How To Tell If Home Propane Tank Is Empty

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Propane heat users that opt for will-call propane fuel delivery must keep track of the fuel level in their outdoor tanks to ensure they don’t run out before booking their next propane delivery. An empty propane tank means the heater will stop operating, the home will be uncomfortable, and the indoor temperatures will plummet. Don’t let this occur to you. This article discusses how to tell if home propane tank is empty.

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How To Check Your Propane Tank Levels

Heaters usually last for ten years or more when properly cared for. As a homeowner, try to learn about your heating unit and propane tank to achieve smooth ownership for a long time. Learn how to check the propane tank so it doesn’t go empty. The tank has a thick opaque wall, so a quick visual inspection from afar isn’t possible. However, some simple strategies can be used to determine the remaining level at any time. Listed below are several steps you can take to monitor the contents:

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Use a Propane Tank Gauge

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Most propane tanks have built-in devices for fuel volume measurement. The gauge will tell you the current amount, so you should check it regularly. If your tank isn’t fitted with one, purchase an aftermarket gauge and get it installed. This will show you the tank percentage that the propane occupies. You can get the actual volume by multiplying this by tank capacity. For instance, you may have a 400-gallon tank that has a 60% reading; you have around 240 gallons left. Habitually check the tank every week to learn your consumption rate. This will let you know how long your propane will last, depending on the weather.

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Warm Water – Cool Hand Method

You don’t need a precise number at all times. Don’t worry if you can’t find the gauge or if this device is broken. Sensing the surface temperature can help you estimate your tank level. To do this, pour warm water over the tank and run your hand along the walls. A significant temperature difference between the space and liquid fuel should be noticeable. Check where it begins to get cold, as this is the current maximum reach of your tank. This should get lower over time. Book your next propane delivery before it gets too low.

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Simple Math Calculations

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You can do simple calculations to get accurate estimates if you are good with numbers. First, learn your propane tank’s volume. If you only have its weight capacity in pounds, divide it by 4.2 to know its equivalent number of gallons. Next, find your heating system’s consumption rate in BTUs per hour. British Thermal Unit is how much heat is required to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It is an excellent heat content measure of different fuels and energy sources.

One gallon of propane can generate 91,452 BTUs of thermal energy. Check the BTU rating of your heater and divide it by the number above. A system with a rating of 30,000 BTUs will use around 0.328 gallons per hour. This is equal to 7.87 each day and 236.19 gallons every month. Whereas a system rated at 50,000 BTUs installed in a bigger home will use 0.547 gallons per hour, 13.12 gallons per day, and 393.65 gallons monthly. These numbers assume continuous operation and a new heating unit. Keep in mind that a heating system’s efficiency or ability to turn fuel into usable heat drops as it ages. Remember this as you do your calculations. These consumption rates should help you estimate how long your tank will last.

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Why You Should Schedule Your Propane Delivery at 30%

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Don’t wait until your tank is completely depleted before scheduling your next propane delivery. Professional propane providers recommend booking a fuel delivery when the levels drop to 30%. This buffer will give you wiggle room should the delivery be delayed due to foul weather, fleet availability, traffic congestion, or supply issues. Being safe is always the better option.

The weather can also change at any time. Temperature drops can cause the fuel consumption rate to increase. Therefore, you may think your tank will last for a week, but it may only keep your home warm for several days. Don’t wait until your tank is dangerously low. As mentioned above, a good rule of thumb is getting a refill when your tank is at 30% capacity.

If you ran out of propane long before you should have, check for leaks around the tank before getting more propane. You must repair any leaks first to avoid fires and fuel waste. Have HVAC professionals visit for cleanup and repairs.

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Why You Shouldn’t Run Out Of Propane

Make sure that your tank is managed properly.

  • Non-functional Appliances: When propane runs out, all the propane-fueled appliances will cease to function. Your heating unit cannot shield you from the cold anymore. You cannot cook meals on your propane stove, and your propane water heater cannot provide warm showers.
  • Rust Build-up: Air moves inside your tank when fuel moves out. The moist air can result in internal corrosion if you neglect it. It weakens the tank walls and results in leaks. Rust can also cover up the propane smell, so you may not notice the leak immediately. It will worsen while you are unaware it is happening.
  • The heat from the heating system isn’t just to make your family comfortable. It also benefits your property by keeping the pipes from freezing and bursting. This problem can be expensive to repair.

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Letting your propane tank run out of fuel can be dangerous, inconvenient, and expensive. Track its content levels throughout the cold season to prevent unpleasant surprises. Utilize the techniques in this article to estimate the volume and contact your local propane supplier for deliveries when it’s about 30%. Being diligent can result in stress-free ownership.

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