We’re in the midst of outdoor living season in Connecticut, which means it’s time to fire up your propane BBQ grill! Simply ensure that you have extra gas for your next summer BBQ.
However, as any veteran propane griller knows, most 20-pound propane barbecue cylinders lack a gauge, which means you’ll need to figure out how much fuel is left in your tank in another method.
Here are three easy ideas to get you started:
1. Make use of warm water. This safe and straightforward method for determining how much propane is left in your tank was given by the FiX IT Home Improvement Channel. To accomplish this,
- Fill a small bucket halfway with warm to hot tap water and set aside.
- Pour the water down the tank’s side.
- Feel for a cool location around the tank’s side using your hand.
The fill level of the tank is at the top of the cold spot (it’s cool because liquid propane inside the tank absorbs heat from the water, making the tank’s metal wall cool to the touch).
2. Check the tank’s weight. On the handle of most propane grill tanks are two numbers: the water capacity (“WC”) and the tare weight (TW), which is the weight of the tank when it is empty. When empty, most grilling tanks weigh around 17 pounds and store around 20 pounds of gas.
Simply weigh your tank on a scale and subtract the TW number to find out how much propane is left in it. If a 27-pound tank has a TW of 17 pounds, there’s about 10 pounds of gas left, or little more than half a tank.
3. Install a gauge on the outside of the building. Options for external propane tank gauges include:
- Installed between the gas line from the grill and the tank’s cut-off valve, inline pressure gauges measure pressures to determine how full the tank is.
- Analog propane scales resemble luggage scales and are pre-programmed to account for your tank’s TW.
- A digital display of remaining cook time and gas fill percentage is provided by digital propane tank scales. Some even have apps for smart phones.
Choose a gauge that you like (they’re available at your local hardware shop and on Amazon) and try it out!
Don’t let your propane cylinder burn you.
Before your next summer party, use these ways to figure out how much gas is left in your tank. Don’t panic if you run out of propane; simply visit one of our Connecticut showrooms for a propane cylinder refill!
What is the weight of the WC on a propane tank?
Prior to connecting the fill hose to the cylinder on the scale, the bottle filler will examine for two further things after the visual exterior bottle inspection. The water capacity and tare weight are the two factors. The water capacity of a propane bottle is the amount of water it can contain in pounds. The letters “WC” followed by a number, such as “47.6,” indicate that the bottle can hold 47.6 pounds of water. The tare weight (empty weight) is marked by a “TW” and a number, such as “18,” which means the bottle weighs 18 pounds when empty. A five gallon propane bottle (also known as a 20 pound cylinder) used for a barbecue grill would most likely have these numbers.
A cylinder filling chart that translates water capacity (WC) to pounds of propane will usually be available at the bottle filling station for the filler to consult before filling the bottle. The figure depicts the conversion of 47.6 pounds of water to 20 pounds of propane. To put it another way, a propane container that holds 47.6 pounds of water can store 20 pounds of propane. This means the scale should be set slightly higher than 38 pounds (20 lbs + 18 lbs = 38 lbs) in order to get the weight of the bottle when it reaches its maximum capacity.
The attendant can open the bleeder valve, reset the meter, and start pouring propane into the bottle after the scale is set and the hose end nozzle is connected to the cylinder. Once the attendant has completed the following steps, the pump will be turned off:
- The bleeder valve begins to discharge fluids.
- The scale indicates that the cylinder’s permissible filling capacity has been achieved.
- The OPD valve shuts off the propane supply to the cylinder (if equipped with an OPD valve)
Some firms will load your cylinder into your vehicle for you once it has been filled, while others are unable to do so due to liability concerns. So, if you have to load your own cylinder, don’t be offended. The person filling the bottles is only following the rules.
On a cylinder, what does WC stand for?
Gas cylinder quantities must be entered as the water capacity (WC) of the gas cylinder/s in litres, according to the Dangerous Goods Regulations. Figure 1 depicts a variety of compressed gas cylinders.
How do you decipher the code on a propane tank?
The recertification date of a propane tank is usually represented by a letter rather than a number. Each quarter of the year is represented by the letters A, B, C, and D. The letter is a “A would indicate that the tank was recertified in January, February, or March, followed by the year’s two numbers. In this scenario, a tank with the inscription “The number 20 denotes the first quarter of 2020. The type of recertification is indicated by additional letters, which helps define the frequency of follow-up inspections.
The warm water, cool hand method
This is the quickest and most straightforward method of determining the propane amount in your tank. Simply fill your tank with warm water and run your palm along the tank’s side.
The temperature will become cold to the touch as you reach the level of propane in your tank. This method works by producing a temperature difference between the hot water on the tank surface and the propane inside the tank through a physical reaction. The propane reacts as the hot water heats the tank’s outside, creating a chilly area at the fill level. This method will not provide an exact reading, but it will allow you to approximate how close you are to requiring a tank exchange.
