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Two things, smoker efficieny, and tank refills

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    Two things, smoker efficieny, and tank refills

    You guys are getting your tanks refilled and not exchanging them, right? When I was ready to fire up the Frigidaire I looked at purchasing a tank Vs. getting one from the exchange. To start the exchange with no core tank was $54.00. I ended up buying a new 20lb. tank from Tractor Supply for $30 and filling it for another $10, for a savings of $14.00.

    Yesterday I took an empty exchange tank to Tractor Supply and had it filled. At the same time I had the tank from my smoker topped off. Total cost was $12.33 for 6.2 gallons.

    The tanks do need to be recertified after 12 years, so look for the date stamp on the handle/valve guard.

    For the second question, how efficient are your gas smokers? I have no idea what 'normal' is, so nothing to compare it to. I started the Frigidaire with a new full cylinder. The smoker has run for over 35 hours. Additionally, when the tank for my gas grill ran empty I used the smoker tank for a couple of cooks. After all of that the tank was still 63% full. I know when I run the smoker I have to turn the needle valve way down. Is this normal? About how many hours do you get from your tank on your smoker?

    i trade in my tanks at the moment because i have some gift cards to use up. refilling the tank actually costs more than exchanging it. somebody did tell me, however, that the exchange tanks aren't filled to the same weight as the filled ones. i need to do some experimenting to figure out if that is true. i guess i need to cook more food!

    i am amazed by how much smoking i can get done with my smoker tank. last year i used one tank and i did butts twice, ribs twice, tri tip and i only used it up when my grill ran out and i swapped them out. i don't know how many hours i got out of it but "a lot" is a good answer.


      Originally posted by DeusDingo View Post
      somebody did tell me, however, that the exchange tanks aren't filled to the same weight as the filled ones.
      More like, some are and some aren't. I have seen them very short, but have also seen them full. When you fill it you pay for what you get.

      The 35 hours I got out of my tank was the initial fire-up, which was about an hour with a little less than 20 minutes wide open, then a 3 hour loin, then ribs, then two butt cooks of 11 hours or so each. There is also preheat time to consider.

      When I decided to go gas I had no idea what to expect but I figured that if I went through $10 worth of propane per cook it was no different than charcoal. As it turns out I am spending about a buck. That's amazing to me, might be cheaper than electric!


        Have a close look at the label on exchange tanks. At the bottom you will see "Net Weight 15lbs". They are 20lb cylinders (even with the appropriate head space, they will hold 20lbs), but they are only filled with 15lbs of propane. Around here, exchange tanks cost about the same as a refill ($20-$22). For me, I can refill tanks for $20 and get 20lbs of propane, or I can exchange a tank for $22 and get 15lbs of propane. The devil is in the details...


          20lb tank in Helena, MT costs just a tich over $14 to refill, which is a lot less than an exchange.


            Home Depot and Lowe's tank enchange only give you 15Lb and the tanks hold 20Lb. Just a point that you really lose a lot of $$ doing the exchange.


              $12 to refill where I live. South Dakota.


                I believe that the exchange tanks are only filled to 3/4 full to allow for any expansion that could happen due to environmental changes. Propane expands when hot and contracts when cold. A tank filled to the brim sitting in the sun on a hot july day could be a receipe for disaster.


                • Powersmoke_80
                  Powersmoke_80 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  IMO It is still deceit because they are considered 20 lb tanks and at a re-filler you get a full tank (a little less due to the new style safety shut off valve).
                  The Propane Exchange only put the lower amount on the label Now, because they got Busted!
                  Currently prices for propane are down so do they fill them full? No because most people don't pay that close attention and get taken advantage of.
                  @ DeusDingo @ andyturn

                  Last edited by Powersmoke_80; January 3, 2016, 04:47 PM.

                • Huskee
                  Huskee commented
                  Editing a comment
                  andyturn Powersmoke_80 We'd probably be surprised if we truly knew the extent we're getting ripped on everything we do/buy from day to day... I buy propane to heat my house (no natural gas option, and a wood/pellet stove wouldn't work for my layout) and the gauge on my pig tank never says what the receipt claims it says when they fill it. They tell me things like 'outside temp affects the gauges' and 'those gauges aren't accurate, the ones on our pumps are' & 'we follow regulations'...yada yada. They could be telling the truth or ripping me off blind, what do I know.

                • andyturn
                  andyturn commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Powersoke_80, I can see your point. Our curbside trash pickup service raised their rates when fuel costs went through the roof. Now that they have gone back down I am guessing they aren't going to lower their rates back to what they were.


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