Komatsu Propane Forklift
Does Cold Temperature Truly Affect a Propane Tank Level Gauge?
Propane is similar to nearly all other types of materials in that it is affected by cold temperatures. The propane gas contracts as the temperature does down. That reduced level of gas inside the tank is reflected by the gauge which reflects the tank level. Usually, this occurs whenever a homeowner checks the gauge in cold conditions and sees the amount of the tank level before and after delivery. Depending on the conditions, the level on the tank may not rise as much as expected.
Propane Tank Level Gauge
The gauge on a propane tank shows you what fraction of the tank is full. Typically, tanks are not filled more than 80% in order to enable the gas to expand on warm days. For example, a 500 gallon tank, at a reading of 80% at normal temperatures reflects roughly 400 gallons of propane inside the tank. This is roughly how much could be stored.
The website Propane 101, that is operated by the propane industry, considers an exterior temperature of 60 degrees to be the reference or baseline point. Like 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 approximately 250 gallons of propane. If the temperature that same day is a lot lower than 60 degrees, the gauge will read lower. Similarly, if the temperature is a lot 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 website, the amount of energy contained in the tank does not really 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 be given 424 lbs. of propane. If the homeowner has a 1000 gallon propane tank, they can expect the gauge to go up by 10% with the delivery of 100 gallons. These numbers will be correct if the temperatures were close to 60 degrees at the time of delivery. If the delivery took place during colder weather, these chillier temperatures will result in a smaller increase reading on the propane gauge.
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