Feel like I’ve been ripped off

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Romex2121

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Made the jump to kegs a little while back to get away from bottles, I bought all my kegging equipment new including the 5# CO2 bottle , the small town I live in has 1 welding supply store and they will fill the new CO2 bottle but only when an outside source comes thru to fill bottles sometimes it’s within a week sometimes more last time it was 3 weeks I had to wait to have my new bottle filled .
They do an exchange anytime but seeing I bought that bottle brand new at $80 something I didn’t want to give it up .
today out of frustration I exchanged my new bottle so I didn’t have to wait weeks to have CO2 kinda made me mad that they took my brand new bottle and still charged me $12.00 for the POS bottle they gave me in return.
 

duffy5018

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This is pretty common. Had I known when I got into kegging, I would have bought a used 5# tank for $50 or so instead of the $80 new one. I even did fills at a welding store that claimed on small tanks they could only fill it about 3/4 full for whatever reason, and still charged me $10 for it. Now I just exchange the tank for $15 and I even sometimes get pretty cool tanks back. Steel, aluminum, colored, grey, sometimes even with pretty nifty brewing stickers all over them.

Anyway, you're not alone, but I figure it's a small price to pay for never having to bottle another beer unless I choose to.
 

Velnerj

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You just have to look at the $80 price tag as a buy in price for the kegging community. It's essentially a deposit that in the end you may recover 50% of if you decide to get out...
 

bracconiere

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ahhh, i remember my little fancy 5lb tank. honestly i didn't even know i COULD just swap it. i think the welding shop just looked at it, and always sent me down the road to have it filled. But alas i lent it someone else, and i was into the swapping game!

i now don't care what my tank looks like, but i was mifed when i got one that was only filled with 13lbs! normally i at least get 18!

(now i want to see if there's a thread titled "Post a picture of your ugly Tank Swap!" lol ;)
 

bracconiere

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Great idea! Even better would be before and after pics!

well i got an aluminum tank last time without a TW stamp on it, but usually their about 25lbs empty mines sitting at 33lbs4ozs right now, with a dual body reg on it, so not long till i have to swap it. i'll post before and after pics when i do.... :mug:
 
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I don't mean to be a dick, but if we are not patient buyers, we are throwing money away. I try to impress this upon my kids. Be a patient buyer. Don't go car shopping and come home with a car. Come home with copious notes and start reading reviews. A patient buyer knows how the local CO2 guy deals with tanks - before he buys.
 

IslandLizard

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A patient buyer knows how the local CO2 guy deals with tanks - before he buys.
When I hit the empty tank syndrome I called around to get the lay of the land. And being a good student, made notes and still use them for reference. Prices and conditions change, so I call around again when needed.

The worst was one of my 2 local LHBS' at $3.60 (!) a pound. Even for a 20# cylinder? Shamelessly: Yup!
I got it filled at a large fire protection outfit for $22, while waiting.

Now I go to Praxair and swap for $25. Aluminum for aluminum though!
 

Dr_Jeff

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I've bought ugly tanks off of CL and swapped them out for nice shiny tanks at NexAir. (Usually ~$25 exchange for a 20# bottle)
I would come in with the tank and they would tell me to go and pick one out.
So a nice shiny one it is.
Although, when I got a bottle of beer gas, all of them were ugly, so I painted the bottom portion of the tank, with several coats of primer so that it wouldn't leave rust stains in my kegerator.
 

Golddiggie

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See if there are any fire extinguisher places in your area. I got my 20# (and I think my 10#) CO2 tank filled at tone of those when I was working in that area. They fill as you wait and are typically priced reasonably. IIRC, there's at least one or two in my current area IF I wanted to go to one. But, since the HBS I visit does swaps (also reasonably priced) it's really not an issue. I need to bring my 5# tank to them today (going to get yeast anyway) and do a swap.

IMO, as long as you get a good aluminum tank, it shouldn't matter if it's a swap or fill. I'll be doing the swap WHEN my 20# tank is empty. Mostly because it has a cert date stamp from either 2010 or 2011 and I doubt it's worth the expense to get it recertified. Easier/cheaper to just swap it out.

There are also two welding gas places within easy reach of me that also offer beverage gases (CO2 and nitro mix). So that's also no issue. It's where I got my current nitro mix bottle (5# tank size equal). I might upsize that when it goes empty on me.
 

IslandLizard

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Wow, that is much better than the $38 I am paying at Roberts. Anything to know before I head out to Praxair in Jessup with empty 20# and empty 5# tanks?
I'm not sure what recent prices are. I got my last swap almost 2 years ago, August 2019.
I'd call 'em first, and ask if they have your tank size swaps in aluminum.

