Does Cold Affect the Level Gauge on a Propane Tank?
Propane is like nearly all other kinds 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 that reflects the tank level. 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 level on the tank might 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. Usually, tanks are not filled over 80% in order to enable the gas to expand during hot temperatures. Like for example, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80% at normal temperatures reflects around 400 gallons of propane inside the tank. This is about how much could be stored.
The propane industry operates the popular website Propane 101, that considers the propane reference point to be an exterior temperature of 60 degrees. Like 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 will have roughly 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that day is much lower than 60 degrees, the gauge will read lower. In the same way, if the temperature is a lot higher than 60 degrees, the gauge will 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 as the gas contracts or expands. The amount of propane itself has not changed, but only the density of the gas has changed.
If a homeowner orders 100 gallons of propane to be delivered, they would be given 424 lbs. of propane. If the homeowner has a 1000 gallon propane tank, they can expect the gauge to go up by 10% with the delivery of 100 gallons. These numbers will be correct if the temperatures were close to 60 degrees at the time of delivery. If the delivery happened during colder weather conditions, these chillier temperatures would result in a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.
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