Does Cold Temperature Really Affect a Propane Tank Level Gauge?
Propane is like the majority of other types of materials in that it is affected by cold temperatures. The propane gas contracts as the temperature does down. That reduced level of gas inside the tank is reflected by the gauge which reflects the level on the tank. Often, this comes into play whenever a homeowner checks the gauge in cold conditions and sees the amount of the tank level before and after delivery. Depending upon the climate, the tank level may not rise as much as anticipated.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The gauge on a propane tank shows you what portion of the tank is full. Normally, tanks are not filled over 80% in order to allow the gas to expand on hot temperatures. Like for instance, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80 percent at normal temperatures reflects about 400 gallons of propane inside the tank. This is about how much is able to be stored.
The propane industry manages the popular website Propane 101, which considers the propane reference point to be an exterior temperature of 60 degrees. For instance, if the gauge reads 50 percent of capacity on a day when the temperature is near 60 degrees, then a 500 gallon tank would have about 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that day is much lower than 60 degrees, the gauge would read lower. Also, if the temperature is much higher than 60 degrees, the gauge would actually read higher due to the expansion of the gas.
Effect of Contraction and Expansion
According to the information provided by the propane industry website, the amount of energy contained within the tank does not really change when the gas expands or contracts. The amount of propane itself has not changed, but just the density of the gas has changed.
The homeowner who orders 100 gallons of propane will receive around 424 pounds of propane. With the delivery of 100 gallons, the homeowner with a 1000 gallon propane tank can expect the guage to go up by 10%. These numbers will be correct if the temperatures were near 60 degrees at the time of delivery. If the delivery happened during colder weather conditions, these chillier temperatures will cause a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.