Question on bottles renting vs owner owned
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  1. #1
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    Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    So a couple of years ago Dad bought a Oxy/ Acet torch set up for sale. Had a cart (in fair shape, but a little rough), big Oxygen bottle (250), smaller acetylene bottle (about 1/2 the size of the Oxygen, maybe an 80?), old torch, hoses, regulators, and the regulator adjuster was broken off of the Oxygen regulator. He wanted the set up for the cart and bottles.

    Dad gave me a nice Smith torch/welding set up for Christmas, so I want to get this set-up in service.

    First hiccup. The Oxygen bottle is empty. It has an airgas sticker on it, collar is marked "Linde" and "Union Carbide division". I've nosed around on the internet and got an "uh oh". Looks like everything now is a rental bottle in that size. I also discovered that the hydro expired in 2017 (first hydro stamp is 1965).

    So I went over to talk to dad and from what I can tell from searching the interwebs, it largely depends on the local store as to how they handle such things. I was going to ask if they would just exchange this bottle for a full one (me paying for gas obviously) and he said "Oh no, I want to keep THAT bottle. It's a good Union Carbide and I don't want to turn it in"

    So I have a nice empty, out of hydro Linde 250 that I can't do anything with. LOL

    Luckily the Acetylene bottle still appears to have quite a bit in it.

    So I stop at the local ag supply place that handles Airgas, and they say that Airgas doesn't really do customer owned bottles anymore. They only rent them. The local ag store also mentioned that the prior owner of the business had a ton of customer owned bottles and when he suddenly passed away Airgas shows up with a truck and hauled them all off. The family wasn't aware of the difference in owned and rented bottles so by the time they figured out they were getting hosed it was too late. Needless to say that doesn't paint the closest Airgas place in a very good light.

    Local Napa carries "Coolgas" and they said if I bring in a customer owned bottle they will do it on an exchange basis, but I'll have to go to the Coolgas local office (40 miles away) to inquire on buying a tank from Coolgas, otherwise it's rental only.

    There's a local welding shop who has Welsco bottles, but haven't been able to talk to them yet.

    Seems like they're all trying to push people to rental bottles, which kinda locks you in to dealing with one particular company. My issue with that is, at $8/month, over a long period of time I'll literally spend thousands of dollars. I don't anticipate going through that much gas, so if I go through a bottle every 3 years I'll pay $288 just in rental fees.

    And yes, I realize that at the levels I'll be using this stuff, I'm more trouble to these companies than I'm worth, so I understand them not wanting to work with me on a program that doesn't involve me renting their bottles.

    The guy at Napa said if I can find an owner owned bottle I can bring it in and they'll do exchange, so I've looked and can get a 125 O2 bottle on ebay/ amazon for about $230 shipped. Obviously in the long term that would be the way to go.

    Anything here I'm missing? Anyone buy these ebay bottles? I don't want to show up with a complete piece of junk trying to use it as a core to trade in. It looks like customer owned bottles are hoarded and valued around here, so buying one online and then taking it for exchange would be about my only way to go. That's what I did with a small CO2 bottle for my kegerator.

  2. #2
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    If you're depending on stickers to identify the bottles as a rental bottle, then don't. If the bottle doesn't have a company ownership STAMPED or cast into the neck ring or very near to it, then it is likely a customer owned bottle, a friend recently gave me a 125 cf argon bottle that she said was rented, I exchanged it for another with no problems, but it seems like it depends on the lws or the gas dealer.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    Soooo many times this situation has come up. I am kind of shocked that Airgas has not demanded their bottles back. Your dad did get the gas inside the setup for the money he paid. None of the other gas suppliers offered to exchange Airgas's bottle with the discounted purchase of an owner bottle?

    Anyway I recommend the purchase of an owner bottle that you can exchange at any gas store. The better customer you are, the better price you get. Too bad Airgas won't work with you a bit. The latest I have heard is that Airgas will sell you a rental bottle under a lease agreement. And because their name is on the neck you can only exchange it at Airgas. What a crock.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    The stamping on the neck of this one is Linde, but since the old man doesn't want me trading in his bottle it's kind of a non-issue at the moment.

    I've seen some information on the interwebs that said Linde/Union Carbide bottles this old are pretty much considered to be owner owned.

    As you say, seems to be very dependent on the local dealer.

    I am curious about buying one of these and then exchanging for a full as a customer owned bottle. Anyone use these bottles, and if so, are they of good enough quality?

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XXLVNVH..._t4_B00I4Z707Y

    Break even point on renting vs buying this one and using it for exchange is a little over 2 years.

