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LPG Gas Cylinder Testing Procedure Facts - Gas Bottle Expiry: LPG Gas Bottle Expiry Date

Gas Bottle Testing Facts - Gas Bottle Expiry - LPG Expiry Date

LPG gas cylinder testing must be done every ten or fifteen years by a licensed test station. The gas cylinder testing procedure includes LPG gas bottle expiry date confirmation, degassing, internal & external physical inspection, valve replacement and a new LPG gas bottle expiry date stamp. LPG gas cylinder testing procedure may also include any refurbishment or painting required.

LPG gas cylinder-bottle testing must be done every ten or fifteen years because the LPG gas bottles expire. It is illegal to fill a gas bottle that is past its LPG gas bottle expiry date but you are allowed to use it, past the LPG gas bottle expiry date, if it still contains gas.

10 year LPG gas bottle expiry applies to BBQ sized bottles whilst larger home and commercial size bottles are now 15 year LPG gas bottle expiry date.

What is LPG Gas Cylinder Testing (Gas Bottle Testing) Procedure & LPG Gas Bottle Expiry Date

LPG gas cylinder testing procedure, when gas bottles expire, in summary:

• Gas cylinder testing of gas bottles, cylinders and larger tanks must be done periodically for safety and re-certification, when gas bottles expire.

• LPG gas bottle expiry date periods vary, with 10 year LPG gas bottle expiry date being the most common for BBQ LPG gas bottle expiry date period.

• The LPG gas cylinder testing date is permanently marked or stamped when gas bottles expire.

• The LPG gas bottles are subject to internal and external gas cylinder inspection and testing for rust and any other damage.

• Physical LPG gas cylinder testing procedure, including pressure tests, may be required depending on the type and size of vessel and the country where tested.

• LPG gas cylinder testing normally includes the replacement of the main valve when gas bottle testing takes place, for re-certification, when gas bottles expire.

• A new LPG gas bottle expiry date, of equivalent duration, is stamped into the neck ring after the new LPG gas cylinder testing.

• Only approved LPG gas cylinder testing facilities are authorised to do gas cylinder testing and re-certify gas bottles, cylinders and tanks when gas bottles expire.

Gas Bottles 

Gas bottles are typically steel vessels for storing LPG (propane).  BBQ gas bottles come in 9kg and 4kg gas bottle sizes. Home gas bottles come in 45kg, 90kg and 210kg sizes.

Gas bottles contain liquid and gas, as LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas - liquefies under relatively low pressure.

LPG gas bottle sizes vary, with small BBQ gas bottles being portable, as used in camping.

 

LPG Gas Cylinder Testing Procedures & Inspection: Step-by-Step Summary

After the 15 or 10 year LPG gas bottle expiry date, and any subsequent fifteen or ten year periods, the LPG gas cylinder testing must be redone. The cylinder 'test station' will stamp a new inspection date into the neck ring, assuming that the LPG gas cylinder testing passed.

The following is a step-by-step summary of LPG gas cylinder testing procedure and inspection, when gas bottles expire:

  1. Determination that the 15 or 10 year LPG gas bottle expiry date has been reached.

  2. External gas cylinder testing is performed.

  3. LPG Cylinder is degassed to allow for internal gas cylinder inspection & testing.

  4. Old valve is removed and an internal gas bottle inspection is done.

  5. The cylinder neck and valve threads are inspected for any damage as part of the LPG gas cylinder testing procedures.

  6. A new LPG gas bottle expiry date is stamped into the cylinder neck ring.

  7. A new valve is installed after successful completing of gas cylinder testing.

  8. Any required refurbishment, including painting, is performed.

  9. The cylinder is ready for refilling and return to use.

  10. Any cylinders that failed the LPG gas cylinder testing, at any point, are condemned and recycled.

Please note that if at any time a cylinder fails part of the LPG gas cylinder testing procedure, they condemn the cylinder without bothering to do any further gas cylinder testing.

Continue reading to learn the details involved in each step…

Do Gas Bottles Expire - LPG Gas Bottle Expiry Date - How to Find the Date Stamp

Gas Bottle Expiry - LPG Expiry Date

Gas bottles do expire on the LPG gas bottle expiry date for LPG bottles or cylinders.  LPG gas bottle expiry date periods vary – with 10 to 15 years being typical.  When the 15 or 10 year LPG gas bottle expiry date is reached, the gas bottles expire and can be used but cannot be refilled.

10 year LPG gas bottle expiry date applies to BBQ sized bottles whilst larger home and commercial size bottles are now 15 year LPG gas bottle expiry date. From 2009, as a result of Elgas complying with the requirements of AS 2030.5, all 45kg to 210kg cylinders in Australia had their inspection frequency increased from a 10 to 15 year LPG gas bottle expiry date.

The cylinder manufacturer places the original inspection stamp on the neck ring at the time of manufacture.

The gas bottles inspection stamps are valid for ten years to LPG expiry date, when gas bottles expire.

After the 15 or 10 year LPG gas bottle expiry date, and any subsequent ten year periods, the gas bottles expire and LPG gas cylinder testing must be redone.

The cylinder 'test station' will stamp a new inspection date into the neck ring, assuming that the cylinder passes the gas cylinder testing.

So, inspection is always important to examine the entire neck ring to find all of the LPG gas bottle expiry dates that may be present, as it is impossible to remove the old stamps.

 

How Long Do They Last Before Gas Bottles Expire

BBQ sized gas bottles expire after 10 years. Larger 45kg to 210kg gas bottles expire after 15 years. To determine when gas bottles expire, you need to look at the gas bottle's neck ring, where the date stamps are located.

Look carefully all around the neck ring, as older bottles may have more than one date stamped into the neck ring.

External Gas Cylinder Testing

External Gas Bottle Testing - fire damage

The external surface of the gas bottle is inspected for defects, as defined by the applicable LPG gas cylinder testing Standard, AS 2337.1-2004. Failure in any one category of the gas cylinder tesing is cause for condemning the gas bottle.

The kind of things they look for during the inspection are swelling of the cylinder walls, the depth and diameter of any dents, the length and depth of any gouges, the depth and intensity of any corrosion, the presence of any cracks, or any damage from fire or heat.
The gas bottle in the picture was condemned for fire damage.

LPG Gas Cylinder-Bottle Testing Preparation by De-gassing

degassing for gas bottle testing

At the start of the LPG gas cylinder-bottle testing process, the gas bottle is totally emptied of any remnant gas.  The old gas valve is then removed to facilitate the internal gas cylinder testing.

A degassing station is shown in the picture to the right. 

Internal Gas Bottle Inspection & Testing

LPG gas bottle with corroded cylinder neck area

LPG gas cylinder-bottle testing includes an internal inspection.  Any gas bottle that fails to meet the gas bottle testing Standard is condemned.

A flexible scope, with illumination, is used for the inspection of the inside of the gas bottle. 
The interior inspection is  for rust, scale, corrosion or any contamination. 
Normally, if the bottle has been kept either full of LPG or empty with the valve closed, internal rust and corrosion are not a problem.

Cylinder Neck

The neck of the gas bottle is a critical area of gas cylinder inspection & testing, as it is the point of attachment for the valve. Once again, failure in any area of LPG gas bottle-cylinder testing is cause for condemnation.

The valve threads are inspected to see if they are clean and intact, damage free, free of burrs and cracks or any other imperfections that could affect the integrity of the connection.

New LPG Gas Bottle Expiry Date - LPG Expiry Date

New Date Stamping of Gas Bottle Expiry - LPG Expiry Date

Gas bottles that pass all of the LPG gas cylinder-bottle testing are stamped with a new LPG gas bottle expiry date, showing the month and last two digits of the year. 

In addition the test station stamps its own unique test station mark onto the gas bottle. 
Both stamps are typically applied in previously unmarked areas of the neck ring, as shown to the right.

Valve Installation After Successful LPG Gas Bottle-Cylinder Testing Procedure

Valve Installation After Successful Gas Bottle Testing

After successful LPG gas cylinder-bottle testing procedure, the next step is the installation of a new valve, as shown in the picture.  The old valves are discarded and recycled.

Refilling

While not part of the formal 15 or 10 year LPG cylinder testing procedure, the new valve installation should always be leak tested when refilled. 

In fact, this is the standard procedure for all subsequent refilling, as well.

Additional Swap Scheme Procedures 

Swap programs, such as SWAP'n'GO®, also refurbish the gas bottles after gas cylinder testing but before they are refilled.

Refurbishment

LPG gas bottles on an automated paint line

In addition to the normal 10 year LPG BBQ bottle test expiry date procedures, over half of the gas bottle inspections by SWAP’n’GO would also be repainted.  Many would also be shot blasted prior to painting. 

The end result is a refurbished gas bottle in near new condition, with a new LPG gas bottle expiry date stamp that is valid for ten more years. 

The picture shows gas bottles being repainted on an automated coating line.

Gas Bottle Recycling

Condemned gas bottels with large punctures for safe decommissioning

SWAP’n’GO bottles that fail gas bottle testing are condemned, when gas bottles expire.

They are safely retired by punching a large hole in the side, so upon inspection the metal recycling workers know that they have been safely decommissioned. 

In addition to recycling the steel from the gas bottles, the brass from the valves is also recycled.

LPG Gas Cylinder Testing Services - 10 Year LPG BBQ Bottle Test

LPG gas cylinder testing services are available for people who wish to keep a particular cylinder. They can have the 10 year LPG BBQ bottle test done by an independent test station, when gas bottles expire.

These test stations go through exactly the same 10 year LPG tank test expiry date procedures, as described above.

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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.