A 5 gallon propane tank and a 18 pound cat. So you've got a gas barbeque grill running hot, a variety of meats and veggies (and kebabs featuring both) cooking happily, and a nearby bowl of marinade liberally donating to your weekend cause. Then, tragedy: the small puffing sound of your burners losing the crucial element of heat and signaling your grill's sudden impotence. Where in Davis can you go to correct this?

  • Ace Hardware - The rock and rental area on 4th Street can fill your tank for $2.89 per gallon (price as of 6/17/12). With tax, it comes to about $14.50 for a standard 5 gallon cylinder. They also carry parts like replacement hoses in the southernmost building.
  • All Star Rents - $3.48 per gallon as of 6/7/12.

Or some locations have a propane tank exchange program set up, usually through an outside distributor, where you bring your empty tank and swap it for a full one. These are about double the price per gallon of refilling your own tank, but are convenient since they're available at all hours (so long as the station is manned) and you can pay a bit extra to buy a full tank if you don't have one to exchange. Be sure to take into account that these tank exchanges only fill the tank partially full. Here is Blue Rhino's explanation of why:

"How much propane does Blue Rhino put in its tanks?

Inflationary pressures, including the volatile costs of steel, diesel fuel, and propane, have had a significant impact on the cylinder exchange industry. In 2008, to help control these rising costs, Blue Rhino followed the example of other consumer products companies with a product content change. We reduced the amount of propane in our tanks from 17 pounds to 15 pounds.

To ensure our consumers are properly notified, Blue Rhino clearly marks the amount of propane contained in our tanks, right on the package."

15 pounds of propane is about 3.5 gallons (assuming a gallon of propane weighs 4.2 pounds).

Keep in mind that if you live in an apartment or condo, you may not store a propane tank larger than 2.5 lbs (camp stove size) on a "combustible balcony" or within 10' of "combustible construction", as per state fire code 308.3.1.1. The National Fire Protection Association also mandates that refillable propane tanks have an overfill protection device. Any new tank (or one from an exchange program) will have this, but if you want to refill a really old tank, you may need to upgrade or replace it.

It is always a wise idea to perform a leak-test on a new or newly-refilled propane tank. To do this, apply a mild solution of soapy water to the welds and valve assembly and watch for growing bubbles.

There are also several companies if you need a larger stationary tank filled. Amerigas and Suburban Propane both service the area.