There's a Praxair on Curtis Bay, marginally a bit closer to where we live, but they had no aluminum tanks in the "yard" (only steel ones, which have no handle!). But Jessup did, so my wife did the swap (with instructions! ;) ).
I'm now calling first before heading out, anymore, to be sure.

Proist (?) (Rte. 1 in Laurel) is the only one that fills in that area, and not sure one can wait for it.
MDHB sends everyone there.

BTW, MDHB were NOT the one that quoted $3.60 per pound of CO2 a few years back. ;)
 

Spundit

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Luckily I figured this out before my first tank purchase. I called the local Airgas place and they quoted me about $190 for a 10lb tank and first fill. They said every fill after that would be a swap for about $19. So I bought a used steel tank for $50+$19 shipping. I took it to get filled and sure enough they swapped it for $19. To top it off... they gave me a nice looking aluminum tank in exchange for the beat up steel one that had hydro tests dating back to the 1960s.

In the end I saved about $100 off the original quote. Which is good cause I paid too much for my faucet shanks..haha
 

MaxStout

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ahhh, i remember my little fancy 5lb tank. honestly i didn't even know i COULD just swap it. i think the welding shop just looked at it, and always sent me down the road to have it filled. But alas i lent it someone else, and i was into the swapping game!

i now don't care what my tank looks like, but i was mifed when i got one that was only filled with 13lbs! normally i at least get 18!

(now i want to see if there's a thread titled "Post a picture of your ugly Tank Swap!" lol ;)
Ask, and you shall receive.
 

Golddiggie

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The HBS I visit (went today) uses one of the three gas supply places in the area to refill their tanks. They have a set being filled while they have another (filled) set in store. Or at least that's what the situation was today. I brought the previous swap tank with me (wouldn't win any beauty contests, but it works) and it got swapped for a perty one. They only carry aluminum tanks. Don't know if they'll accept a steel tank or not. Since I don't know anyone who would ask for a steel tank these days.
 

WESBREW

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I bought a used 20# years ago. Re-certify was about $30 in April. I have it filled at local welding supply for $36. No swapping and more gas for only $6 more than a 5#
 

Beermeister32

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Anyone who is familiar with welding is used to the tank swap routine. As mentioned before, the cost of a tank is the buy-in cost for a usable cylinder, as there are no tank deposits like you see when buying keg beer.

Remember the bulk of their business is not filling your little 5 lb CO2 tank.

If you want to keep your brand new shiny aluminum CO2 tank, that is fine, it just means you have to research it. Within 30 minutes from here, there is a Airgas shop that does swaps, a Cameron Welding shop that does fills or sometimes swaps, and an independent welding shop that strictly fills the cylinder you bring in while you are waiting. So do your research.
 
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Novacor

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I'm not sure what recent prices are. I got my last swap almost 2 years ago, August 2019.
I'd call 'em first, and ask if they have your tank size swaps in aluminum.

There's a Praxair on Curtis Bay, marginally a bit closer to where we live, but they had no aluminum tanks in the "yard" (only steel ones, which have no handle!). But Jessup did, so my wife did the swap (with instructions! ;) ).
I'm now calling first before heading out, anymore, to be sure.

Proist (?) (Rte. 1 in Laurel) is the only one that fills in that area, and not sure one can wait for it.
MDHB sends everyone there.

BTW, MDHB were NOT the one that quoted $3.60 per pound of CO2 a few years back. ;)
Poist gas in Savage will fill your tank while you wait. It was about $17 for a 5lb tank last time I got a fill.

Just make sure you go to their location on Washington Blvd. They have a retail place on Main St in Laurel but don't do fills there.

9225 Washington Blvd N, Savage, MD 20763
 

Snuffy

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My LHBS fills onsite. Last time it was 12 bucks for my 5 pounder. I’m never giving up my shiny fresh tank. Never.
 

Bobby_M

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My LHBS fills onsite. Last time it was 12 bucks for my 5 pounder. I’m never giving up my shiny fresh tank. Never.
You may think you're getting a great deal, but do yourself a favor and put the tank on a scale and see how many pounds they are shorting you. Filling CO2 tanks full is a tricky process and almost no place gets it right. When you swap, you get a full tank.
 

MaxStout

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You may think you're getting a great deal, but do yourself a favor and put the tank on a scale and see how many pounds they are shorting you. Filling CO2 tanks full is a tricky process and almost no place gets it right. When you swap, you get a full tank.
I doubt the swap places necessarily do any better than the fill-while-you-wait places. It's the same process for filling, and if they're going to pinch you, they're going to pinch you.

