Does Cold Temperature Affect the Level Gauge on a Propane Tank?
Propane is similar to the majority of other kinds of materials in that it is affected by cold temperatures. The propane gas contracts when the temperature declines. That reduced level of gas in the tank is reflected by the gauge which reflects the tank level. Often, this occurs whenever a homeowner checks the gauge during cold conditions and sees the amount of the tank level before and after delivery. Depending upon the weather, the level on the tank may not go up as much as expected.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The propane tank's gauge shows you what percentage of the tank is full. Typically, tanks are not filled over 80% in order to allow the gas to expand during warm days. For instance, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80% at normal temperatures reflects approximately 400 gallons of propane inside the tank. This is roughly how much can be stored.
The web site Propane 101, that is operated by the propane industry, considers an exterior temperature of 60 degrees to be the baseline or reference point. For instance, if the gauge reads 50 percent of capacity on a day when the temperature is near 60 degrees, then a 500 gallon tank will contain around 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 a lot higher than 60 degrees, the gauge would actually read higher due to the expansion of the gas.
Effect of Expansion and Contraction
The energy contained or amount of energy contained within a tank will not change as the gas either expands or contracts, according to the propane industry web site. The amount of propane itself has not changed, but only the density of the gas has changed.
If a homeowner orders 100 gallons of propane to be delivered, they will receive 424 pounds of propane. If the homeowner has a 1000 gallon propane tank, they could 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 conditions, these chillier temperatures would cause a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.
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