Do Camping Gas Canisters Expire? (Read This First)

Do Camping Gas Canisters Expire

Camping outdoors requires all the materials that make you feel at home, especially gas canisters for heating and cooking food. 

However, a thought may cross your mind if you’ve had a gas canister for many years before using it. 

Has it expired/ Is it still safe to use? These questions are valid because leaked gas can harm humans and the environment. Hence the question, do camping gas canisters expire?

Camping gas canisters expire after some time. However, they can last 10 years, provided you regularly store and inspect them during refill. Additionally, endeavor to use it all whenever you unseal the canister, as storing them unsealed will make them explode. And improper storage can cause rust & deterioration, which hasten expiration. Lastly, never expose them to sunlight and extreme temperatures.

Dealing with gas cylinders is a delicate issue requiring extreme caution. And if you own one without knowing its expiry date and how to now, here’s a detailed article. 

You’ll also discover how to find your gas canister’s expiry date and signs of an expired one.

How Long Are Camping Gas Canisters Good For?

Do Camping Gas Canisters Expire

High-quality camping gas canisters can last an average of 10 years. Even some canisters can last more than this or, unfortunately, less than the average lifespan. 

It all depends on its storage. A properly stored gas canister has no moisture or oxygen inside it as it’s appropriately sealed to prevent any entry hence canceling interior rust. 

Additionally, if owners follow the guideline to store these camping cylinders in cool, dry places, external deterioration due to rust will occur slowly, especially with galvanized canisters.

Also, it depends on the canister type you own, as newer models of composite tanks and aluminum ones can’t rust since they lack steel. 

And lastly, to ensure your camping gas canisters last long, avoid overlooking the valves, hoses, and other fittings. 

But there are some tips to help you increase your gas canister’s lifespan and maintain it.

We’ve outlined them below in a table of Do’s and Don’ts.

What to DoWhat Not to Do
Prioritize high-quality valves and use copper tubes and pipesStore it in extreme temperatures and near corrosive and oxidant materials
Avoid dragging or rolling the gas canister, as it can damage it.Keep them laid on the floor and under direct sunlight.
Inspect the safety cap and change its controller & cap if dormant for a long time.Keep them within children’s and animal’s reach or in places with poor ventilation.
Manually open gas canister valves. Using tools may damage them and cause a leak.Store camping gas canisters below ground level

Where Can You Find the Expiry Date on Camping Gas Canisters? 

Confirming your gas canister’s expiry date is vital to prevent the complications of using an expired cylinder. 

Below we’ve explained two different methods to find the expiry date on your gas canister. The first one is simple. 

All you need to do is look around the canister’s collar region near its top. Look around, and you’ll find a stamped number inside. 

It may be difficult to read at first, so you’ll have to go closer or even use an extra light from a torch. It contains a month and year imprint. 

For instance, if you see 08/23, it implies your gas canister will expire in August 2023. If it exceeds 10 years, you’ve got an expired cylinder. 

And as such, don’t refill the cylinder to avoid putting yourself and those around you in your home or area in danger. 

After every ten years of use, you must test and restamp them according to the Australian regulations of LPG gas canisters. 

This test will help determine if your cylinder is fit for use or if you should dispose of it. 

The next step to determining your gas cylinder’s expiry date is looking for it on the metal strips attached to the canister’s body. 

You’ll see it’s lettered A to D with a number, and you can decode it easily. The A letter signifies the month and the number, the year.

Below is the monthly alphabetic division.

  • A signifies January to March
  • B means April to June
  • C implies July to September
  • D signifies October to December

If you find the alphanumeric code A20 painted on your canister, it means March 2018.      

Can You Use Camping Gas Canisters After Expiry? 

You can use expired camping gas canisters if you’re certain they’re still in good working condition. 

However, it’s generally advised against refilling them. Before using them again, you should have an LPG cylinder specialist test them for safety. 

If you own an expired cylinder, below are some guidelines for whether they’re still usable.

#1. Examine the Gas Canister for Flaws  

Before using these expired cylinders:

  1. Scrutinize them to check for any rust, holes/leaks and inspect the valves to see if they’ve worn out or have suffered damage.
  2. If you notice any defects, don’t use them as it exposes you to gas leaks which can cause an explosion when in proximity to open flames.
  3. If this is the situation, release the remaining gas in an open place and dispose of the canister safely. 