Only way to know: weigh it when you get it home and subtract the stated tare wt.
 

Snuffy

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You may think you're getting a great deal, but do yourself a favor and put the tank on a scale and see how many pounds they are shorting you. Filling CO2 tanks full is a tricky process and almost no place gets it right. When you swap, you get a full tank.
I bottle about half of most batches and I normally use cartridges to keep up serving pressure. That $12 fill has lasted almost a year charging short cornies, so I’m ok with it.
 

bracconiere

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When you swap, you get a full tank.

not really, i only get 18lbs in my 20lb'er swap...when i got one once with 13lbs, i decided to start bringing my bathroom scale (digital) with me to the welding shop to make sure i at least get my usual 18lbs.
 

Reneauj62

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Now I feel ripped off for having to pay $25 for a 5 pound refill. Do like I did and just buy an extra cylinder.
 

Reneauj62

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A 20# cylinder?
Size does not matter (at least my GF said)... the problem is that your cylinder will still be at the refill point and you will be out of CO2 for a week to three weeks waiting for it to be refilled. Even if you only had 2-five gallon cylinders you could stagger the refills so you would never run out.
 

day_trippr

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Buy a 20 pound siphon tank and a transfer hose w/bleed valve. It solves all kinds of issues :)

As for the OP...about 10 days ago someone asked to review an all-inclusive starter kegging kit - one keg, one primary reg, some tubing, some QDs - and a gas cylinder. As I always do I warned said someone that unless they'd done the homework to identify a "fill on demand" location NOT to buy a new CO2 cylinder because they'd just be waving bye-bye to it in short order...

Cheers!
 

hout17

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Regarding the OP I need to get my two 5# CO2 tanks recertified and when I go to the place to get them recertified and filled I'm not going to trade them in I would rather pay more to keep my nice thanks than settle for their BS. Also my LHBS refills them so probably take them down there to refill once recertified.
 

Bobby_M

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I doubt the swap places necessarily do any better than the fill-while-you-wait places. It's the same process for filling, and if they're going to pinch you, they're going to pinch you.

Only way to know: weigh it when you get it home and subtract the stated tare wt.
That's why I said to put it on a scale. You don't need to doubt it, there used to be a few local places that offered to fill tanks on site and would frequently put 3.5 in a 5 and 13 in a 20. I don't fill tanks, I swap them and get the fills done at a dedicated gas facility that has the equipment and skill to fill them. When we started offering swap service, dozens of customers asked me why the tanks were lasting so long because they were now getting full tanks. Interesting that no one that fills tanks is still in business anywhere near here.
 

seatazzz

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I'm gonna repeat what someone above (kinda) said; I want pretty beer, I don't care what my co2 tank looks like. My current 20lber has sticker residue all over it, beat to crap (but certified) and it does what it is supposed to do; carbonate my beer. I'll go a step further and note that NONE of my equipment is "pretty" or "shiny", but the beer it makes/dispenses is beautiful.

Another note about swapping vs filling; the first 20lb tank I bought was obviously from a large soda manufacturer that shall remain nameless (but rhymes with Loca Lola) and I was scared witless that the welding shop I brought it to would instantly brand me as a thief and corporate embezzler; to the point that I used lighter fluid to get all of the branding off of it before I took it in. Learned later that most of these places don't give a rip what the tank looks like, or who it may have belonged to; they just take it and give you a full one. I've had pretty ones (my 5lb tank is a very shiny aluminum one that I just haven't gotten around to swapping because it's my field trip tank, and haven't had to take a keg anywhere for a while). Both of my 20lb tanks are ugly but I don't care.

TL;DR; swapping/exchanging is usually much more cost/time efficient than filling.
 

bracconiere

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My current 20lber has sticker residue all over it, beat to crap (but certified) and it does what it is supposed to do; carbonate my beer.

i want to see a pic! gotta swap my tank tomorrow, or thursday! depending if i can burst carb with only 500psi in it left!

 

madscientist451

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kinda made me mad that they took my brand new bottle and still charged me $12.00 for the POS bottle they gave me in return.
I buy POS bottles used and sometimes I get POS steel bottles in exchange, but right now I've got two nice aluminum ones.
I'm thankful we have people willing to do the dirty work checking and re-filling the tanks. Where would we be without tank fillers, truck mechanics and people like that?
 
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I was surprised this week to pay 6.95 on top of 28.02 when I exchanged a tank at the welding shop. 28.02 USD for 20 pounds of CO2, and a 6.95 Hazardous Material Fee. Raised my gas cost by 25%. The HQ is in a nearby town so I asked them by e-mail if this was a State of GA fee or a fee implemented by the company. No answer yet.
 
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