15 Ways to Save Money When Refilling Propane Tanks

How to Save Money when Refilling Propane Tanks
Prices of Propane

Whether you’re preparing for a summer barbecue, warming up your home in the winter months, or powering your RV for a road trip, propane tanks play a crucial role in various aspects of our daily lives. However, refilling these tanks can be a costly affair if not approached with the right strategy.

On this guide on ‘How to Save Money when Refilling Propane Tanks’ provides valuable insights and practical tips to help you economize your propane usage and save money.

From understanding the ins and outs of propane pricing to investing in cost-effective practices, we will help you navigate the world of propane refills without burning a hole in your wallet. Get ready to fire up your grills and heaters, while keeping your costs on a low flame!

Here are the ways you can do to save money:

(1) Know Your Options

There are a few different ways that you can go about refilling your propane tanks. Depending on your situation, some might make more sense than others.

Your first option is to find a local propane dealer who will refill your tank for you. This option is likely the most straightforward and might also be the most convenient.

You can simply drive to the propane dealer, refill your tank, and be on your way. You can also find an independent contractor who will come to you to refill your tank. This option is a little less straightforward, but it might make sense if you don’t live close to a propane dealer.

You can also have an agreement delivery with a company so that they will come to you to refill your tank. This option might be the most convenient, but it’s also the most expensive because there is an additional delivery cost you have to shoulder.

Your last option is to purchase a refill attachment for your tank do the refilling by yourself, if you have an extra full tank. This option would allow you to do the refilling yourself. This option would save you the most money, but it would also take a significant amount of time. We do not recommend refilling the tank yourself as it is a safety risk.

(2) Shop Around for the Best Price

You should always be looking for the best price. This applies to everything, including the cost of refilling your propane tanks.

Make sure that you shop around for the best price on refills. You can do this for both the cost of the propane and the cost of the refilling itself.

Propane is often cheaper when purchased in bulk, so be sure to ask your propane dealer if they offer any bulk deals. You should also ask around for other dealers or suppliers near your locations.

Some companies might charge less for the service than others. You can also use websites like Craigslist to find out where the cheapest places to refill your tank are in your area.

You can also ask friends, relatives, or colleagues where the best option to refill a bottle is.

(3) Find a Way to Earn Cash Back on Refills

If you’re a member of a certain rewards program of a company or dealer, you can earn cash back on refills. A lot of these programs allow you to use their partners to get the refills done.

If you’re a regular customer of a company, they might offer you cash back, you can earn as much as 5% cash back when you purchase from a company on a regular basis.

Propane retailers usually have a reward system being offered to their customers, we do want to mention names of big boys in the industry, but if you happen to have a refill from them, don’t forget this option to slash some dollars on your purchase.

(4) Utilize a Propane Tank Ownership Program

If you don’t own your own propane tank, you can still save money on refills by utilizing a propane tank ownership program. When you sign up for an ownership program, you will be given a tank that you can fill whenever you need to.

This can save you a significant amount of money. Many of these programs will also let you choose your own tank. This means that you can choose the size of your tank based on how much propane you will need throughout the year.

This will allow you to minimize the frequency with which you need to refill your tank.

(5) Choose a refill service with a loyalty program

Many propane refill services will also have their own loyalty programs. These loyalty programs are designed to reward you for being a loyal customer. In some cases, these programs will even let you earn free refills.

By choosing a propane refill service with a loyalty program, you can earn free refills as long as you are a loyal customer.

(6) Install a Propane Tank Monitoring System

If you have a propane tank at home, you can install a monitoring system on that tank. This monitoring system will let you know when your tank gets below a certain level.

This can be particularly helpful if you are using a larger tank that you need to refill less often. Monitoring systems can also help you to avoid refilling your tank at the wrong time of year.

This is important because different months bring different weather conditions. This can affect both the price of the propane and the amount of propane that the tank will hold.

Monitoring systems will help you to know when refilling your tank is a smart move.

(7) Find Out If You Are Qualified for Any Discount

Some propane dealers will offer a discount to customers who frequently refill their tanks. If you are currently refilling your tank at a certain propane dealer and you haven’t asked about a discount, you should try to do so.

Companies usually offer a 5-10% discount depending on the month of the year.

