I love grilling — we cook the majority of our meals this way, from salmon to pork chops to burgers. We use propane to power our grill and our turkey fryer, and we use a lot of it.
The one thing I hated about grilling was dealing with the toolboxes who sold replacement tanks. I would usually go to a grocery store, Wal-Mart, Lowes, The Home Depot, or Costco for tanks, and it was always the same:
- The cashiers wouldn’t know how to ring up a tank. About a third of the time they’d try to charge me for a new tank as opposed to a refill. This can be up to a $30 difference.
- I’d have to wait around for them to find the key to the propane storage cage. “Does Joe Bob have the key today? Shee-it.”
- I’d have to wait for Joe Bob to finish whatever he was doing and come up to the register, only to remember he lent his key to Sue Ellen, who was on break.
- I must now decide if I should start punching everyone in the groin, or wait for my tank.
Things were even worse when I moved to Minnesota. Apparently people either don’t grill from October to March, and so almost everyone forgets how to run the register, or they can’t find the key, or whatever. It took me over a half hour to get a tank in February.
Then there’s the issue of the cage being covered in snow. I had to trudge in foot-deep snow last year with a full tank after buying one at Wal-Mart.
I knew there had to be an easier way to get my tanks refilled, and I found it.
The Propane Express is a propane delivery service that operates in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The whole operation is easy, convenient, and inexpensive.
Here’s how it works:
- Type in your ZIP Code.
- Most people need the “20 pound” tank size. I put that size in quotes because most places just fill it with 15# of propane. The Propane Express puts in 17#, so your tanks will last longer.
- Decide if you want free delivery on Monday or Thursday. You can have your tank delivered any day of the week with 24 hour notice for an extra $5.
- Select where your tank will be. You need to disconnect the tank and possibly move it. This shouldn’t be a big deal since the tank will be empty and light. I bring mine in from the side deck to the front of the house to make it easier on the delivery guy.
- Determine what connector you have. Almost everyone has a “Type 1,” but The Propane Express has a little picture to help you decide.
- Push the big green ORDER NOW button.
- Wait for the magical propane delivery fairy to arrive.
I’ve chatted with the delivery guys a few times, and they have been super nice. The last gentleman rang our doorbell because we forgot to put the tank out the night before. I ran out with the empty tank, and he exchanged it with a smile. Bad ass.
Oh, did I mention that The Propane Express is usually less expensive than other places? $20 for a 20 pound tank. Delivered. I think Costco was just a little bit less, but otherwise The Propane Express beats most places by $3 – $5.
Lastly, they run coupons every now and then. I think first-time customers get half off — or at least I did. Maybe it was a temporary promotion, but I would have been happy paying full price — because I still do.
The Propane Express may not operate in your area, but you should check to see if there is something similar. You might be surprised to find out that home delivery is the same price as waiting for Joe Bob to find his keys at a brick and mortar joint. Even if your local delivery service is a little bit more, the convenience is worth the cost.