How to Check Your Propane Gauge Before Ordering a Propane Refill

Posted by Chris Kauffman
| June 2016

Want to be sure you’re getting the most from your investment before you order a propane refill?

If so, you need to know a thing or two about your tank!

How often you’ll need to get a propane refill depends on a number of factors:

  • Ambient temperature you like for your home;
  • Size of your home and its level of insulation;
  • Other appliances in your home using propane;
  • The total size of your current propane tank(s).

Whatever the case, there’s no point ordering a propane refill before you need one. To check your propane level, all you need to do is get familiar with the propane gauge on your tank.

How to Check Your Aboveground or Underground Propane Gauge: A Quick Guide

Virtually all modern propane tanks are equipped with a gauge that helps you verify the levels of propane left inside. There are also gauges you can buy from third party vendors and install.

To read your gauge:

  • Look for the gauge at the top of the tank – usually next to the fill pipe;
  • Examine the face, which should display a number between 10 and 80;
  • The number is a percentage: Multiply the tank’s total capacity by this figure;
  • If you know how much propane you use in a week, you can calculate your refill needs.

Underground Propane Tank Gauge

underground-propane-gas-tank-hood-valve.jpg underground-propane-gauge.jpg

To be sure you're got the calculation right, just check our handy percentage to gallons conversion chart.

The Tank Level Seems Low! When Is It Time to Call Your Supplier for a Propane Refill?

Tank level getting kinda low? Don't panic! Odds are you have more time than you might think you do.

Remember: Your propane company will always fill your tank to about 85% capacity. There needs to be space in the tank for the propane liquid to evaporate and create a pocket of gas that’s ready to use.

For that reason, “full” for most propane tanks is 80-85%. More than that can cause problems.

Don't worry: Gauges tend to be accurate, and even if your tank is down to 20%, there is still plenty of time to refill it. At Kauffman Gas, we always strive to schedule refills around the 20% mark so you never run out.

Of course, you can always call us for fast, friendly delivery all throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.How to

How To Measure Your Barbecue Grill Tank's Propane Level

An empty 20lb grill propane tank measures about 18 to 20 pounds. A full one will weigh between 38 and 40 pounds.

So, if your grill tank weighs about 28-30 pounds, it's about halfway full!

No gauge on the grill tank? Try these methods

If there's a problem with your propane tank gauge, you can still estimate the level of propane you have.

There are a few different methods:

Use a Home Scale

It isn’t the most efficient approach, but a home scale can help you get an estimate of your tank’s contents. Most tanks are heavy enough to weigh on their own.

Subtract the weight of the tank itself and you’ll get the weight of your remaining propane. Remember, your scale has a weight limit, so don't break it!

Use Hot Water

Get a quart of hot water from your tap and carefully run it down the side of your closed propane tank. As you run your hand down the damp side, you’ll feel a difference in temperature: The tank will be cold at and below the level of the propane and warm where there’s only air.

When it Comes to Your Propane Refill, Always Order in Advance

If you’ve had your propane tank for a very long time, there’s a chance the gauge will become less precise. If you’re concerned, check on the gauge a few days in a row to make sure the reading is going down consistently.

Most folks don’t have the room to store lots of propane tanks on their property, so keep an eye on your propane level to make sure you order a refill at the right time for you.

Generally, propane usage is fairly consistent over the winter. You can develop an estimate of how much you'll use by documenting the amount of propane used by each appliance in your home in an hour, then multiplying by the number of hours each appliance will be active daily.

No matter where you are in southeastern Pennsylvania, Kauffman Gas is here to help. To order a propane refill, call us today.

Chris Kauffman

About the Author

Chris Kauffman

Chris is the Vice President of Kauffman Gas. He is the fourth generation of Kauffmans involved in the daily operations of Kauffman Gas. He helps lead the team in delivering propane gas and top quality service to customers in Chester County, Lancaster County and parts of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.