You can also ask if they offer any other types of discounts for bulk orders, this is particularly helpful if you have a lot of tanks to refill. This might help you to save money on refills.

(8) Find Out If You are Eligible for Rebates

If you are purchasing a new propane tank, you might be eligible for a rebate. A lot of propane dealers offer a rebate for customers who purchase a new tank. This rebate can help to offset the cost of the tank.

(9) Participate in Propane Co-Operatives

Propane co-ops have been around since the 1960s and they have grown in popularity over the last decade. There are now hundreds of propane co-ops across the US and they often negotiate special rates with suppliers in your area.

You may spend $40 to $60 on your annual membership fee but you will save up to 30% on your propane requirements if you participate in this option.

(10) Find a Propane that is Near Your Location

When you are able to find a propane company near you, you don’t have to drive long distances and the delivery would be relatively cheap.

A company that is closest is important because whenever you have a problem in your tank system, they can easily dispatch their technician to come to your location in the shortest time possible.

(11) Stock Up While the Gas Is Still Cheap

Refilling during months when the propane prices are still not rising is the best option you can do to save because during these months the prices are $30-$50 cheaper compared to other months of the year.

This option is perhaps a great choice if your tank at home is relatively large or have a large number of empty tanks for a refill.

(12) Get a fixed rate

If your propane bill is starting to give you heartburn, it may be time to negotiate a fixed rate with your propane company. A fixed-rate plan could offer protection from rising prices and provide predictability for your budget. To find out if a fixed-rate plan makes sense for you, contact your propane company and ask about their rates and options.

They can help you determine if a fixed-rate plan is available in your area, and explain the terms and conditions. Be sure to ask about any fees or penalties associated with a fixed-rate plan, and get the details in writing before you agree to anything.

Once you’ve decided on a plan, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before signing any contracts. With a little research and negotiation, you can find a propane plan that meets your needs and gives you peace of mind.

(13) Save with Propane Rebates & Deals

Want to save on your propane costs? Check out these simple tips:

1. Keep an Eye on Government Rebates

  • Visit Government Websites: They often list rebates or deals to promote clean energy or help with costs.
  • Sign Up for Newsletters: Get direct updates about new rebates straight to your inbox.
  • Watch the Local News: Sometimes, they’ll announce helpful government incentives.

2. Manufacturer Deals on Tanks & Refills

  • Check Company Websites: They’ll post about their latest deals or discounts.
  • Ask at Stores: Sometimes, retailers have exclusive promotions with manufacturers.
  • Join Loyalty Programs: Some companies give discounts or points for every purchase, which can add up.

3. Think Long-Term Savings

  • Every Bit Counts: Even small rebates or discounts can add up over time.
  • Choose Efficient Models: They might cost more upfront, but you’ll save with lower fuel use over time.
  • Support the Economy: By using government deals, you not only save money but also help the broader economy, which can benefit everyone in the long run.

Stay alert, take advantage of rebates and deals, and think about the long-term benefits. With a bit of effort, you can make your propane usage more budget-friendly.

(14) Buy in Bulk

Considering buying propane in bulk? Here’s why it could be a smart move:

1. The Economics of Bulk vs. Small Quantities

  • Lower Price Per Unit: When you buy in large quantities, suppliers often offer a discounted rate per unit.
  • Fewer Refills: This means fewer trips to the supplier, saving you both time and transportation costs.
  • Price Stability: By purchasing in bulk, you can lock in a price and protect yourself from short-term price fluctuations.

2. Storage Facilities for Heavy Users

  • Cost Savings: For those who use propane regularly, having a storage facility can mean buying when prices are low and storing for future use.
  • Convenience: With your own storage, you have propane on hand whenever you need it.
  • Safety: Proper storage facilities ensure propane is kept safely, reducing the risk of accidents.

3. Cooperative Buying Groups

  • Collective Bargaining Power: By joining forces with others, you can negotiate better rates as a group than you might get individually.
  • Shared Storage: Some co-ops invest in shared storage facilities, giving members access to stored propane at stable prices.
  • Community Support: Being part of a cooperative isn’t just about savings; it’s also about supporting and being supported by a community.

