How To Get Rid of a Nearly Full Gas Grill Propane Tank
September 11, 2014 1:11 PM   Subscribe

I've got a propane tank for a gas grill which I estimate to be about 7/8 full. I don't need it, and I'm having difficulty getting rid of it. What should I do?

When we bought our house, the previous owners offered their outdoor propane barbecue grill and two full propane tanks for free.

I already had a charcoal barbecue grill in storage, and an electric barbecue grill (the only type allowed by the apartment complex I moved from). I prefer a charcoal grill (better flavor, in my opinion), and my wife is vegetarian -- but I figured I'd take the sellers up on their offer in case I ever threw a large outdoor party.

I had thought they offered the grill because their movers wouldn't take it. When I finally (after two years) tried the grill early last summer, I discovered it did not work -- that's why it was free. (I have grilled with propane grills before at rental cabins, so I don't think I did anything wrong.) The igniter switch didn't work, and I heard gas flowing and smelled the gas. I know you can light it with a match or whatever, but I didn't want to take the chance -- and besides, I already have two other barbecue grills.

I offered the grill and tanks on Craig's List, but after several times lowering the price I had no bites.

I left the grill outside during the last winter, and the bad storms knocked it over a few times and damaged it, in my opinion, beyond repair. I disconnected the propane tank, put the grill (sans tank) out at the curb, and it was collected with the trash that week.

I offered the full propane tank and almost-full propane tank on Craig's List for $50 total. 3 weeks went by and I finally had someone offer to buy the full tank (only) for $25; I accepted that offer.

I re-listed the single, almost-full propane tank on Craig's List about a month ago for $20, and I've had no bites on the ad. I'm thinking of lowering the price, but I've gotten NO e-mails at all. (My experience with Craig's List has been that if your price is too high, you'll get people e-mailing you asking if you'll sell your item for ${LOWERPRICE}.)

What should I do?

My Google-Fu tells me I can't get rid of it at one of those self-serve propane tank exchange things unless I get another tank. Since I have no need for another tank, that doesn't help me.

Several propane companies locally offer to dispose of empty tanks for free. It's not an empty tank, so that doesn't help me either.

I'm already $25 ahead on this transaction, and while I'd like to get SOME money for the propane tank, I'm not losing anything if I have to dispose of it for nothing or sell it for very little.
posted by tckma to Grab Bag (21 answers total)
Offer it for free on craigslist. Do not put any more time and energy into that tank.

People will email you. Choose someone and email them your address. Tell them "the tank will be [enter a place you can put it outside--for me it's on my porch where it can't be seen from the street but will be seen by anyone who walks up onto my porch]. Please swing by and pick it up by the end of the day. No need to knock on the door. Just take it. Knocking will only make my dogs start barking."
posted by vitabellosi at 1:18 PM on September 11, 2014 [16 favorites]

Best way to get rid of marginally worthless items is to put them at the curb with a nominal price tag, say $1, then ignore anyone who decides it should be free instead.
posted by dhartung at 1:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Have you called the propane companies and asked if they are interested in them? not just google, but called and asked? that is where i would start.
posted by domino at 1:41 PM on September 11, 2014

those self-serve propane tank exchange things ... Several propane companies locally offer to dispose of empty tanks for free. It's not an empty tank, so that doesn't help me either.

Just take it to a propane place, put it down and drive away. Maybe I'm missing something, but won't they be able to either use the propane you're giving them for free, or dispose of the tank despite the propane in it? It will get a proper disposal. I mean, this doesn't sound illegal or even rude.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:47 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Take it to a propane place and fill it the rest of the way and then offer a FULL tank on craigslist for $25? Maybe the 7/8ths description is turning people off, since you and they can't really be sure how much exactly is in the tank by looking at it, so they pass it by.
posted by molasses at 1:49 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Most propane sellers have a minimum fill, so that's going to waste money.

Find someone with a propane grill or appliance you can attach it to, and just burn it off maybe?

Then recycle the empty tank.

Or just put it in the free section of CL and forget about getting money for it. It will be gone.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:00 PM on September 11, 2014

To sell: An index card on the bulletin board of a supermarket or gas station, if they do that in your town.

To donate: A Habitat ReStore.
posted by megatherium at 2:00 PM on September 11, 2014

Or take it to the propane dealer, empty it, and sell it as an empty tank.
posted by notyou at 2:01 PM on September 11, 2014

Donate it to a local cub scout pack or boy scout troop? They camp a lot and probably need propane for their camp stoves.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:02 PM on September 11, 2014

Craigslist. Free. Done.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:11 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you offer it for free on craigslist, save yourself the headache and give no contact info or specific address. Simply put it in the free section and say "mostly full propane tank, at the curb on the 300 block of main street." It will be gone within hours and you won't have to talk to anyone. I got rid of a queen boxspring that way, also a sectional that wouldn't fit up the stairs at our new apartment.

See also: put it on the curb with a "FREE!" sign.
posted by cabingirl at 2:12 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

Depending on the area, on the curb with a "$20" sign may get rid of it even quicker than a "free" sign!
posted by emilyw at 2:27 PM on September 11, 2014

Best answer: What should I do?

I'd treat it like it's an empty tank. I think people may see the "mostly full" thing and think it's a scam because people are weird and it's like all those weirdos selling gift cards with some random amount of money on it. My suggestions:

- put a sign up in your workplace that you have this. I had to buy one recently (my old one rusted) and they are not free so it might help someone. Trade for some hot dogs.
- give it away for free on Craigslist or freecycle. Unless you are seriously broke, this is the easiest.
- a metal scrapper would likely just come pick it up
- get a nice simple grill and learn to enjoy the thing
posted by jessamyn at 2:45 PM on September 11, 2014

When we moved into my house, we discovered about eight propane tanks in various states of half-empty and rusted scattered around our yard. We took them to the local nursery/garden shop, which also sells propane, and they took them off our hands. No money changed hands.
posted by Andrhia at 3:11 PM on September 11, 2014

Instead of trying to get money out of it, offer to trade it for a six pack or something like that.
posted by spilon at 3:57 PM on September 11, 2014

Seeing where you live, you might call the official trash and recycling folks: Ecology Services can be reached at 866-427-8389.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:16 PM on September 11, 2014

Me, I'd take them to the Blue Rhino rack at the grocery store and abandon them there. But as acknowledged before, I'm an asshole.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:54 PM on September 11, 2014

Best answer: Fwiw, I can fill my tank for $20, so I wouldn't buy your not full tank for the same amount. Weigh the value of your time vs a lowered sale price, then decide if it's less hassle to just Freecycle.
posted by vignettist at 5:12 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I tried to return an empty tank to Home Depot (where I got it from), and was told they "don't take empty tanks, except as exchanges". I left it adjacent to their tanks outside and left. Since this happened, I've noticed more abandoned tanks every time I go to one of those stores.
posted by deadweightloss at 7:50 PM on September 11, 2014

Best answer: note for next gas grill that doesn't light- make sure you check the battery on the starter for your grill. if you're not getting a spark, it often just costs you a AA battery to fix it!
posted by noloveforned at 8:27 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

You've already spent more time on this this than its worth. Put it on Freecycle and forget about it.
posted by COD at 5:04 AM on September 12, 2014

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