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The Ultimate Guide to Propane Tank Refurbishment

Wholesale propane tank refurbishing can save you money versus purchasing new ones. It depends on if tanks can be refurbished. Some just need a new powder coating. Others need valves replaced. Read our ultimate guide to propane tank refurbishment.

Remember, we refurbish wholesale bulk tanks rather than one-offs. 

Why Invest in Refurbished Propane Tanks?

You’ll save anywhere from one-fourth to one-third of the cost of new propane tanks. The reason is two-fold: steel prices and labor costs. 

Steel prices are higher across the world (even importing from China). Exacerbating steel prices is that inflation, in general, has caused prices of new goods to go up (although inflation is easing a bit).

Secondly, it costs more labor to make new propane tanks from scratch than it does to refurbish ones that can be refurbished. 

Do My Propane Tanks Need to Be Refurbished?

Look for these signs that your propane tanks need to be repaired or refurbished.

  1. Propane Tank Cannot Be Recertified

Most new propane tanks are good for 12 years. After that, they need to be recertified every five years. A tank that has lost its certification can be refurbished if the tank doesn’t have extensive damage.

  1. Rust and Corrosion Start to Creep In

Even the best propane tanks succumb to the elements at some point. Surface rust and corrosion are salvageable. Discoloration can be a sign of corrosion on the surface of the tank.

The key here is damage must be on the surface. If any damage becomes more extensive, like a complete puncture that causes a leak, a new tank is in order.

  1. Surface Cracks

If you see cracks on the surface of the propane tank, that could be a sign of the paint or powder coating starting to come off. While not a big deal when you first detect them, a surface crack can grow to become a larger problem. Get this type of thing refurbished sooner rather than later.

  1. Bad Meter Readings, Even With New Meters

The easiest way to fix a bad meter is with a new meter. But if that doesn’t solve the problem, there might be something endemic to the tank that’s causing the faulty reading. Another fix could be that the propane tank is no longer on level ground, which is a bigger fix. If neither of these things rectify the problem, it might be time to refurbish the tank to get all-new valves and fittings.

  1. Malfunctioning Valves, Even With New Valves

New valves offer a way to extend the life of your propane tank, especially if it fails to recertify. However, if new valves continue to malfunction, there might be something else wrong with the tank. Refurbishing could help solve this problem. 

Our Propane Tank Refurbishing Process

James River Manufacturing can refurbish wholesale propane tanks by the truckload. If your tanks are close to their recertification date and you want to save money on new tanks, we can help you.

Here’s what our process looks like.

Propane Tank Intake

Before we send a semi to pick up your tanks, we’ll need to see what the tanks look like. Videos and photos are good. We’ll also need to see the certification, data plate, and manufacturer’s labels, as well as documentation associated with each individual tank.

Once we can see that the tanks can be refurbished, we sign a contract and send a semi to pick them up. All tanks must be completely purged before we pick them up for safety reasons.

Arrival at Our Facility

Once we get the tanks at our facility, we barcode them individually for easy identification. The barcodes are attached to our Track Your Tank software so you can see how far along each tank is in the process. Our tracking software is an industry first.


Next is sandblasting. Our team removes everything from the outside of the tank. This removes rust, old paint, discoloration, mold, mildew, moss, and anything else that might have attached to the propane tank over the past dozen years. All that’s left is the original substrate once our sandblasting gets through with each tank, which will be a dull yet smooth metallic surface.


The substrate is now pure and exposed. We’ll inspect every inch of the tank for anomalies not seen before the paint was removed. 

Primer & Paint

Now, the tank is ready for primer and a coat of paint. This will seal the tank to prevent intrusions of rust and corrosion. In the midst of this process, we put a clean data plate on it to show the new manufacturing date.

Electrostatic Powder Coating

Once the underlayer of paint dries thoroughly, it’s time for electrostatic powder coating. We generally use white for powder coating because white reflects heat the most. If you want your brand labels painted on the outside, we can do that, too.

Powder coating adds a permanent layer to the outside of each tank. Our team expertly used a powder sprayer with electrostatically charged powder. As such, the finish spreads over the tank evenly. Once the even coat is there, it goes into an oven, where the powder bakes permanently onto the outer surface of the tank. The only way to remove that powder coating is with another round of sandblasting.

Quality Assessment

Next, we perform a quality assessment to make sure our work is solid. The paint and powder coating should be even, and everything should look and feel bright and new. We’ll give you documentation of the new inspection date.

Valving, Testing, and Purging

Now, it’s time to put on the valves. We only use world-class RegO valves, the best in the industry. They have a 10-year warranty and allow field testing if there is ever an issue with the tank. Not all valves have that kind of certainty.

Next, we purge all of the air from the propane tank to make sure there isn’t any inside. Air is the bane of propane. Methanol is added after that to prevent any moisture in the propane tank from freezing. Small amounts of methanol work for two reasons. One, methanol has a substantially lower freezing point (-144 degrees Fahrenheit) than water. Therefore, any moisture in the tank won’t freeze, and everything will be kept in a liquid form. (Small amounts of moisture form in the tank due to sudden temperature changes.) Second, methanol stays separate from propane because it’s lighter. It naturally gravitates toward the top of the fluid level rather than sinking. This difference in weight allows the methanol to act more effectively as the propane starts to move through the valves.


After everything checks out after adding valves, purging air, and adding methanol, we tag everything properly to meet DoT and OSHA regs. You’ll have the confidence in knowing that our experts properly refurbished the tanks to your exacting standards.

Loading & Shipping

Lastly, we load your tanks onto a flatbed truck and ship them back to you. It’s as easy as that! Our team takes care of everything from start to finish.

To have your propane tanks refurbished, contact us or call (417) 288-4979.


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