Bulk purchasing of propane offers significant economic advantages, especially for heavy users. Whether you’re investing in your own storage facility or joining a cooperative, buying in bulk can lead to substantial savings and added convenience.

(15) Keep the Propane Tanks Maintained for Efficiency

To ensure your propane tank runs efficiently and safely, regular maintenance is crucial. Here’s a breakdown of its importance:

1. Regular Checks and Maintenance for Longer Tank Life

  • Visual Inspections: Routinely check for signs of rust, dents, or any visible damage to the tank.
  • Valve Check: Ensure valves are not corroded and operate smoothly. A malfunctioning valve can be a safety hazard.
  • Pressure Testing: Over time, tanks can lose their integrity. Pressure testing can help determine if your tank is still safe to use.
  • Protect from Elements: Use covers or store in shaded areas to protect from extreme weather conditions, which can weaken the tank’s structure.

2. Efficiency with a Well-Maintained System

  • Optimal Burning: A clean and well-maintained propane system ensures optimal combustion, meaning you’ll get more heat for the same amount of propane.
  • Prevent Wastage: Dirt and debris can cause partial blockages, leading to propane wastage. Regular cleaning can prevent this.
  • Consistent Pressure: Maintaining the system ensures consistent pressure, delivering propane efficiently to appliances, ensuring they work optimally.

3. Cost Implications of Leaks and Inefficiencies

  • Wasted Propane: Even minor leaks or inefficiencies can add up over time, leading to a significant loss of propane and, therefore, money.
  • Safety Concerns: Leaks, apart from being wasteful, are also hazardous. A significant leak can lead to fire risks.
  • Increased Wear on Appliances: Inefficient propane delivery can cause appliances to work harder, reducing their lifespan and increasing maintenance or replacement costs.

In a Nutshell: Regular maintenance and checks are more than just chores; they’re essential for the efficient and safe use of propane. An efficient system not only saves money by reducing waste but also ensures the longevity of the tank and connected appliances. Always prioritize safety and efficiency to maximize the benefits of your propane system.

Understanding How Propane Pricing Works

Propane pricing can seem complex, but once you grasp its basic elements, it becomes easier to navigate.

Understanding How Propane is Priced

  • Factors Affecting Propane Prices: The pricing of propane is influenced by a variety of factors. These include the cost of crude oil and natural gas, which are the raw materials for producing propane. Other significant elements include the costs associated with refining and transporting the propane to retailers, and even supply and demand dynamics can significantly affect the pricing. Weather conditions also play a part; during cold seasons, for instance, higher demand can cause prices to rise.
  • Price Fluctuations and Their Reasons: Prices of propane are not static; they fluctuate due to various reasons. Market forces like changes in the global supply of crude oil or geopolitical events can impact prices. Seasonal demand changes, severe weather conditions, or logistical issues in the distribution network can also cause prices to fluctuate.

Understanding the Difference Between Propane Exchange and Refill

  • Cost Comparison Between the Two: Typically, the cost of refilling your existing propane tank is lower than exchanging it for a full one, primarily because you’re only paying for the gas in a refill. In exchange, you’re paying not only for the propane but also for the convenience of an immediate full tank, the maintenance and inspection of the tanks, and potentially for a share of the costs of the exchange program itself.
  • Pros and Cons of Both Methods: Refilling your tank is generally more cost-effective and can be a better option if you have a newer tank that you want to keep. However, the process might take longer, and refilling stations are not as ubiquitous as exchange locations. On the other hand, exchanging a tank is quick and convenient, with many retail locations offering this service, including grocery stores and gas stations. However, it might cost you more, and there’s a chance you could receive an older, requalified tank in exchange.

By understanding these aspects of propane pricing and the differences between refilling and exchanging your propane tank, you can make more informed decisions that align with your needs and budget.

Negotiation Tactics for Propane Costs

Want to get the best deal on your propane? Here’s a simplified guide to negotiation tactics:

1. Build a Relationship with Suppliers

  • Stay Loyal: Consistently buying from the same supplier can get you recognized as a valued customer.
  • Engage in Small Talk: A friendly chat can build rapport. Ask about their day, share a little about yours.
  • Remember Important Details: Did they mention a family event or a vacation? Asking about it next time can show you care.

