Ask a safety officer: Can single use propane canisters be refilled?

Single Use Propane Cylinder

It may seem like a good idea to refill these items, but the answer is no. Refilling single-use propane cylinders -- such as those typically used with camp stoves -- is prohibited by British Columbia laws. The practice can result in overfilling which can cause serious fires, explosions and burn hazards.

While you may see adaptors made for this purpose offered for sale through online retailers and promoted on YouTube, they are not permitted for use in BC as they are not certified to a national standard or approved by the provincial safety manager. In fact, refilling “specification 39 cylinders” (as one-pound camp stove propane canisters are known) is illegal.

The CSA B149.2 Propane Handling and Storage Code, which is adopted by regulation in BC, requires that propane being transferred to a cylinder be measured by weight or volume to the maximum value permitted. This code also states that cylinders manufactured to Specification TC-39M and aerosol containers shall not be refilled. 

The Gas Safety Regulation, which adopted the CSA B149.2-2015 code into law as of Nov 1, 2017, also places requirements on the person performing the transfer:

28(8) An individual must not transfer liquefied petroleum gas or liquefied natural gas from one container to another unless the individual has successfully completed a training course that has been approved by a provincial safety manager and holds a certificate issued following that training course.

These requirements are put in place to ensure the safety and reliability of propane use for the public and those working in the propane industry. Technical Safety BC may take enforcement actions if we learn of individuals or corporations are found to be in contravention of these laws.

Learn more about propane by reviewing our top four propane safety tips or reviewing our information bulletin on propane cylinder filling requirements. If you are aware of an individual or company in BC that is refilling these canisters, please report a hazard to us.

Have used propane canisters you need to recycle? 

Propane canisters should never be put in the garbage or the recycling -- they can be crushed by heavy equipment and explode. Take them to a safe drop-off location for recycling. To find one near you, contact the Recycling Hotline at 1-800-667-4321 or 604-RECYCLE (604-732-9253) or visit www.bcrecycles.ca.

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