Komatsu Propane Forklift
Does Cold Temperature Really Affect the Level Gauge on a Propane Tank?
Similar to the majority of other types of materials, propane is affected by cold temperatures. As the temperature goes down, the propane gas contracts. That reduced level of gas in the tank is reflected by the gauge that 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 on the weather conditions, the tank level may not go up as much as expected.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The gauge on a propane tank shows you what percentage of the tank is full. Usually, tanks are not filled more than 80% so as to enable the gas to expand during hot days. For instance, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80 percent at normal temperatures reflects approximately 400 gallons of propane in the tank. This is roughly how much can be stored.
The website Propane 101, that is operated by the propane industry, considers an exterior temperature of 60 degrees to be the reference or baseline point. Like for example, 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 approximately 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that same day is a lot lower than 60 degrees, the gauge will read lower. Also, if the temperature is a lot higher than 60 degrees, the gauge would actually read higher because the gas expanded.
Effect of Expansion and Contraction
Based on the information provided by the propane industry website, the amount of energy contained inside the tank does not actually change when the gas expands or contracts. The amount of propane itself has not changed, but just 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 would be accurate if the temperatures were near 60 degrees at the time of delivery. If the delivery happened during colder weather, these chillier temperatures would result in a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.
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