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Anybody have a good method to transfer propane from the 500 gallon tank to the grill tank? Seems that the filling the grill tank costs about $4 a gallon but the 500 is $1.50.

Whats the rig that works the best and doesn't break the bank? I anticipate its an Evacuation Valve onto the Dip Tube and a hose and a tank valve. What else should I be looking for?

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  • There are youtube videos online. One of them starts with "do not try this yourself, you will blow yourself up and injure innocent bystanders".
    – Mattman944
    Oct 15, 2019 at 0:29
  • This is also worth a read: forum.difflock.com/…
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 15, 2019 at 7:54
  • Cautionary tale where one company tried to move propane from one tank to another... njherald.com/article/20130314/NEWS/909020462
    – gbronner
    Oct 15, 2019 at 20:33
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's essentially about appliance usage.
    – isherwood
    Feb 17, 2021 at 22:02
  • Wow, you guys are judgy. I didn't do it, for many reasons. But all I got is WOW!
    – Trout
    Feb 17, 2021 at 22:22

3 Answers 3

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When I asked our builder and the gas supplier about this, I was told unequivocally no. None of them wanted to get involved in any way in allowing a homeowner to be able to fill a propane tank.

I was told that this was a "safety issue". As has been typical, the people I was actually talking to don't know the code chapter and verse and so could not of course document any actual legal prohibition. But they were adamant that there was in fact a legal prohibition, and that being able to fill a propane tank at home was a non-starter.

Even if it turns out that their information isn't perfectly accurate, it's clear that filling a propane tank is at least a little finicky, and you will want to make sure that the equipment is installed by a professional, and that you are given adequate training not only on the process, but how to deal with things if/when the equipment doesn't work as expected.

Some quick research online, and I can add to the above:

  • At the very least, it is likely you will need your bulk propane tank retrofitted. Filling a grill tank (typically a 20 lb tank) requires liquid propane. While your bulk tank has liquid propane in it, the propane that comes from it for domestic use is the gaseous propane at the top of the tank. You would need a separate "liquid propane tap", which involves connecting to a different line attached to the tank that pulls from the bottom of the tank. It seems that while it is common for this line to be present, it normally is not configured to be usable by the homeowner. Your gas supplier would need to attach appropriate hardware to the tank to allow its use. Which brings us back to the point above.

(Aside: you need to fill with liquid propane, because just as evaporating the liquid propane reduces the temperature, allowing frost to accumulate on the outside of the tank, compressing the gaseous propane enough to condense it will heat it up. Even if you had a pump available capable of compressing the gaseous propane that you get out of your bulk tank, to fit it into the grill tank over any reasonably short period of time you'd wind up heating the propane up enough to be dangerous.)

The bottom line is: if you can find a gas company that is willing to help, this is possible. But it's not DIY, at least not to get things set up initially.

There is, no surprise, a lot of conflicting information to be found online. IMHO, a lot of it comes down to just how willing you are to risk blowing yourself up. FWIW, I found this post one of the more useful and apparently well-informed.

My favorite quote from that thread, regarding the wisdom of installing the necessary adapter equipment on your bulk propane tank yourself:

if you insist on doing it yourself, get you family to go out for the day, move your car or truck at least 100 yards away and leave you wallet and a note in your vehicle. It will help the emergency response folk understand what happened if there's an accident.

You may also find some useful discussion here: https://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/rural-living/137881-20lb-propane-tanks-can-you.html. As always, take everything you read with a grain of salt. That's especially important here; looking through these threads and others, it's clear a number of people have successfully filled their own propane tanks without killing themselves, only due to them having remarkably competent guardian angels.


For what it's worth, what you _can_ do (i.e. what my gas supplier has done) is provide a quick-release tap near the grilling area, so that the propane grill can be connected directly to the household supply.

Note: this may require some tweaking of the gas regulator(s). Weber, for example, requires the customer to contact them directly to obtain the hook-up kit. I have read in their customer reviews (though didn't see anything in their official documentation) that propane grills require 14 water column-inches of pressure, while normal household pressure is 11 wc. This would require a separate regulator for the gas hookup than for the other household taps, something that the gas supplier would need to provide for when installing the tap.

Update: Since writing the previous paragraph, I have acquired a Weber grill and the necessary parts to connect it to our household bulk propane. Note that I already had the gas installers provide a pipe with a shutoff valve at the barbeque area. To order the Weber parts for the hookup, I was required to provide them with the serial number for my grill. Even with that, the parts included only the two mating parts of a quick-release connector, along with the hose and regulator to connect to the grill. I still needed to purchase the necessary adapter fittings to go from the quick-release connector to my gas line (if I recall correctly, the Weber parts had a 3/8" threaded connector while the gas line was 1/2").

The gas pressure turned out to not be an issue. The Weber parts are designed to work correctly with the standard household pressure of 11 water-column inches.

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The easy way...that wont blow up your home.....run a new gas line off the 500 gal line that goes to the house to the bar b. Other wise be safe pay the 4 bucks a gal

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The people who say don't do it are the same people who say don't use a chain saw - use a butter knife to cut a tree down because "they feel safer" saying that. But those people shouldn't respond to these kinds of questions because they wouldn't know the answer if it hit them on the head since they're afraid of their own shadow.

Plenty of people safely fill up the 20 pound propane tanks from 500 pound residential tanks, where what you need is the wet valve or liquid withdrawal valve described at the Propane101 site https://www.propane101.com/liquidwithdrawalvalve.htm

The $40 3/4" NGT x 1-5/8" MNPT, 22 GPM M458 adapter and ME449 Liquid Withdrawal Valve liquid withdrawal valve is shown here https://www.dultmeier.com/products/0.763.772.3325/6708 where the dip tube isn't shown.

Using rough but realistic numbers, we can assume the price for propane in the 500 gallon residential tank is somewhere around ~$3/gallon without sales tax, while the refill at U-Haul (or wherever) is somewhere around ~$4/gallon plus sales tax. Using those numbers, you save about five dollars per refill on a 20-pound tank (which is usually filled to around 4-1/2 gallons or so depending on temperature and attendant).

None of that is your problem - the problem is ROI since the 10 foot 1-5/8"-20 F. POL Liquid Propane Transfer Tank Grill Filler Fill Hose is over $250 on Amazon or at Nash Fuel which means you'd break even after refilling fifty 20-pound cylinders. https://store.nashfuel.com/products/1-5-8-20-f-pol-liquid-propane-transfer-tank-grill-filler-fill-unloading-10ft https://propane-tanks.com/propane-transfer/1-5-8-20-f-pol-liquid-propane-transfer-tank-grill-filler-fill-unloading-10ft/ https://www.amazon.com/Liquid-Propane-Transfer-Filler-Unloading/dp/B07BHFN8PV

In general, the high cost of the transfer hose means you'd only go this route for the sheer convenience and fulfilling satisfaction of refilling your own tanks at home - but you're not going to break even until you fill about fifty 20 pound tanks.

Only then does the setup start making money for you - which all tools must do to be worth their storage costs in your garage.

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    In case you hadn't noticed, there is a strong tendency among humans to read "Yes, but", but to only register "Yes". We tend to err on the side of caution here because so many people do end up hurting themselves through their own sheer stupidity, then blame it on someone else - have you noticed all the warning labels on a ladder? Also, the currently most upvoted answer indicates that it can be done and what needs to be done, but after all the cautions. Your answer seems to indicate that it's worry free which is... worrying...
    – FreeMan
    Nov 2, 2023 at 11:25

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