tank‘s size and specifications. There is potential for overfilling or not catching a compromised tank, which presents major safety hazards.

In contrast, exchanging tanks eliminates those risks. The tanks available for exchange are pre-filled by licensed professionals in controlled conditions offsite, and then safety checked again before being stocked on store shelves. As such, tank exchange programs significantly reduce the liability for retailers while still allowing customers to conveniently obtain propane.

How to Check Propane Levels in Your Tank

As you use your outdoor gas appliances, you‘ll want to periodically check how much propane you have left to avoid unexpectedly running out mid-cookout. Some easy ways to determine propane levels include:

  • Many newer propane tanks have a gauge that displays the fill percentage remaining.

  • Pour a cup of boiling water down the side of the tank – it will feel warm to the touch where there is no propane and suddenly turn very cold once it reaches the fill level. You can estimate the percentage full based on that.

  • For a rough idea, simply lift or weigh the tank. A completely full 20 lb tank weighs about 38 lbs, while an empty weighs only around 18 lbs. The heavier it feels, the more gas remains.

If you‘re down to 20% or less propane remaining, it‘s a good idea to get your tank exchanged or refilled before your next big BBQ or patio party to ensure you have plenty of fuel on hand.

Propane Tank Safety and Maintenance

To keep your family safe and your propane tank functioning properly, regular inspections and proper usage are critical. Some key safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Regularly examine the tank and valve for any signs of damage like bulges, dents, rust, or hissing sounds that could indicate a leak. If you spot an issue, immediately stop using the tank and get it replaced.

  • Always use propane outdoors in a well-ventilated area at least 10 feet away from any structures, vehicles, or flammable materials. Never store tanks indoors.

  • When not in use, double check the tank valve is securely closed and the safety plug or cap is in place to prevent leaks.

  • During cold weather, avoid letting your propane tank sit empty for extended periods to prevent condensation from degrading the tank‘s interior over time.

  • When having your tank refilled, go to a reputable propane dealer and make sure they do not overfill the tank past 80% of its rated capacity. Tanks need space for propane vapors to expand as ambient temperatures fluctuate.

With the right precautions and care, propane tanks allow you to safely and conveniently fuel all your outdoor cooking and heating needs without the hassles of charcoal or firewood.

Making the Most of Home Depot‘s Propane Exchange Service

There you have it – everything you need to know about Home Depot‘s convenient propane tank exchange program! While getting tanks filled isn‘t an option at their stores, the ability to affordably swap your empty for a pre-filled tank is the next best thing.

Now that you‘re equipped with info on how tank exchanges work, how much they cost, and where else you can get propane besides Home Depot, you‘ll never have to worry about running out of fuel for your grill or patio appliances again.

So the next time your trusty tank reads empty, head to your nearest Home Depot garden center or storage cage with confidence. In just a few minutes and for around $20, you‘ll be on your way with a full tank, ready to fire up the BBQ or keep the outdoor fun going late into the night. Happy grilling!


The Full Scoop on Home Depot‘s Propane Tank Exchange Program - Marketing Scoop (2024)


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