If the paint on your propane tank is beginning to look a little faded or worn, it might be time to touch it up. Before you begin, check with your supplier to see who owns the tank.  If the supplier owns the tank, you can ask them to paint the container.  If you own your tank, it is your responsibility to maintain the container, which includes keeping it painted.  Paint on a container helps to prevent corrosion. 

Choose A Light Color

Before you start to paint your own container, you should consult your state’s regulations on propane tank colors. Federal and state restrictions mandate that propane containers must be painted a light-reflecting color.

Why is a light-reflecting color required? Think about the last time you went outside wearing a dark colored shirt on a sunny day. The dark shirt provided more warmth than a white shirt, as it absorbed more heat from the sun. Dark colors absorb heat; light colors reflect it. That same principle applies to your propane tank.

If you paint a propane tank in a dark or non-reflective color, the tank will absorb heat from the sun, even on cloudy days. As the tank heats, the propane inside will expand. Because propane exists as both a liquid and a gas within the tank, the absorption of heat creates the possibility of a high-pressure situation that may cause the safety relief valve to open relieving propane gas to reduce the excess pressure from the tank.

Remove Rust

Choose a light color that reflects heat, such as white, yellow or silver. Other very light colors may be acceptable. Before painting your tank, remove any rust with heavy sandpaper or a wire brush. Rust compromises the surface and also absorbs heat.  Do not paint the data plate or any valves, gauges or warning labels on the tank.

Similar to any other flammable gas or liquid, propane is very safe when stored and handled properly. However, if propane is mishandled, it can cause property damage, injuries or even death. Users must have a thorough understanding of the properties and characteristics of propane, and the hazards and risks associated with its use.

For more information on propane safety in general, contact your local propane dealer or visit the Cenex propane safety Web page. Need to refill or exchange your propane cylinder? Find a Cenex near you.

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