  5. #5
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Soooo many times this situation has come up. I am kind of shocked that Airgas has not demanded their bottles back. Your dad did get the gas inside the setup for the money he paid. None of the other gas suppliers offered to exchange Airgas's bottle with the discounted purchase of an owner bottle?

    Anyway I recommend the purchase of an owner bottle that you can exchange at any gas store. The better customer you are, the better price you get. Too bad Airgas won't work with you a bit. The latest I have heard is that Airgas will sell you a rental bottle under a lease agreement. And because their name is on the neck you can only exchange it at Airgas. What a crock.
    Dad bought the whole setup used about 6-8 years ago, without doing any research on the matter. For some reason he wants to keep this 250 bottle because "Union Carbide made good stuff and I don't want to swap it for a lesser tank".

    He's 80 so he's pretty weird about getting attached to stuff made back when Americans made quality stuff. That's usually all well and good, but an empty tank with an out of date hydro living in the boonies where I can't get it retested or filled is just in the way.

    So that leaves me trying to figure out the best route to get an owner bottle. Honestly the 250 is a bit big for my uses, so I'm going to try to get a 125.
    Last edited by jeepwm69; 01-10-2019 at 05:50 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    Quote Originally Posted by jeepwm69 View Post
    Dad bought the whole setup used about 6-8 years ago, without doing any research on the matter. For some reason he wants to keep this 250 bottle because "Union Carbide made good stuff and I don't want to swap it for a lesser tank".

    He's 80 so he's pretty weird about getting attached to stuff made back when Americans made quality stuff. That's usually all well and good, but an empty tank with an out of date hydro living in the boonies where I can't get it retested or filled is just in the way.

    So that leaves me trying to figure out the best route to get an owner bottle. Honestly the 250 is a bit big for my uses, so I'm going to try to get a 125.
    So keep it for his sake, and get the 125 for your sake. Just make sure there is no name forged into the neck ring. Your dad is right. Back in the day Union Carbide/Linde made top of the line stuff.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    Quote Originally Posted by jeepwm69 View Post
    The stamping on the neck of this one is Linde, but since the old man doesn't want me trading in his bottle it's kind of a non-issue at the moment.

    I've seen some information on the interwebs that said Linde/Union Carbide bottles this old are pretty much considered to be owner owned.

    As you say, seems to be very dependent on the local dealer.

    I am curious about buying one of these and then exchanging for a full as a customer owned bottle. Anyone use these bottles, and if so, are they of good enough quality?

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XXLVNVH..._t4_B00I4Z707Y

    Break even point on renting vs buying this one and using it for exchange is a little over 2 years.
    The quality is good enough on that bottle. You are going to give it away with exchange anyway. With the hydro stamp you should be able to exchange it easily.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about bottles, back in the early 80's I was working for a NAPA jobber during a copper strike & we got into a discussion about welding bottles, his position was very adamant that customer owned bottles didn't exist, by that time the bottles that I now own had been filled/exchanged by our local Chevron bulk many, many times and no rent or lease fees had ever been paid. It seems to me that after a given number of years with no contact or billings from a supplier, then they have essentially given up their claim or right to claim on the property/bottles. Dad got my bottles from his brother-in-law in the late 50's or very earl 60's, I can vaguely remember him getting them, I would have been 5-7 years old.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    I bought a used torch set up off of CL about 10, maybe 15 years back. The seller even gave me a bill of sale when he sold it to me. When I took the tanks into a local airgas, the guy was super cool with me. Acetylene was no problem to change out and he swapped me for a full tank, for just the cost of gas. Oxygen on the other hand, was more problematic. It was a 250 cu ft tank, and the neck ring was stamped with some other name than airgas (can't remember what it was). The airgas guy told me the setup was likely stolen, and at first refused to help me out. However, when I showed him the bill of sale, he swapped out the tank for a tank with no marking on the neck ring, and told me when I come back for refills make sure I get something from the "bastard tank pool". I get my tanks swapped for just the cost of oxygen and haven't paid a tank lease ever. Maybe I just got lucky, but airgas worked with me on this deal, and I keep going back to them for O2 and acetylene.

    If the gravy train ever runs out, I will go see what Maine Oxy can do for me. They have treated me really well with my customer owned CO2, C25 and Argon tanks.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    Oxygen on the other hand, was more problematic. It was a 250 cu ft tank, and the neck ring was stamped with some other name than airgas (can't remember what it was). The airgas guy told me the setup was likely stolen, and at first refused to help me out. However, when I showed him the bill of sale, he swapped out the tank for a tank with no marking on the neck ring, and told me when I come back for refills make sure I get something from the "bastard tank pool". I get my tanks swapped for just the cost of oxygen and haven't paid a tank lease ever. Maybe I just got lucky, but airgas worked with me on this deal, and I keep going back to them for O2 and acetylene.

