What Happens If I Let My Tank Run Out Of Propane?

image of an empty residential propane tank

Around 47 million US households use propane to cook, heat, or generate energy. It is an excellent fuel choice if you want to be economical and efficient. Moreover, it is more affordable compared to electricity in most places in the country. It is also safe to use as long as you use it properly. If any odd situations happen, like an empty propane tank, assess the system and move forward carefully.

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What Causes An Empty Propane Tank?

Two of the most common reasons homeowners tend to run out of propane are:

Improper Propane Management

Households use it all day, so propane should never run out. However, the most common cause of this problem is improper management. The propane fuel delivery company might not have planned the propane delivery correctly. It could also be that bad weather is keeping them from sending out their delivery trucks. Perhaps it is a case of a sudden increase in house occupants or unusually colder temperatures that are causing higher-than-normal fuel use. You also might have forgotten to do a check on your propane tank levels, so you weren’t able to order propane when the tank was around 30% full. Regardless of the cause, you should always take it seriously when you have an empty propane tank.

Propane Tank Leak

image of rotten egg smell due to propane tank leak

Be on the lookout for the possibility of a propane tank leak. This is dangerous as it can cause fire and explosion. Propane is a naturally odorless gas that has an additive to make it smell like rotten eggs. This way, you are alerted quickly should a leak occur. Evacuate the area and call a professional to find the leak as soon as possible to avert disaster. You should also cut off the electricity and ensure that no other sources of sparks get close to your tank.

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Why Is It Bad To Run Out Of Propane?

Listed below are some of the reasons running out of propane is less than ideal:

Property Damage

broken water pipe is leaking water after freezing and bursting from running out of propane

If propane powers your home’s heating, you cannot afford to run out. Otherwise, nothing will keep your water pipes from freezing and bursting due to ice expansion. As a result, your home can experience water damage and all affected components of your plumbing system need to be replaced. You have to spend more time and money on the repairs. Therefore, an empty propane tank should be refilled right away. Don’t waste any time, as the longer you wait, the longer your house is vulnerable to environmental conditions.

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Propane Refill Issues

If you recently had your propane tank filled but find it empty soon after, have it checked right away to see if there is a leak. It is fruitless to get it refilled again as the contents will only ooze out. Make sure that the gas lines and valves are sealed tightly before getting a refill. This way, the tank’s contents are kept inside, and another leak doesn’t happen again.

Propane Rust Buildup

image of rust inside residential propane tank

Water can get in the propane tank. This will result in the tank’s interior corroding. The weakened walls can lead to the creation of holes. The resulting leaks can cause even more damage to your property. Unfortunately, rust is unstoppable once it has taken hold of your tank. It needs to be removed to ensure your safety. Corrosion can also veil the foul stench of propane, so you might not immediately notice that there is a leak. The gas could have spread all over your home by the time you notice it.

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Non-Functional Appliances

You cannot operate all the household systems and appliances that rely on propane once it runs out. If propane is used for heating, you will have a cold and uncomfortable home, especially at night. Your burner also won’t light up if you use propane for cooking. If propane powers your generator, anything that depends on this for power won’t work. The food in your refrigerator might end up spoiled, and you have to shower using cold water.


Propane Tank Inspection

A Federal law directive states that when a propane tank runs out of fuel, it needs to be inspected by a propane tank professional. You need to contact a qualified technician to check for leaks as untrained eyes might not spot these problems with the system. Therefore you’ll need to book an appointment, wait for the technician, and pay them for a propane tank inspection.

Emergency Propane Delivery

Propane deliveries are typically booked during weekdays. If you need to refill your tank on a weekend or during a holiday, expect to pay an additional fee for emergency propane delivery. It might also cost you extra for a rushed leak check. However, it might be worth paying these additional expenses if it means you won’t be inconvenienced further and property damage is prevented.

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How Do I Avoid Running Out Of Propane?

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It is crucial that you avoid running out of propane in the first place as you’ll have to deal with a lot of headaches otherwise. Monitor your tank’s contents periodically, so you know what’s going on inside it. This can be done manually by reading the gauge. However, it might not be easily accessible during bad weather. A broken propane tank gauge can also yield inaccurate numbers.
If your propane provider monitors your tank, get important information from them. This can include your home’s propane consumption estimates and projected delivery date. You can also request that they take proactive steps like yearly tank checkups. If you live in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, be sure to contact Townsend Energy.

Call Townsend Energy For Reliable Propane Delivery Services

te logoFor all your dependable propane delivery service needs in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, do not hesitate to call Townsend Energy. Our friendly team offers top-quality fuel deliveries that are quick and affordable. Count on Townsend Energy for unbeatable service at all times. We offer financing options as well as various delivery plans.

We also have a wide range of HVAC services to improve your home’s energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and comfort. Our services include furnace maintenance, heater repairs, HVAC installations, and many more! Call Townsend Energy today!

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