Does Cold Temperature 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 when the temperature does down. That reduced level of gas in the tank is reflected by the gauge which reflects the tank level. Usually, this happens whenever a homeowner checks the gauge in cold weather and sees the amount of the tank level before and after delivery. Depending on the weather, 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 normally not filled more than 80% full as this would allow for the gas to expand during hotter days. Like for instance, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80 percent at normal temperatures reflects approximately 400 gallons of propane inside the tank. This is roughly how much could be stored.
The website Propane 101, that is managed by the propane industry, considers an exterior temperature of 60 degrees to be the baseline or reference point. For example, if the gauge reads 50 percent of capacity on a day when the temperature is close to 60 degrees, then a 500 gallon tank would contain approximately 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that day is much lower than 60 degrees, the gauge will 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 given by the propane industry web site, the amount of energy contained in the tank does not actually change when the gas contracts or expands. 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 would be accurate 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 cause a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.