    If the gravy train ever runs out, I will go see what Maine Oxy can do for me. They have treated me really well with my customer owned CO2, C25 and Argon tanks.
    So is the "bastard tank pool" bottles with no name on the neck ring? If so why would he be so snarky? Seems like he had a plan all along and you made out. Gotta say one my LWS took care of a bastard bottle for me. They liked my biz.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    National Cylinder charges $25 to hydro a bottle in Orlando.
    Move to the city, get a fresh hydro, they'll be glad to swap it.

    Getting your own (owner) bottle back is not as smooth, for either party.

    Get a cell phone video of them telling you the bottles are stolen (lead them on with questions) and post it online.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    If so why would he be so snarky? Seems like he had a plan all along and you made out.
    I couldn't say Terry, this was in the days before I even discovered weldingweb. I was operating kind of blind.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    I have 4 bottles through Airgas with receipts. 1 argon, 1 75/25, 1 oxygen, and 1 acetylene. That being said, I have actually 9 bottles total and have never had a problem with swapping out bottles through them and they have never questioned it. I picked up a few through auctions and craigslist sales but made sure they were a company bought out by Airgas, to my knowledge is Linde, Union Carbide, BOC, and all have been bought by Air Liquide. Sometimes my exchanges have had neck rings with Union Carbide, Linde, ore even Airgas on them. If they complain about exchanges you could always try another Airgas distributor in your area. I have 2 within a 20 min drive and 2 more within a hour drive if one complains. Maybe even find out where the truck delivers and have them drop off and pick one up? I have never paid rent on any of my tanks from Airgas and the hydro testing is eaten up in the cost of exchange so I never see a one time $30 charge. As far as being sentimental to the tank, I kind of understand but right now you have a tank that's worthless cause nobody will fill it without a hydro date.

  14. #14
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    A strategy used around here to get customer owned off the street is dropping filled bottles at vendors with gas company's name on neck ring. When customer exchange's his slick neck,he get's a bottle with gas company's name. From that point forward,only vendors for that specific gas supplier will exchange that bottle. If you take it to the gas supplier's location,they will not exchange. If customer smell's the rat and go's back to vendor(if they are still doing gas bottles) the vendor has no full smooth necks in their cage. The number of vendors are growing smaller daily so there will soon be nowhere to exchange bottles marked with gas company's name.

  15. #15
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    To jeepwm69 where are you from ,If you told us , we could maybe help you.

  16. #16
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    You can buy BRAND NEW or refurbished bottles in ANY SIZE YOU WANT. You don't go buy your car from Shell or Mobil servive station do you? Yeah I didn't think so!!!

    I'll buy your bottle, go spend $20 for the hydro and keep using it for another lifetime. I've only ONCE had a bottle that I did not own, that was only because alk my bottles were already filled and I was trying some new gas blend. Seriously I don't see how people just say, oh well the supplier said bend over and I'll bend over. Go take your tsnk and get it hydro'd yourself.

    Bottles are bottles, that's it. A chunk of metal with a hydro stamp and a gas valve. Airgas or any other gas supplier can take a hike and and eat s#!t about "we don't sell xyz bottle size so we're not going to..." um, well I never asked to buy a bottle from you. Don't get yourself all conflated with gas vs bottles. Bring a bottle, buy the gas. Leave happy with money in your pocket and no dumbass bottle lease.

    I have currently 8? 330cuft bottles and a few 250's and other misc oddball small ones.
    Last edited by xryan; 01-11-2019 at 01:12 AM.

  17. #17
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    I agree and post your location. ALL of us have gone through it. My OWNER bottle is a PLAIN neck tank with nothing on it except test date. I have a place that will exchange it for another plain neck cylinder. Some suppliers will refill your plain neck one but you may have to leave it.

    Check with your local guys on exchanginging any tanks you buy from private or online sellers, they all are different. Leave dad's tank alone any go to supplier and buy your own.
    Tractor supply in some areas sell and refill tanks. My guy is 30 miles away and no problems at all. My local guy has crazy prices and I save enough to make the drive .
    Cylinders can be frustrating for sure.

  18. #18
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    I couldn't be bothered to go through any of that hassle. It's so much easier to pay rental charges since I get a good deal.. £120/year for two halfsize bottles isn't too bad.

    If you go through any less gas than me (4 bottles a year in total?) then we have loads of suppliers of Hobbygas which are quartersize bottles with a hefty deposit. Pay the deposit, then forever more you're just paying for gas exchanges.

    At the end of the day, it's just a bottle of gas. There's much more important things to get hung up on.

  19. #19
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    I really don't see why anybody would get attached to a particular bottle. I have 4 02's, and one Acetylene. I go in, and swap them. They're owner bottles.

