Propane, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is an alternative fuel derived from natural gas processing and petroleum refining. It is extensively utilized in homes, businesses, farms, and industries in rural areas where natural gas is not reticulated. In homes, they’re typically used for appliances such as ovens, space heaters, furnaces, and grill cooking.
How long will a 10% of propane last largely depends on the total volume of the tank as well as your consumption rate. For instance, if you have 1000 gallons of LPG and it depleted to 10%, you’d still be left with 100 gallons of propane. Now, how long that will last will depend on how you use it.
However, as a rule of thumb, if the propane tank indicator shows less than 20%, you must refuel immediately. Letting your propane run out might pose some serious safety hazards and leave you with no heat at home.
How Can I Tell If My Propane is Running Low
In many households, propane is used for a wide range of purposes, including home heating, water heating, cooking, and backup electricity. To ensure your family’s comfort and safety, monitoring your propane levels on a regular basis is as important as locking your doors at night.
Fortunately, checking a propane tank’s level is quite easy. Every homeowner should develop the habit of doing it regularly. Here’s how it’s done:
Check the Float Gauge
If your tank already has a propane tank level indicator installed, simply check the gauge. This will display the approximate percentage of remaining fuel. If the arrow on the propane tank gauge points to the red region, the tank must be refilled immediately. However, most small tanks don’t come with a gauge but there are still several methods you can use to check how much fuel is left in your propane tank.
Pour Warm Water on It
First, you must turn off the valve of your tank and detach it from the grill. After that, get a small bucket and put warm water in it. Pour the warm water over the side of the tank. After that, move your hand along the side of the tank. The water’s heat will be transferred to the liquid propane inside. This will make the section of the tank with propane feel colder and the part without propane feel warmer
Weigh the Tank
Another method used to estimate how much fuel is left in your tank is by weighing it. In this method, you first need to determine the tare weight of your tank. The tare weight is the weight of the tank when it is completely empty. Most propane tanks have the water capacity (WC) and tare weight (TW) printed on the handle. You can also find it directly on the tank.
To figure out how many pounds of propane is left in your tank, simply weigh it on the scale and deduct the tare weight from the weight on the scale. For example, if the tank weighs 30 pounds and has a tare weight of 18 pounds, it has approximately 12 pounds of gas remaining.
Why You Should Never Let Your Propane Get Too Low
Running out of propane can pose some serious dangers and safety hazards for you and your family. In its natural state, propane is a non-toxic, colorless, and odorless gas. However, when it gets into contact with oxygen, it is highly flammable.
If you let your propane tank run out, the valves or gas lines will be left exposed, which increases the likelihood of leaks occurring when the tank is refilled. It’s also possible for a fire or explosion to break out in your home if the leaking gas vapor gets into contact with an ignition source such as electrical sparks, unshielded flames, or smoking objects.
Moreover, a propane tank that is empty or almost empty is fertile ground for air and moisture to penetrate, which leaves the tank susceptible to the development of rust. Not only does rust weaken the tank, but it also has the potential to hide the smell of rotten eggs that propane gives out when there is a leak or when it is time to get a refill.
What To Do When Your Propane Gets Below 20%
If your propane tank dips below 20%, don’t freak out. Although it indicates that it’s time for a refill, it’s possible to stretch this out for a couple of days provided that you’re using it wisely. Cut back on the amount of propane you use until the tank is refilled.
Moreover, you must not let your pilot lights to go out if you can avoid it. If your tank goes below 10%, this will require your technician to perform a safety check and a leak test which could be costly and time-consuming.
How to Avoid Emergency Propane Refills
- Make it a habit to regularly monitor your propane gauge.
- If your propane doesn’t have a gauge, install one.
- Purchase a remote monitoring gauge that will text you when specific levels are reached.
- Arrange for a delivery when your propane supply falls below 20%.
- Set up a regular delivery schedule with your propane retailer.