Skip to content

How To Clean A Propane Tank For A Smoker | 6 Easy Ways

6 Easy Ways - How To Clean A Propane Tank For A Smoker

When you are working with an empty propane tank you have to be super careful otherwise bad things may happen. You have to make sure that it is fully empty and ready to clean or make a cut. Here you will find all those things that you are looking for. 

To clean propane make sure all the gas or liquid is out and you have purged it fully. Then take out the valve with a hammer. Pour in soap and water and fully clean it and repeat this until all the soap is out. Any kind of dish soap will work nicely for this cleaning. 

But there are some more steps to this process that are mandatory for all kinds of propane tanks while cleaning for refilling or recycling that everyone must follow. 

How To Clean A Propane Tank For A Smoker?

Before you can do anything with a propane tank you have to make sure that it’s fully empty and there is no gas left on the tank. For that use a screwdriver and push it on the valve until all the gas comes out. Then use a hammer to tap down the valve which will create a hole on top. Now you can proceed with the cleaning part:

  • Once you’ve taken out the valve turn it upside down for overnight to make sure the remaining gas is out
  • To purge the tank you can use your motorbike or scooter. Turn on your scooter and put the tank right underneath the exhaust and let this run for a minute 
  • Now to clean the inside of the tank you can use any dish soap. Just pour some of that in there, grab your water hose and fill it up halfway
  • Now twirl the tank around and dump the water out. Do this step two or three times so the tank is fully clean on the inside
  • Make sure there is no more soap left inside the tank
  • To check for any propane residue, hold a torch inside the tank through the hole and see if it lights up or not 

What Is Propane Used For

Propane can be used in a variety of ways from home heat and cooking to fueling vehicles and grain drying. It’s a byproduct and it’s sorted in underground caverns and then loaded onto trucks and distributed that way. So if you put it in a container or pressurize it, it’s easy to transport. 

Everyone knows that propane powers grill-outs. Propane also powers hockey season.  And the growing season, forklifts, school lifts,  bath time, and even commute time, etc. Propane powers more than we could even imagine. 

Propane Tank Size Chart

Tank %58 Gal120 Gal250 Gal325 Gal500 Gal1000 Gal
10% 612253350100

Propane Vs LPG

Propane LPG
It exists in two forms, liquid and gas or vapor. Both liquid and gas are usable but cannot be used interchangeably. Propane gas becomes a vapor at temperatures above -44 degrees FLiquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is a fuel in liquid form at or below its boiling point (-44 degrees), and then it is stored under pressure, otherwise, it turns to gas or vapors
It is a combination of butane and propaneIt is a combination of methane and ethane which is settled on top of crude oil 
Liquid propane creates a lot more carbons and is heavier and goes through your system at a higher pressure LPG is lighter than air and bonds hotter and it has a lower pressure
It is mainly used for engines, barbecues, portable stoves, and home heatingIt is mainly used as a vehicle fuel
Smaller orifices are used to supply liquid propane Bagger orifices are used to supply LPG

How To Empty A Propane Tank At Home

The reason why one may want to drain out a propane tank is for storing the empty tank indoors. It’s never a good idea to keep a propane tank inside the house and it’s better to drain it all out before storing it. 

Step 1

First, keep the propane tank away from any structures and any flames. Second, use a long screw preferably with ceramic or coating so that it reduces the chance of creating a spark. There will be a valve on top of the tank and if you open it nothing will come out. 

Step 2

There will also be a check valve under that where you have to insert the screwdriver and hold it until the tank is empty.

Step 3

You’ll notice a condensation. It tells you the level of liquid propane that’s left. This process takes a while si you may want to just leave it outside for a while. Tip it upside down to make sure nothing is left. It’ll take almost 6 hours to empty a 15 lb grill propane tank. 

How To Cut The Top Off A Propane Tank

To cut open a propane tank follow the instructions below:

  • Take out the expanding foam from the top of the tank 
  • Take a shop vac and put the hose on the blowing side of the tank. Now turn it on so air can go inside and come out from the smaller holes
  • Take your tape and measure from the bottom so that you can make your mark of the needed height where the cut will be
  • Wrap a toe strap around the marking, tighten it, adjust it, and it will act as a straight line 
  • To cut your tank you can use an oxy-acetylene torch or a cut-off wheel or a plasma cutter 
  • Lay your tank on the floor and use some wood sticks on the sides so it does not move or slide or roll while cutting
  • Take your time and slowly cut the tank 

How To Empty A 500-gallon Propane Tank

When it comes to emptying large propane tanks the safest way to do that is to hook a burner up to it and light it and let it burn that way until the flame goes out. Then you’ll know you’ve got all the vapor out. Then pop the print gauge off. 

Or you can also use a shop vac. Just take off the foam front of the top and insert the hose pipe of the vac. This will insert air inside the tank and the propane vapor will come off from the smaller hole slowly. This might take a bit but you have to be on the safe side always. 

How Do I Cut A Hole In A Propane Tank Without Blowing It Up

If you want to cut a hole in your propane tank safely then or if you want to cut a propane tank you have to make sure that you are following all the steps correctly without skipping any.

  • First, lay down your propane tank on the floor and take a screwdriver. Push the screwdriver into the check valve and let the gas or Vapor come out until the tank is fully empty
  • Use a grinder to cut off the round handle that is on top of the tank. Do it slowly so there is less spark 
  • Now lay down your tank again and use a hammer to tap down the valve on top. Once the valve is off it will create a hole in your tank
  • But if you want a hole in any specific area then use a drill to make that hole on the tank

Final Verdict

Recycling propane tanks is so common that most people try to make something out of an empty one. But the problem is if you are not aware of the danger before cutting into it you might regret it. Because even an empty-looking propane tank can create huge flames. So you have to take all the precautionary measures that we have mentioned here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Do You Clean The Inside Of A Propane Tank?

After emptying the tank you can use any kind of dish soap and water to clean the inside of the tank. Rinse at least 3 or 4 times before cutting. 

How Do You Purge A Propane Tank Before Cutting?

To purge a propane tank you can use a motorbike or a blow torch. If you are using a motorbike, then turn on the bike and hold the tank onto the exhaust and let it run for a minute or two. But if you are using a blow torch then turn on the valve and light it on so that all the gas that was inside burns slowly until the flame blows off 

Can You Use A Propane Tank For A Smoker?

Yes, you can. Intact empty propane tanks are mostly used for this purpose in many households. But make sure the tank is fully clean and use it outside. 

How Long Does A Smoker Propane Tank Last?

Usually, a 20-pound propane tank in a modicum-sized smoker will last about 18-20 hours or so. But if you are using a larger-sized smoker then it might last even less. 

How Do You Clean And Paint A Propane Tank?

After emptying the propane tank you can just use soapy water to clean the inside of your tank and rinse with lots of water so that no soap is left. Then sand down the outside of the tank so no rust or bump is left and the surface is smooth. Then just use spray paint or a brush to paint your propane tank. 

How Do You Purge A Propane Tank Before Cutting?

To purge a propane tank you need to take off the valve that is on top of the tank. But first, use a screwdriver to push onto the check valve to take out any gas. Then use a hammer to take off the valve. Once the valve is output, hold a torch on the hole and it will create a flame. If it flames then leave it like that until the flame is off. 

Do Propane Tanks Need To Be Wiped?

It is not always necessary. If you ever realize any propane leak from the tank then just use a cloth soaked in soapy water and wipe it off nicely. Otherwise no need!

What Happens If You Don’t Purge A Propane Tank?

If you do not purge your propane tank then it will be filled with air which will prohibit any of your appliances to function properly and even dangerous things might also happen.