Does Cold Temperature Actually Affect a Propane Tank Level Gauge?
Like the majority of other kinds 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 which reflects the level on the tank. 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 on the conditions, the level on the tank might not rise as much as anticipated.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The propane tank's gauge shows you what portion of the tank is full. Normally, tanks are not filled over 80% so as to allow the gas to expand during hot temperatures. For example, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80% at normal temperatures reflects roughly 400 gallons of propane in the tank. This is about the amount which is able to be stored.
The propane industry operates the popular web site Propane 101, which considers the propane baseline point to be an exterior temperature of 60 degrees. 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 would have roughly 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that same day is a lot lower than 60 degrees, the gauge would read lower. Also, if the temperature is a lot higher than 60 degrees, the gauge would actually read higher since the gas expanded.
Effect of Expansion and Contraction
According to the information given by the propane industry web site, the amount of energy contained inside the tank does not actually change as the gas expands or contracts. 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 may expect the gauge to go up by 10% with the delivery of 100 gallons. These numbers will be correct if the temperatures were near 60 degrees at the time of delivery. If the delivery took place during colder weather conditions, these chillier temperatures would result in a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.
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