Propane Tank Basics

Propane tanks are often times overlooked. The only thing normal people care about is if the end product, the propane, can get to point b from point a. Of course there is a little more involved in this process than just turning a nozzle.

Propane in tanks is in a liquid state under high pressure to keep it that way. By turning the nozzle you release the propane to become a vapor and to be used as fuel. That being said propane takes some special precautions. Propane expands and contracts according to the temperature, not unlike water. Yet this expansion and contraction can be as much as 17 times of water. There is no reliable way to be able to read this. The only reliable way to figure how much propane is in a tank is through weighing it. Unfortunately some industrial sized tanks make this task nearly impossible. So the next best thing is the gauge that is put on top. Remember this gauge is not extremely accurate but is close. Also due to this restraint your common everyday propane tank is only filled to around 80% capacity. This is to keep the tank from overfilling as well as rupture in which case it becomes an explosive device. Fortunately most tanks are made to the specification that they be able to hold a pressure ratio of 5:1, or 5 times as much they would normally have.

Another aspect of the tank is how much it is labeled to hold. Since propane expansion and contraction is unpredictable propane tanks are tested to hold water. A 500 gallon tank in other words would hold 500 gallons of water or similar liquid. Propane tanks are to be maintained and serviced by professionals only. This is due to many factors such as the possibility of damaging the tank, creating a dangerous carbon monoxide situation due to leaks, or the event one could rupture the tank itself.

Some important information from above:

  • Propane Tanks are measure in how much water they hold, not propane.
  • Tanks are only filled to 80%-85%.
  • Propane is stored as a liquid under pressure.
  • Gauges give an estimate but not exact number of how much is in a tank
  • Safety standards require that tanks be made to 5:1 ratio. The tank is able to withstand 5 times the regular pressure.
  • Only qualified technicians should fill or service a tank due to inherent dangers of propane.

A trained dealer in propane will be happy to answer any question you have about propane. Propane has safely been used for years now and with a knowledge of the basics as well as a working relationship with technicians you can make sure it stays that way.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: