The Reason Why Your Propane Tank is Never Full
If you’re familiar with your propane tank and notice that it doesn’t quite reach the top when you fill it, you may be wondering why. Propane tanks are filled to 80% of their capacity, known as ‘The 80% Rule’. About 14 million families worldwide use propane as a means of heating, cooking and cooling. Few know why you can’t just ‘top it off’ when it comes to filling the tank.
While the main reason is safety, these broken down reasons will remind you to keep the 80% rule in mind when filling your propane tank.
The 80/20 Rule Explained
Just like water, propane expands with heat, over 17 times the volume and much more than water. Above ground tanks – such as a gas grill – are vulnerable to weather changes. Underground tanks are less susceptible to weather change so they can hold a bit more. The 80/20 rule can be calculated by 0.8 and the size of your propane tank. No matter how you use your propane tank, it’s important to consider the 80% rule.
So how do you know if your tank is at capacity? Aside from using the 80% rule calculation, there are a few simple ways to test the capacity of your tank.
The Water Method –
While it’s not entirely accurate, this method will give you a good idea of how much gas is in the tank. First, unplug the tank completely. Fill a small bucket with warm water and pour it up and down the side of the tank. If there is enough propane where you poured the water, the tank will feel warmer. If not, it will feel cooler.
The Weight –
The average propane tank weighs about 18.5 pounds empty. You can use a scale that you have at home to weigh your tank and subtract that from 18.5. This is an accurate way to determine how much propane you have left.
Gauge It –
Another sure-fire way to determine the capacity of your tank is by a reading gauge that you stick on your tank. This gauge will change color with the change of temperature as the gas or liquid in the tank gets lower. These ultrasonic tools are inexpensive and time-saving.
Lastly, safety is always first when it comes to filling your propane tank. This is the main reason that homeowners use the 80% rule and follow it. If you’re still unsure about the accurate capacity of your propane tank, contact an expert local contractor. Should you notice any odors emanating from your grill other than food related, shut it off and contact a propane expert. You may need a replacement tank altogether.
A good BBQ starts with safety precautions and obtaining the best propane tank for your needs. Are you ready to turn in your old tank or looking to get a new one? Contact the Elite Gas Contractors for estimates and expert advice today!