Komatsu Propane Forklift
Does Cold Really Affect a Propane Tank Level Gauge?
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 does down. That reduced level of gas inside the tank is reflected by the gauge that reflects the tank level. Normally, this comes into play whenever a homeowner checks the gauge during cold weather conditions and sees the amount of the tank level before and after delivery. Depending upon the climate, the tank level might not go up as much as expected.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The propane tank's gauge shows you what fraction of the tank is full. Normally, tanks are not filled over 80% so as to enable the gas to expand on warm days. For example, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80% at normal temperatures reflects about 400 gallons of propane in the tank. This is about the amount which is able to be stored.
The propane industry operates the popular website Propane 101, which considers the propane reference point to be an exterior temperature of 60 degrees. Like for example, 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 same day is much lower than 60 degrees, the gauge would read lower. Similarly, if the temperature is much higher than 60 degrees, the gauge would actually read higher since the gas expanded.
Effect of Contraction and Expansion
Based on the information provided by the propane industry web site, the amount of energy contained in the tank does not actually change when the gas contracts or expands. 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 receive about 424 pounds 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 near 60 degrees at the time of delivery. If the delivery happened during colder weather conditions, these chillier temperatures would result in a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.
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