    I guess I could have the O2 filled at my LWS, but I'd have to wait till they do a batch of O2's on their "fill day". No problem with filling your actual same bottle, but ya gotta wait.

    On the Acetylene...…….They ship them somewhere in Louisiana to get them filled. Seems there's no local suppliers for Acetylene. I don't care to wait for weeks. So I swap.

    I don't give a dam what color, etc., my bottles are. They're owner bottles with a one time cost......and that's all that matters to me. I've had 3 of the 4 bottles for over 18yrs for the one time price of the bottle. I call that good math.

    My LWS cleans up the seats by reaming (I guess) till they're no longer able to. They also change out valves when the valves become too stiff, or otherwise unserviceable. No charge to me. They do the hydro testing on their own dime. So...…………"owner" is really a term of art.

    Only very seldom do they run out of exchange owner bottles. If so...….I get a rental bottle no charge. Guy said there's a lot of hobby guys buying bottles, and they only fill them maybe once a year......this puts a strain on the exchange system. They recently acquired more owner bottles to have a reliable reserve for morons like me, who actually use a bit of gas on a regular basis.

    Airgas will take over the market in most places I'm thinking. It's inevitable. But maybe not here. My guy runs a full service shop. Sells equipment, sells gas, and the BIGGY...….he's a full service steel yard. Plus...…….in house shearing, press brake, plasma table, and ironworker. Airgas can't compete with that around here. Two other companies have tried setting up shop here, and they both went under.

    And, there's the personal small town touch. I had full bottles on a Saturday, but knew I'd run out of O2 on all 4 bottles before Monday. Guy gives me a coupla loaner bottles till Monday. Just pay for the fill when I bring them back. You can't beat that. It's why I buy ALL my equipment, and consumables (sometimes I cheat on plasma consumables ), local. Besides...…... I'm a solid gold plated azzhole, and they'll do anything to get me out the door

  20. #20
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    Quote Originally Posted by Jax View Post
    A strategy used around here to get customer owned off the street is dropping filled bottles at vendors with gas company's name on neck ring. When customer exchange's his slick neck,he get's a bottle with gas company's name. From that point forward,only vendors for that specific gas supplier will exchange that bottle. If you take it to the gas supplier's location,they will not exchange. If customer smell's the rat and go's back to vendor(if they are still doing gas bottles) the vendor has no full smooth necks in their cage. The number of vendors are growing smaller daily so there will soon be nowhere to exchange bottles marked with gas company's name.
    That is a concern to me. That's pretty much what airgas did to everyone around here. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who farms, and had always swapped out tanks as customer owned, because they went back to the 60's when his dad was farming and they were owned bottles. During the swaps at some point, he started getting an invoice for rental. He called and said the bottles were customer owned and they said "Does the neck say Airgas? Because if it does they're our bottles and you're going to have to pay rent" At this point he's stuck. He has full airgas bottles in his shop and the original owned bottles are long gone.


    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Rich View Post
    To jeepwm69 where are you from ,If you told us , we could maybe help you.
    I'm in Eastern Arkansas, about an hour SW of Memphis. Town is 4K people, and the closest airgas is now in Clarksdale MS about 60 miles away, or Memphis. That makes driving to get my own tanks refilled a PITA, if I were to buy an unmarked bottle and get that specific bottle refilled to keep the smooth neck. I think I'll probably just buy one, use it for exchange at NAPA, and if I can't get it exchanged for a smooth tank bottle worst case scenario I'll be out $229. Not a huge deal. I just don't want to get nickle and dimed to death on rental fees for something I probably won't use all that much.

    I'm Scottish, so yes, I am that cheap. LOL

  21. #21
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    I really don't see why anybody would get attached to a particular bottle. :
    You mean you DONT Paint your bottle to match your welding machine???

    LoL..



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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

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  23. #23
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    I would keep it simple and buy the bottles from the guy that is going to exchange them for you when they're empty. When I buy an owner bottle from my supplier its full and they dont charge for the gas, and they don't cost much more than the Amazon empty bottle.
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  24. #24
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    Quote Originally Posted by CrookedRoads View Post
    I would keep it simple and buy the bottles from the guy that is going to exchange them for you when they're empty. When I buy an owner bottle from my supplier its full and they dont charge for the gas, and they don't cost much more than the Amazon empty bottle.
    That's what I intended to do, but they said I have to rent them. I don't want to rent them.

  25. #25
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    Re: Question on bottles renting vs owner owned

    one local supplier will not sell you bottles above 125cft iirc and will not refill them either unless they're his rentals..
    another supplier doesn't really care and trades almost anything you bring in.
    never tried airgas but i've been told they are not friendly to customer owned bottles .

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