Friday, December 23, 2022

Got Propane Today

 We got a delivery of propane today. And I found out, once again, how unreliable the level gauge on the tank is.

When reading my level gauge, and I assume other tanks are probably the same, I have to bounce the lid on the tank a couple of times to ensure the level gauge is not stuck in one position.

I did the bounce thing, and the gauge shows 32%. Not bad, last friday when I ordered propane it was at 40%, and it has been really cold here lately. At least for us it's cold. For some of you guys we have been having shirtsleeve weather, with nighttime temps in the low 30's and daytime temps in low to mid 50's.

I like to ensure my tank doesn't get lower than 30% before refilling, because I'm a nervous nellie about letting it go lower than that.

So today he fills it up, puts 157 gallons in the tank. When I saw the meter on his truck my eyebrows went up because I was only expecting about 125 gallons. Thats quite a bit more gallons than I thought. 

Anyway he prints out the ticket and I pay him $3.40 gallon for $536 bucks. And this guy I buy from has as low a price as anybody around.

Reading the ticket later I see that he said the tank was at 22% prior to filling. I know damn well that gauge read 32%. So now I don't trust the gauge and have to keep a much closer eye on things.

Around 1983 when I was working on boilers I got an education on propane tank level gauges. The boiler I was working on would not light up for anything, and I found there was no fuel coming to the boiler. 

The customer and I went to his gigantic tank, this thing was 30 or 40 feet long and I had to climb a ladder to get up top. Anyway the gauge showed the tank as being full. So the customer calls the propane people, they come out and check. The guy opens the vent on the tank and guess what? Nothing came out. The propane tank was zero empty, even though the gauge said it was full. I felt like a dumbass cause I didn't check the vent.


  1. A new gauge can be fairly accurate. The older they get the less accurate they become.

    1. True. I will have to be more diligent in watching the tank I suppose.

  2. Many pressure or volumetric gages use/employ a Bourdon tube. Which work wonderfully well, in normal ambient temperatures. Mebbe "barn" or very gently warm the gauge itself. And take a secondary reading.
    Merry Christmas Fred ...