Using a gauge
Users may get a fast read on the level of their portable liquid propane gas tanks with this simple solution. The volume of propane in most portable LPG cylinders with gauges is expressed as a percentage of full, with 100 percent appearing when the tank is full with 20 pounds of propane and lowering during use.
These gauges work by measuring the pressure within the tank and calculating the remaining levels. This type of pressure gauge can be found at home improvement and retail stores all throughout the country. They’re inexpensive, simple to set up, and simple to read. When yours is installed, simply remove it when the tank is empty and replace it with your next one.
For More Precision: Tipping the Scale Method
This approach provides a more precise measurement, but disconnecting your propane tank from the grill involves some work. A household scale and the patience to conduct a few simple calculations are also required.
Propane tanks are commonly branded with an empty or full symbol “The average tare weight is between 17 and 19 pounds. When fully charged, a normal propane tank carries 20 pounds of propane. To get the total weight of the tank, place it on your scale and deduct it “To find out how much propane is remaining in your tank, use the tare weight method.
The method can be used to estimate the amount of cooking time left in your tank, as well as to determine the number of gallons. To convert your reading to gallons, divide your net weight by 4.2.
A gallon of propane holds about 92,000 BTUs, and the BTU per hour rating on your grill might give you an idea of how much cooking time you have left in your tank.
The Mathematician Method: How Much Cooking Time Do You Have Left
Get your calculator ready, because calculating how much propane is in your tank requires numerous steps through the realm of mathematical calculations. It is, nevertheless, one of the more accurate methods for calculating propane levels, and it may be utilized in a predictive manner as your tank depletes.
Keep the following numbers in mind: The weight of propane divided by 4.2 turns the units to gallons, and a gallon of propane provides approximately 92,000 BTUs of energy. To complete the formula, you’ll need to know your grill’s BTU per hour rating as well as the heat setting you’ll be using while grilling.
For example, you can use the calculation to establish the minimal amount of cooking time you can expect to be able to cook with a full tank:
In this example, your propane tank holds 4.76 gallons of propane with a BTU output of 438,000. On the maximum setting, if your grill is rated for 30,000 BTU per hour (438,000/30,000), you should expect between 14 and 15 hours of cooking time.
When a 20-pound propane tank is full, how much should it weigh?
The most popular size of BBQ propane tank is 20 lb. It can also be used to fuel a number of propane heaters and even propane generators.
The dimensions of a 20-pound propane tank are 8 inches length and 4-inches wide. According to the 80 percent safety guideline, a 20 lb propane tank can hold a total of 16 lb of propane.
The empty 20-pound propane tank weighs around 13.5 pounds. Aluminum 20 pound propane cylinders are lighter than steel cylinders.
On average, a full 20-pound propane tank weighs 29.5 pounds. To determine the total, add the 16 pound of propane to the empty weight (13.5 pound) of the 20 pound propane tank.
Overall, a 20 pound propane tank has a lot of BTUs. What is the precise number of BTUs in it?
344,470 BTUs are contained in a 20 pound propane tank. That’s enough to keep a 10,000 BTU/h heater running for several days (34.4 hours, to be exact).
On a propane tank, where can you locate the expiration date?
1. What should you do if your propane tank has run out?
When those 12 years are over, you have the option of replacing the tank or having it inspected for requalification for another five years of use.
2. What is the expiration date of the propane tank?
The date of manufacturing or requalification of a propane tank is stamped on its collar. The format will be month-year, for example, 06-21 for June 2021.
3. How should old propane tanks be disposed of?
Propane tanks with a volume of 100 pounds or less have a 12-year shelf life from the date of manufacturing. When those 12 years are over, you have the option of replacing the tank or having it inspected for requalification for another five years of use.
4. What is the average lifespan of a tank?
Propane tanks with a volume of 100 pounds or less have a 12-year shelf life from the date of manufacturing.
5. Do all tanks have an expiration date?
Large propane tanks used for residential heating and hot water are restricted by federal container restrictions in most states. According to the legislation, a propane tank can only be filled by the owner or someone authorized to act on their behalf. In practice, this means that the majority of household propane users lease their tank from a fuel supplier, who is responsible for keeping track of the tank’s expiration date.
6. Where can I have my propane tanks recertified?
Learn More about Propane Tanks:
- How to Check the Level of Your Propane Tank at Home
- How to Get Your Propane Tank Ready for the Winter
- Buying vs. Renting a Propane Tank for Your Home
- Is It Possible to Paint My Propane Tank?
- How to Dispose of Old Propane Tanks Correctly
- Propane Tanks: Above Ground vs. Underground
- Where Should My Propane Tank Be Stored?
- When Buying a House with Propane Heat, Here Are 5 Questions to Ask
- Changing from Natural Gas to Propane
- Is it better to rent or buy a propane tank?
How can you determine the age of a propane tank?
Because propane cylinders must be requalified or changed every 10 years, this mark will indicate when it was done. Finding a sequence of numbers and letters that conclude in ‘E’ is the quickest way to get the requalification date on a cylinder.