Companies that refill gas bottles must inspect and label these bottles before they can be sold to you as a consumer. Below, you can see what to expect from the refill facility, and how you can tell whether a propane bottle has been approved.
Gas bottles cannot be refilled and sold by just anyone. The job requires special expertise, and must be performed in facilities that are designed to refill propane bottles. You are not allowed to refill bottles yourself. There are strict requirements governing what must be inspected before and after each bottle is refilled.
After being refilled, the bottles must be labelled correctly. Periodic inspections are also required, which are even more thorough examinations of the condition of the bottle. All these requirements are in place so that you as a consumer can buy and use gas safely.
Gas bottles containing propane must have labels showing the name of the company that has refilled the bottle, and confirmation that the bottle was inspected before it was refilled. This label must be robust enough to withstand normal wear and tear.
What you should look for in particular is whether the propane bottle has also been labelled with the date of the next periodic inspection. Periodic inspections must be performed by the appointed inspection agency, and are thorough examinations of the condition of the bottle. Periodic inspections are in addition to standard inspections, which must be performed before and after each refill operation.
If a bottle is not labelled with the date of the next periodic inspection, staff at the refill facility must be able to say when the bottle is due for its next inspection. All new gas bottles must also be labelled with the symbol π. This symbol is confirmation from the manufacturer that the bottle complies with European rules and can be sold freely within the EEA.
It is illegal to refill bottles that are damaged, defective, or due for periodic inspection. Before refilling, the bottles must be inspected to ensure that the refill valve, safety valve and gasket are intact. When the bottle has been refilled, it must be checked to ensure that it has not been overfilled, that it is not leaking, and that it has the correct labelling and identification.
If consumers wish to return bottles that cannot be refilled, or for any other reason, companies that refill or sell gas bottles containing propane are legally obliged to accept these. Consumers do not have to pay to return bottles. The company is not legally obliged to replace bottles that cannot be refilled.