Propane Tanks Are Perfect for Camping and Grilling Season

Propane Tank RefillSummertime, when the sun is brightest, the days are longest, and outdoor activities abound. It’s the perfect time to break out the BBQ to grill up your secret burger recipe for friends and family; the perfect time to get out the camping gear and enjoy nature with the kids.

But before you buy ten pounds of ground meat to feed the entire neighborhood, or drive off into the mountains with tents and a camp stove, make sure your propane tank is as ready as you are. Check your propane tank levels so you don’t run out at the campground or while grilling burgers.

3 Ways to Check Your Propane Levels

There are a few different ways you can check how much propane you have left in your tank.

  • Weigh the Tank – Got a household scale lying around? Then get that baby out and weight your propane tank. According to the Boy Scouts, an empty 20 lb propane tank weighs approximately 18.5 pounds and a full propane tank weighs about 34-35 pounds. After weighing your tank, there’s some math involved. Subtract 18 from the total weight, then multiply by 30 to figure out how many minutes of grill time you have left.

(Tank weight – 18) x 30 = minutes of grill time
According to CharBroil, 1.5 pounds of propane = 1 hour of cooking time (on medium).

Propane tank gauge

  • Use a propane tank gauge – If you don’t have a scale handy (and you’d rather not do so much math), you could purchase a propane tank gauge like this one. Using a gauge will give you a more accurate read on how much propane you have left, you just have to pick one and install it on your tank.
  • The Warm Water Method – In a bit of a pinch and need to know how much propane you have left quickly? Then this is the method for you! Get a large cup of warm water, and pour it down the side of your tank. Any propane left in the tank will absorb the heat from the water and make the tank feel cool to the touch. After pouring the water, run your hand down the tank and stop when the side feels cool. That’s approximately where the propane is. This video does a good job of demonstrating the technique.

Refill vs. Propane Tank Exchange

Once you’ve determined you don’t have much propane left and you need to refill your tank, you have a couple of options. You can go to a propane refill station and fill your tank back up, or you can exchange your tank for one that’s already full. There are some pros and cons to each option. Check out this breakdown about exchanging versus refilling. We’ve summarized the points below.

Why You Shouldn’t Exchange Your Propane Tank

If you’re looking for convenience, then you might want to consider simply exchanging your propane tank. You’d search for a propane exchange location then go and leave your empty tank and take a full one. This is especially useful if your tank is expired.

Propane Tank RefillWhile this might be a quick-and-easy option, there are some definite disadvantages.

  • It’s more expensive. The tank you exchange for will not be 100% full. In most cases the new tank will only be filled 75%; that means 15 lbs of propane instead of the 20 lbs your tank is made to hold. And you’re still paying full-price for the lesser amount of propane.
  • No credit for any propane in the tank. Since you’re just handing off your tank, if there’s any propane left you don’t a credit for it. You pay for what they give you, and that’s that.
  • You’ll have to refill more often. Since you’re not getting a full tank of propane, you’ll have to refill
    sooner than if you had gotten a full tank.
The Benefits of Refilling Your Propane Tank

Not surprisingly, our recommended method is refilling your tank with propane. This method is cheaper, you get more propane in your tank, and you don’t have to refill as often.

  • When you refill your tank, you only pay for the propane you get. If you have any propane left in the tank, great! You’ll only have to pay for the propane that goes into your tank.
  • Lasts longer. Getting more propane means having to refill less frequently, which means more burgers, more camping, more summertime fun!

Bring Your Tank to Your Local Neighborhood Propane Refill Station

Park Plaza Shell has a full-service propane refill station. Whether you’re outdoor grilling, heading out on a camping trip, or enjoying cool summer evenings in the bamboo garden, we can help you refill your tank.

Conveniently located in your neighborhood, you can refill your propane
7:30 am thru 8:00 pm, 7 days a week.

Don’t let an empty propane tank ruin your summertime plans. Check your levels and bring your tank into Park Plaza Shell for a refill and keep your summer fueled!