How to Fill a Small Propane Bottle of a Household Propane Tank

A standard propane tank can be used along with an adapter to refill 1-lb. propane bottles.
A standard propane tank can be used along with an adapter to refill 1-lb. propane bottles. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Propane is a convenient heating and cooking fuel that is sold in both large tanks (20, 30 or 40 lbs.) and small bottles or canisters (1 lb.). Small propane bottles, which are often used for camping stoves and heaters, can be refilled from household propane tanks such as those used for barbecue grills. Refilling a propane bottle from a propane tank requires an adapter that allows you to connect the bottle to the tank. Once you connect the adapter to the tank and bottle, the filling process takes only about one minute.

Things You'll Need

  • Access to home freezer
  • Empty propane bottle
  • Propane tank (used for barbecue grills, RVs, etc.)
  • Refill adapter
  • Liquid soap and water

Cool the propane bottle by keeping it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. The tank from which it is being refilled should be kept at a temperature no higher than 85 degrees F.

Insert the threaded lug end of the adapter into the propane tank valve and tighten with a wrench. Connect and hand-tighten the cap end of the adapter to the threaded cap of the chilled bottle.

Turn the tank and bottle upside down. The tank should rest on its metal assembly that surrounds the valve.

Turn the gas valve of the tank on for one minute. Close the valve as soon as one minute has passed.

Turn the tank and cylinder right side up.

Disconnect the propane bottle first and check it for leaks. To check a bottle for leaks, place a 50:50 mixture of liquid soap and water on its opening (at the top of the threaded cap) and on its relief valve (the valve at the top of the canister, located diagonally across from the cap). If you see any bubbles, dispose of the bottle immediately in a safe place, far from heat, flame or sparks.

Remove the adapter valve from the propane tank using a wrench. You can now use your refilled bottle(s) and your propane tank as you normally would.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not smoke when refilling a propane bottle.
  • Make sure the adapter you use is correct for the size of propane tank that you have. Some are rated only for 20-lb. tanks, whereas others are rated for 20-, 30- and 40-lb. tanks.

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