If you use propane tanks for grilling, camping trips, or other activities, you may be curious about the weight of an empty tank. In this post, we'll tell you how much empty propane tanks weigh and what are the ways for you to measure them at home!
The weight of empty propane tanks depends on the size of the tank. A typical grilling propane tank has 20 lbs of gas and is stored in a 17-lb tank. This means that the total weight is 37 lbs and the empty tank weighs 17 lbs.
Here are three simple ways for you to measure how much gas you have left and to know if you have an empty tank:
- Look for the TW engraved in your steel tank and subtract it from the total weight of your tank.
- Splash warm water on your tank and feel the cold parts. If the bottom half is cold, it's halfway full.
- Install an external gauge.
You probably want to know more than just the snippets we shared, so, keep reading below for a more detailed guide to know how much gas you have left or if it's empty.
How To Measure How Much Gas You Have Left
There are many ways to measure your propane tank at home and find out how much gas you have left. Doing so will be quick and easy!
Weigh Your Tank and Find the TW (Tare Weight)
Find the letters "TW" engraved on the handle of your tank. "TW" stands for Tare Weight, the weight of an empty tank. When you find the TW, weigh your tank and subtract the total weight from its TW.
For example, the weight of your tank is 28 lbs and the TW is 20 lbs. Subtract the two values, and you'll have the remaining 8 lbs. That's how much gas you have left in your tank. Easy, right? But what's the equation for finding how many gallons are left in your tank?
Propane weighs about 4.2 gallons. Since you have a remaining 8 lbs in your tank, divide it by 4.2 gallons, and you'll have 1.9 gallons of propane.
Look at this chart that shows the gallons, TW, and even the volume of many types of tanks.
Check out this heavy-duty hanging scale on Amazon.
Splash Warm Water and Find the Cold Parts
This trick is for those who do not have a scale at home and are looking for a substitute. Just know that doing this trick will result in an estimate, not an exact answer.
For this DIY trick, all you need is a bucket of warm to hot water. Pour the liquid on the tank's surface and feel for the cold parts. If you feel that the lower bottom half isn't warming up, that's how much propane you have left in your tank.
The reason behind this is because propane remains cool as it absorbs the heat from the metal, but metal heats up from the warm water.
Install An External Gauge
Many propane tanks come with an external gauge, but if yours don't have one. It's very easy to purchase one. The external gauge functions like a fuel gauge in your car. It has an arrow that points to the amount of gas left in your tank.
With an external gauge, you can easily see how much gas you have left, if it's almost out, or if it's empty.
Click here to see this propane tank gauge on Amazon.
How much gas is left in your 100 lb propane tank?
The best way to know how much gas is left in your 100 lb propane tank is through finding the TW (tare weight) and weighing it. Just like the tip above, you can simply apply it in this situation.
Find the TW of the tank stamped on the handle, weigh your tank, and subtract the TW from the total weight. So, if the TW is 15 lbs, and the total weight is 75 lbs, you still have 50 lbs worth of gas left in your tank.
How long will propane gas last?
If you have a 37 lb tank that contains 20 lbs of propane, how long will the 20 lbs of gas last? Here's how you can compute it at home.
Each pound contains 21,600 BTUs (British Thermal Units). Multiply the BTU by the number of pounds in your tank.
It'll look like this: 20 x 21,600 = 432,000 BTUs.
The next step is finding the BTU output for your specific appliance. Let's say it's a grill. A grill burns 12,000 BTUs per hour. To determine how long your remaining gas will last, divide 432,000 by 12,000, and you will get 36 hours of run time.
Should you exchange or refill tanks?
This question has long been debated among RV and grill enthusiasts. Still, the real question is, would you pick price over convenience? It's important to weigh the pros and cons of refilling and exchanging so you have a better idea of what you need.
Refilling propane tanks is cheaper, costing almost $2 less than exchanging with retailers. You can also control the amount of propane you'll buy, so that's great.
The only problem with refilling is the effort it takes to bring the tank back and forth from the retailer to get it filled. If you're willing to sacrifice the convenience for a cheaper option, do it.
With propane tank exchange, you're paying a little extra for the convenience. Say you tried one of the tips mentioned and found out you have little to no gas left. You can easily drop by the nearest gas station, supermarket, or convenience store for a swap.
The thing is, there are far more exchanging locations than refilling stations. Some places specifically provide services for a tank exchange. It's also safe to say that buying a new tank ensures that it's been inspected, cleaned, checked for leaks, and maintained properly for your safety.
Here are the downsides: with a new tank comes a few extra bucks. Plus, you can never use up all the gas left in your tank once you exchange it.
To ensure that your new tank is fully operational and safe, follow these tips:
- Weigh your tank. Check for the total weight, including the tare weight, to ensure that it hasn't been altered.
- Check for damage. Make sure to inspect the form of your new tank and check for dents, marks, or any sign that it's in bad shape.
- Look for the expiration date. Check the handle of the tank for important details like the expiration date.
How much propane does a tank contain?
Propane manufacturers aren't outsmarting you. The real reason why propane tanks aren't full to the brim is because it should only be at 80%. This is because higher temperatures will increase pressure. A full 100% tank would be dangerous and explosive. So, if you have a hundred-gallon tank, it should only contain 80 gallons of propane.
Some people also consider buying a pair of propane tanks. By doing so, you don't have to rush to the nearest gas station on a Sunday when you run out of gas. You can refill each tank when you're available.
People Also Asked
Here are some questions that people often ask! If you still have questions about propane tanks, here are some answers!
Should you open a propane tank valve all the way?
A member from a forum about outdoors and hunting mentions that propane tank valve should always be fully opened. Many propane tanks have a seal connected to the valve that only engages when it's fully opened.
If the valve is only partially or completely open, the seal does not operate, causing leakage.
How cold is too cold for propane?
The cold temperature limit of a propane tank is -44 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point propane shifts from gas to liquid. Propane can only be used to heat your home when it is in a gaseous state.
Do you leave propane on?
Although it can be convenient for some people to just leave their propane on after cooking, or because they tend to forget, it is safer to turn it off to prevent leakage.
We hope we helped you learn to tell if your tank is empty or if you need a refill or an exchange. When using propane tanks, there is no need to worry as long as you keep yourself informed and updated with current safety measures.
Consult the nearest propane service in your area, whether it's a simple question about your propane tank or you want to schedule an inspection!
For more on propane, check out these posts:
How Long Will 500 Gallons Of Propane Last?