2. Strategies for Price Negotiation

  • Be a Repeat Customer: Suppliers often offer better rates to those who come back.
  • Buy in Large Volumes: The more you buy, the more bargaining power you have. If you use a lot, consider buying more at once to negotiate a better rate.
  • Do Your Research: Know the average market price. If you’re informed, you can negotiate better.

3. Bulk or Off-Season Purchases

  • Buy When Demand is Low: Propane might be cheaper during off-peak seasons. Consider filling up then.
  • Ask About Bulk Discounts: If you’re buying a lot, ask if they offer a special rate for bulk purchases.
  • Plan Ahead: If you know you’ll need propane in the future, consider pre-ordering or setting up a future delivery at today’s price.

In Short: Building a good relationship with suppliers, understanding when and how to negotiate, and planning your purchases can lead to better prices and savings on propane. Don’t be afraid to ask and always be prepared!

What Month is Propane the Cheapest?

The cost of propane tends to fluctuate based on various factors such as demand, production levels, and external elements like crude oil prices. In many regions, especially in the U.S., propane prices tend to be influenced by seasonal demand.

Generally, propane is cheapest during the late spring to early summer months. Here’s why:

  1. Lower Demand: After the winter heating season and before the summer grilling season, demand typically drops. With reduced demand, prices may also decrease.
  2. Winter Preparation: Propane suppliers and distributors often build up their inventories during the summer in preparation for the next winter. This increased production can lead to reduced prices for consumers.
  3. Other Factors: Crude oil and natural gas prices, from which propane is derived, can also impact propane prices. If there’s a drop in crude oil or natural gas prices during certain months, it might lead to cheaper propane.

However, it’s essential to note that these trends can vary based on regional factors. For instance, in areas without a significant winter heating demand, the price fluctuations might be less pronounced. It’s always a good idea to monitor local prices and trends, and if possible, lock in lower rates when they’re available.

You Need to Maximize Tank Usage Before Refilling to Save

Want to get the most out of your propane tank before topping it up? Here’s how:

1. Tools & Methods to Check Propane Levels

  • Tank Gauges: Some tanks come with built-in gauges, but if yours doesn’t, consider purchasing an external one.
  • Water Test: Pour warm water on the side of the tank. Feel the tank’s surface. Where it’s cold, that’s your propane level.
  • Weight Check: Empty propane tanks have a “tare weight” or “TW” marked on them, which is their empty weight. Weigh your tank and subtract the tare weight to estimate how much propane is left.

2. “Empty” vs. Reserve

  • Not Truly Empty: Even when a tank feels empty, there’s usually a reserve left to ensure impurities at the bottom don’t get into your grill or heater.
  • Safety First: This reserve acts as a safety buffer. Using up every last drop isn’t recommended as it might harm your appliances or be unsafe.

3. Costs of Premature Refills

  • Wasted Propane: If you refill too soon, you’re not using all the propane you paid for.
  • More Frequent Refills: Over time, premature refills can lead to additional trips to the supplier, wasting both time and money.
  • Price Fluctuations: Refilling often might mean you miss out on better prices available during off-peak seasons.

Quick Tip: Maximize your tank usage by regularly checking propane levels and understanding that a tank is never truly empty. Avoid the financial pitfalls of refilling too soon, and always prioritize safety.


In the ever-changing landscape of energy costs, being proactive and informed is not just a choice—it’s a necessity. Whether you’re looking at the seasonal fluctuations of propane prices, considering bulk purchasing, or exploring alternative suppliers, knowledge is your most potent tool. By staying updated and making informed decisions, you position yourself to maximize savings without compromising on quality or safety.

Combining multiple strategies can be the key to unlocking significant savings. For instance, while buying propane during off-peak months might save you money, coupling that with bulk purchasing and regular maintenance can amplify those savings.

However, as we chart the path to cost-efficiency, safety should always be our North Star. Every decision, every strategy must be viewed through the lens of safety. Cost-saving opportunities are beneficial only when they don’t jeopardize the well-being of our homes and families.

So, as you venture into the world of propane savings, equip yourself with knowledge, be strategic, but above all, prioritize safety. Remember, the best deals are those that bring warmth to our homes without burning a hole in our pockets, all while keeping us secure and safe.

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