Every year, rumours about expiry dates for LPG cylinders create a scare among at least a section of consumers. This year too, one such rumour is doing the rounds. Oil companies have time and again clarified that there is no expiry date for cylinders; only the due date for mandatory tests are printed on them.
And what is this date that is printed on cylinders? These are alpha numerical details (A, B, C and D followed by a number). Each letter denotes a quarter of a year. A for instance stands for the January-March quarter. If a cylinder has B18 printed on it, that means it has to be pulled out for the mandatory tests in 2018 within the months of April-June.
“If in October this year, a consumer gets a cylinder with the letter C17, he or she must most certainly ask the gas delivery boy to take it back and give another since it means that the mandatory test has not been conducted. But this is a rarity,” explained an oil industry source.
M. Mukundan, a resident of Madipakkam, voiced a commonly-held concern when he said he was afraid that if such a date-barred cylinder is used, it might burst. An oil industry official explained that consumers need not be afraid of such cylinders. A phone call to the agency would do.
Two mandatory tests
A cylinder usually has a life of 15 years and mandatory tests are conducted twice during that time.
The cylinder is checked for leaks with a hydro test where water is filled, and a pneumatic test where five times more pressure than what is usually stored is applied.
If the cylinder fails in either of these tests, it is scrapped. Each day, 1.25% of the total cylinders in use is pulled out for tests and of these, a small percentage is scrapped.
M. Sridevi, a resident of Perambur, said that ever since she read a forward about the dates printed on LPG refills, she has made up her mind to check them properly when the delivery boy brings a refill.