#2. Avoid Refilling and Using Leaking Gas Cylinders

Gas canisters deteriorate with age; older ones are more vulnerable to damage and may have holes causing gas leaks. 

And this is particularly prominent in expired canisters. Using a leaking camping gas canister is highly dangerous, so confirm whether it leaks beforehand. 

A simple test to verify this is the popular soapy water test. You have to spray the solution around the canister’s valves and regulator and check for bubbles or gas smell as the sign.

#3. Don’t Use Second-hand Camping Gas Canisters

It’s best to avoid such canister qualities as you don’t know how the previous owner treated or stored it. 

Suppose they didn’t follow the appropriate storage and handling instructions. They might have invariably pressurized the cylinder’s inner walls in that case. 

That makes the gas canister a ticking bomb, and dropping it on a hard floor can harm the valve, possibly causing a tear.

#4. Verify If Your Canister Has the CRV Logo

The countersink release vent logo means the cylinder has vents that allow the canister to expand when the pressure increases under extreme heat to minimize the chances of an explosion. 

Will Camping Gas Canisters Explode After Expiry? 

It’s likely for camping gas canisters to explode after expiry because the valves and regulators may have weakened. 

Hence, the gas leaks through it and explodes when exposed to heat. It also explodes when stored/handled improperly or under any stress that increases pressure beyond normal. 

Below we’ve explained some conventional reasons your camping gas canisters may explode.

#1.  Increased Pressure

Extreme pressure buildup in gas cylinders due to exterior temperature resumes in explosions.

Temperatures exceeding 125 degrees Fahrenheit cause the gas inside the canister to expand and, in turn, maximize the pressure beyond its safe range resulting in an outburst. 

For example, you’ll likely experience an explosion if you put your camping gas canister next to open flames.

#2. Overfilling the Gas Canister

Refilling a camping gas canister above its set limit increases its pressure. When this happens, the cylinder will explode. 

The increased internal pressure can result in unfortunate events like leaks or bursts.

#3. Improper Storage

Mishandling or improperly storing gas canisters isn’t recommended. Refer to the table above on Do’s and Don’ts of storing gas canisters. 

Additionally, remember that while these canisters last long, they’re vulnerable to damage, and their longevity depends on how we care for them and store them safely.

How Can You Tell When a Camping Gas Canister Has Expired? 

The most common and easiest way to detect an expired camping gas canister is by checking for its expiry date. 

You can refer above for guidelines on how to find the expiration date on your canister. 

Generally, after five to ten years after purchase, inspect your canister to confirm if you’ve used it past the designated time. 

Also, you can take it to an expert to test it to determine whether it’s ready to be disposed of. Next, consider its storage duration. 

Although your camping gas canister may not have reached its expiration, storing it excessively over long periods can influence its efficiency. 

Lastly, visual clues like its physical condition, like rust or extremely worn-out valves and parts, are proof of its expiration. 

Can You Refurbish an Expired Camping Gas Canister?

No, it’s not recommended to refurbish an expired camping gas canister. 

Refurbishing expire gas canisters means giving them a new look by painting them to brighten them up and make them look brand new, which is false. 

It doesn’t remove the fact that they may be unsafe for use again. Gas canisters usually have a limited life span; once they expire, you should properly dispose of or recycle them. 

Refurbishing camping gas canisters is unsafe and may cause ruptures and other worse situations.

Additionally, disposing of them may not be as healthy for the environment as you think; hence, recycling expired canisters that can’t work anymore is best.

Practical ways to recycle expired camping gas canisters are:

#1. Return Them to the Original Suppliers

Business owners and household users can return their expired gas cylinders to the supplier they purchased them from. 

They can test it to see if it’s still worth using and continue using it, or they’ll set up a recycling arrangement. 

#2. Schedule a Commercial Pickup

Licensed companies can set up collections of expired and old camping gas bottles. They pick them up and move them to close waste management industries for refurbishing.

#3. Go to Your Nearby Recycling Facility 

Confirm with your local officials if there are licensed waste recyclers in your area that accept metal gas canisters. 

If they do, ask them where to drop the cylinders off, and don’t dispose of them with other household trash. 

In conclusion, to make your gas canister recyclable, you must discharge all gas by using it up or opening the valve in ventilated places. 

After doing this, use a strong, sharp object to create a hole in the canister as recommended, and mark it as empty. Afterward, proceed with any recycling arrangement you’ve made.

Josh Matthews

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