Does Cold Temperature Affect the Level Gauge on a Propane Tank?
Like most other kinds of materials, propane is affected by cold temperatures. As the temperature declines, the propane gas contracts. That reduced level of gas inside the tank is reflected by the gauge that reflects the level on the propane tank. Normally, this comes into play 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 might not go up as much as expected.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The propane tanks guage will show what percentage of the gas tank is still full. Tanks are normally not filled more than 80% full since this will allow for the gas to expand during hotter days. 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 around the amount which is able to be stored.
The web site Propane 101, that is operated by the propane industry, considers an exterior temperature of 60 degrees to be the reference or baseline point. For instance, if the gauge reads 50% of capacity on a day when the temperature is close to 60 degrees, then a 500 gallon tank would contain about 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that day is a lot 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
The amount of energy contained or energy contained in a tank will not change as the gas either expands or contracts, 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 would be given about 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 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 will cause a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.