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How to Tell If Your Propane Grill Tank Is Empty

How to Tell If Your Propane Grill Tank Is Empty

Written on: March 27, 2024

Simple and Safe Ways to Check

grill tank georgia Since most portable propane grill tanks don’t come with a built-in gauge, you need another way to figure out how much fuel is left in the tank attached to your propane grill. You obviously don’t want to wait until your grill shuts off to tell you that your propane tank is out of gas.

Simple Ways to Check Your Portable Gas Cylinder

Use water. You can determine the approximate level of propane in a tank by using a little bit of water. Here’s how:

The top of the cool spot is the fill level of the tank. It feels cool because liquid propane inside the tank is absorbing the heat from the water, which makes the metal wall of the tank cool to the touch.

Weigh the tank. 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. 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—or about 2.5 gallons.

For an easier way, there are analog propane scales that look like luggage scales and are pre-set to take your tank’s TW into account. There are also digital propane tank scales that provide a digital readout of remaining cook time and gas fill percentage. Some even come with smart phone apps.

Use an external gauge. Inline pressure gauges fit between the gas line from the grill and the cut-off valve on the tank, measuring pressures to determine how full the tank is.

Pick the method that you’re most comfortable with and give it a try the next time you’re wondering how much propane is left in your portable cylinder.

80/20 Rule for Tank Fills

When you take your portable 20-lb propane tank to a refill station or tank exchange, you should get four gallons (or 17 pounds of propane; propane weighs 4.25 pounds per gallon). For safety reasons, the propane cylinder should only be filled to 80% of its maximum capacity. Leaving the tank 20% empty leaves room for the LP gas to expand, which it will do when the temperature rises. A propane cylinder illegally filled to 100% capacity could burst. This same 80/20 rule also applies to your home heating propane tank.

Safety Tips for Propane Cylinders

Here are some safety tips to always keep in mind.

Remember that propane cylinders incorporate special components such as valves, connectors, and other parts to keep them safe for use with grills and other propane appliances. Damage to any component can cause a gas leak. Don’t risk it! Instead, always contact a qualified propane service provider for assistance.

Your Georgia propane company wants to make sure you know how to approach propane safety in and around your home or business, no matter how you’re using propane. We encourage you to review our propane safety and operation tips, courtesy of the Propane Education and Research Council.