Propane Tank Laws

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Propane tanks must be constructed with specific components to meet national standards.
Propane tanks must be constructed with specific components to meet national standards. (Image: Propane Tank image by John Walsh from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Propane tank laws and standards are managed by the National Fire Protection Association. These regulations are in place to ensure the safe manufacturing, use and storage of these devices so that each tank poses no threat to the consumers that use them to power barbecue grills around the country.

Propane Cylinder Protective Collar

According to the website for Propane 101, all propane valves are required to be protected by a cap, collar or neck ring. The collar or ring is the location where pertinent data regarding the tank's creation and fill date is placed, along with any instructions for its safe filling. Without a protective collar of some kind the tank is not legal for propane filling and may not be used. The valve of a propane tank is at great risk to damage without a protective collar and if struck, can cause an unsafe propane leak which can turn the tank into a fire-spilling projectile.

Cylinder Foot Ring

Propane tanks are required to have a foot ring to allow them to stand off the ground in a level position. This keeps the tank from falling over and rolling around which is particularly important in a transport setting where the tank could become punctured and potentially explode. Cylinders without foot rings are illegal to refill and may not be sold to consumers.

Cylinder Container/Storage

In order to remain in service, a propane tank's cylinder must be free from significant dents or dings. These imperfections in the tank's principal propane storage unit can lead to a potential rupture which can be dangerous. According to the website for the National Fire Protection Association, propane tanks stored in public buildings are limited to a capacity of 1 lb. Buildings not frequently visited by the public may have a propane capacity of 300 lbs.

Overfill Protection Device

National Fire Protection Association standards require all propane tanks that have a capacity of 4 to 40 lbs. to have an overfill protection device installed. These devices must be installed on all propane tanks manufactured after 1998. Tanks built before that time must have overfill devices retrofitted on them in order to be legally refilled, though the tanks may remain in use until emptied.

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