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Propane Tank Connection Types

The Skinny:

Learn about the three main connector types used with propane tanks.

The Breakdown:

Liquid propane (LP) tanks have been used by consumers as early as the 1920s. Its portability and wide availability make this convenient source of fuel perfect for grilling. Because of its long history, LP tank connector valves have gone through updates and safety revisions. Most of you probably have LP tanks that feature OPD valves. Tanks won’t get refilled without them. If you happen to have older valves, you can get adapters to make the older tanks work with more modern grills. However, the cost to convert older tanks is about the same (if not more) as buying a completely new tank. While cost is an obvious factor in this decision, remember that most gas tanks have a lifespan of 10-12 years.

Here is a list of the most common LP gas tank connection types and what to expect from each.

POL Valve

The POL valve is the oldest. The threads on this valve are on the inside of the connector and a wrench is needed to securely tighten this type of valve. A plug is screwed into the valve for transporting or storing the tank. POL valves allow the release of gas without anything connected to it, which of course can be dangerous! Because of this, the POL valve has been phased out of production and cannot be refilled legally.

Acme Valve

The next refinement of LP tank connectors comes in the Acme valve. Acme valves differ from POL valves in its size and use of external threads. When connecting the Acme valve to your grill, tools are no longer needed. A larger, hand-turned fitting will securely connect your Acme valve to the grill. Acme valves are compatible with grills that use POL valves as well. The Acme valve became more advanced after a safety device was built in that allows gas to flow only when the tank is attached to a device, preventing leaks.

OPD Valve

The most current and common type of valve being used on propane tanks is the Overfill Prevention Device (OPD) valve. Similar in appearance to the Acme valve, an identifying mark of the OPD valve is its triangle-shaped hand wheel. OPD valves have an internal float to prevent dangerous overfilling. LP tanks constructed today will have OPD valves.

Most of you probably have LP tanks that already have OPD valves. Tanks won’t get refilled without them. If you happen to have older valves, you can get adapters to make the older tanks work with more modern appliances. However, the cost to convert older tanks is about the same (if not more) as buying a completely new tank. While cost is an obvious factor in this decision, remember that most gas tanks have a life of 10-12 years

Until next time, Enthusiasts. As with all things in life, the right connections make all the difference.

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