How Do I Tell How Much Gas Is In My Propane Tank?

checking propane level new jersey

If your home is powered by propane, you’ll have to keep an eye on your fuel gauge to know when you need to schedule a propane delivery (unless you install a propane tank monitor, in which case we’ll take care of that for you).

The question is, how do you read the propane gauge?

In some small gas cylinders (such as the 20-lb. tank for your barbecue), there is no gauge – the best way to judge how much gas is left is to simply weight it. Most propane grill tanks come with two numbers stamped on the handle – the water capacity (“WC”) and “Tare Weight” (TW – the weight of the tank when it’s empty). Most grilling tanks weigh about 17 pounds when empty and hold about 20 pounds of gas; to measure how many pounds of propane are left in your tank, simply weigh it on a scale and subtract the TW number. For example, if a tank weighing 27 pounds has a TW of 17 pounds, there’s about 10 pounds of gas left – a little more than half a tank.

Things get easier with larger tanks (100+ gallons), which usually have a fuel gauge (often located under the tank dome or cover). The numbers on the gauge show what percentage of the tank is full. Most gauges usually read from 0 to about 90 percent (see why 90 percent and not 100 percent below). A gauge reading of 10 means that the tank is 10 percent full (almost empty).

We recommend that you call for delivery if your tank reads no less than 25 percent to avoid a propane run-out.

Why isn’t my propane tank 100 percent full?

If you’re a keen observer, you might have noticed that your propane tank is never 100 percent full. Why? It’s a question of propane safety.

Much like water, propane expands when it’s heated. But propane expands to about 17 times the volume of water over the same temperature increase! The extra space in the tank allows for that expansion.

Above-ground propane tanks are typically filled to about 80 percent capacity; in-ground tanks can be filled slightly higher, because the ground insulates the tank from big temperature swings.

Our expert drivers use a fixed liquid level gauge to make sure we don’t overfill – a simple but important measure we take to make sure every delivery to your home is a safe one.

For safe propane deliveries in NJ, trust the pros at Dixon Energy. Contact us to schedule a delivery or to install a propane tank monitor today.

Please note: at Dixon Energy, your safety and comfort are always our priority. Please see our COVID-19 Service Update Page to learn more about how we are working to keep you and our crews safe and your propane deliveries coming during this challenging time.