This video explains some of the ways that LPG is used and how you can buy and use LPG gas
bottles in Australia.

Liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, is a highly versatile fuel. People use LPG in their home, and companies use it in numerous contexts, including for industrial heating and manufacturing. In this article, we focus on LPG’s use at home and how you can buy and use LPG gas bottles in Australia.

In Australia, propane is the only gas that forms LPG. Butane gas may be mixed in with propane to create LPG elsewhere. For example, in New Zealand, they mix propane and butane to create LPG.

Moreover, LPG is always stored in pressurised steel containers. The containers keep the LPG in liquid form. This makes it much smaller in volume and easier to transport. These containers can vary from small camping canisters to much larger LPG tankers. It can also be stored underground in specially built facilities.

Where can you buy LPG gas bottles?

You can buy LPG gas bottles from specific suppliers across Australia. National suppliers of LPG include PlusGas, Elgas, Origin, Supagas and Kleenheat. There may also be smaller suppliers in each state or territory.

LPG gas bottles range in size and volume depending on their use. You can buy portable cylinders as small as four to nine kilograms for camping and portable use. Households and small businesses usually buy bigger capacity cylinders. Mid-sized LPG bottles range from 45 kilograms to 90 kilograms or even 210-kilogram gas cylinders exist. Bigger businesses and industrial units usually go for higher capacity LPG tankers.

How do you fill a gas bottle with LPG?

It is not possible for households to try and refill a LPG gas bottle. In fact, it may be dangerous to do this at home. If you are in a position where you need to refill a LPG bottle, you have two options. You can either buy a new one or have it exchanged by a supplier. Some LPG suppliers offer exchange deals for customers so that they can replenish their gas bottles when exhausted. Some households choose to keep multiple LPG gas bottles at home so that when one runs out, they can easily use the other bottle.

Cylinders over 45 kilograms can also be filled on-site by professionals. However, smaller cylinders are usually exchanged.

How long do LPG gas bottles last?

The shelf life of LPG gas bottles depends on what you use them for. For example, a six-kilogram LPG bottle can last approximately 18 hours when used for campfire cooking – enough to last you a few camping trips. On a different scale, a 45-kilogram cylinder can last around 244 days, however, it will last you a shorter amount of time if you use it for over an hour a day, according to one supplier. But, it largely depends on the type of burner used – bigger bottles consume more gas – and how often you use it.

Most households will need a 45-kilogram gas bottle if they plan to use LPG extensively at home. Such a cylinder will last around six to seven weeks when used for cooking and to provide hot water for a four-person household. Elgas has a handy chart for how long cylinders can last, depending on their use. If you plan to use LPG very occasionally when outside, a smaller gas bottle may be the best option for you.

It is worth noting that LPG cylinders can otherwise last a very long time. The LPG itself will stay usable forever. The limiting factor is the container itself. If it does not rust or get damaged, it can last for 20 years or more. Generally, however, LPG bottles should be re-inspected every 10 years to ensure that they are safe to use.

How easy is it to change a gas cylinder?

If you have an empty gas cylinder, changing to another one should be simple. Cylinders will have a manual or automatic changeover system. With an automatic system, your gas supply will automatically switch to a full tank. For manual systems, it is best to check with the supplier. Some LPG gas bottles even have a colour-coded system to let you know if they are empty. However, you should never attempt to empty or change a gas bottle manually if you are unsure.

LPG is a highly flammable gas that will dissipate into the air when released. LPG gas cylinders are pressurised containers that can release gas very fast. Therefore, it is important to be careful with them. If they are near a flame, they can cause severe damage.