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Why Do Propane Tanks Stop Putting Out Gas?

Propane is a fuel used for home heat, barbecue grills and recreational vehicles. It is a convenient way to supply fuel. The propane tank can be removed, taken to the local propane distributor and refilled or exchanged. You reconnect the new propane tank only to find that the tank is not discharging propane into the supply line. The tank does not have many component parts, so there are only a few things that will cause this discharge problem.

On/Off

Gas grill using propane as fuel.
The propane tank shutoff valve screws on and off.

The first thing to check when your propane tank stops putting out gas is whether the on/off valve is engaged and you have a full propane tank. You must shut off the valve before replacing. Make sure that when you reinstall the propane tank, you turn back on the shutoff valve. Since the shutoff valve screws on and off, the threads on the valve can get stripped over time. A stripped shutoff valve will prevent you from opening the valve. The valve will turn easily, but will not move, preventing you from opening the valve and gas being released into the supply line.

OPD Valve

The overfill prevention device (OPD) is a valve that protects the propane tank from being overfilled. The OPD valve has a safety design that prevents propane from discharging until it is connected to the supply line. An internal valve is actuated by being depressed by the supply line connector. The supply line connector must be designed to fit an OPD valve. As the supply line connector is tightened, a brass fitting presses on the internal valve of the OPD. When the fittings work properly, propane will flow freely into the supply line. The internal valve on the OPD can jam or become damaged, preventing the brass fitting on the supply line connector from depressing the valve. The brass fitting on the supply line connector can become damaged, preventing it from depressing the OPD internal valve.

Clog

One of the most common problems that stops a propane tank from putting out gas is a clog in the valves or supply line. Dirt, debris or a defective component can cause the OPD valve, supply line connector or supply line to get clogged, preventing the flow of gas into the appliance. Check these components for any debris that can clog the device and clean each component before reconnecting.

Regulator

The propane regulator can freeze, preventing propane from flowing into the supply line. A regulator is a barrier between supply line pressure and the high pressure coming from the propane tank. As the gas appliance is being used, the liquid propane within the tank boils, preventing the regulator from freezing. If the gas appliance is not used for a period of time, the regulator will freeze. Once the regulator is frozen, it stops putting out gas. Do not attempt to change the regulator under these conditions. Take the propane tank to a authorized dealer or local distributor and exchange the tank.