Does Cold Temperature Really Affect the Level Gauge on a Propane Tank?
Propane is like the majority of 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 which reflects the tank level. Usually, this happens whenever a homeowner checks the gauge during cold conditions and sees the amount of the tank level before and after delivery. Depending upon the conditions, the level on the tank may not rise as much as anticipated.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The propane tanks guage will show what fraction of the gas tank is still full. Tanks are typically not filled over 80% full because this will allow for the gas to expand on warmer temperatures. Like for instance, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80% at normal temperatures reflects about 400 gallons of propane inside the tank. This is around how much could be stored.
The propane industry operates the popular website Propane 101, which considers the propane reference point to be an exterior temperature of 60 degrees. Like for instance, if the gauge reads 50% of capacity on a day when the temperature is near 60 degrees, then a 500 gallon tank would have roughly 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that same day is much lower than 60 degrees, the gauge would read lower. Similarly, if the temperature is much higher than 60 degrees, the gauge would actually read higher since the gas expanded.
Effect of Contraction and Expansion
The amount of energy contained or energy contained within a tank will not change as the gas either contracts or expands, according to the propane industry website. 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 about 424 pounds of propane. With the delivery of 100 gallons, the homeowner with a 1000 gallon propane tank could expect the guage to go up by 10%. These numbers would be correct if the temperatures were near 60 degrees at the time of delivery. If the delivery happened during colder weather, these chillier temperatures will cause a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.