Does Cold Affect the Level Gauge on a Propane Tank?
Propane is similar to nearly all other types of materials in that it is affected by cold temperatures. The propane gas contracts when the temperature declines. That reduced level of gas inside the tank is reflected by the gauge which reflects the level on the tank. Normally, this occurs whenever a homeowner checks the gauge during cold climate and sees the amount of the tank level before and after delivery. Depending on the weather conditions, the tank level might not rise as much as expected.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The propane tank's gauge shows you what portion of the tank is full. Normally, tanks are not filled more than 80% so as to enable the gas to expand on warm temperatures. Like for example, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80 percent at normal temperatures reflects roughly 400 gallons of propane inside the tank. This is roughly the amount that could be stored.
The propane industry operates the popular website Propane 101, which considers the propane baseline 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 close to 60 degrees, then a 500 gallon tank will have around 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that day is a lot 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 because the gas expanded.
Effect of Expansion and Contraction
The amount of energy contained or energy contained within a tank would not change when the gas either expands or contracts, according to the propane industry web site. 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 be given roughly 424 lbs. 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 will 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 will result in a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.