How to Check Your Propane Tank Levels: 3 Easy Ways

October 23, 2016


How to Check the Propane Level In Your Tank

fall_bbq Summer was full balmy evening BBQs with family, kids running around the lush green grass, and grown ups laughing around the table.

Fall may be fast approaching, but before an autumn chill reaches the air, it’s a good time to take advantage of the lingering summer heat.  Call the family and friends, stir up some potato salad and fire up the BBQ one more time for a final grillin’ fling!

But before you buy enough ground meat and flatten out patties to feed your gathered loved ones, make sure your propane tank has enough gas to grill.  You wouldn’t want to end up with raw patties or half cooked hamburgers and a house full of guests!

3 Easy Ways to Check Your Propane Levels

Propane Tank RefillChecking how much propane you have left in your tank isn’t difficult to do.  Here are three different ways you can check from the comfort of your own backyard.

1. WEIGH THE TANK.  If you have a household scale lying around, get that baby out and weigh your propane tank.  Then get out a calculator, some paper and a pencil, because math has to happen to figure out how much gas you have left.

According to the Boy Scouts, an empty 20 lb propane tank weighs approximately 18.5 pounds while a full propane tank weighs about 34-35 pounds.  Weigh your tank and write down that weight.  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).

Good thing you got that calculator!

2. USE A PROPANE TANK GAUGE.  If the idea of doing math makes you squirm, and you don’t actually own a household scale, buying a propane tank gauge like this one is a good option for you!  Plus, using a gauge will give you a more accurate read on how much propane is left in your tank.

All you have to do is figure out which propane tank gauge would work best for you, buy it, and install it on your tank.  No math, or calculators, necessary!

3. THE WARM WATER METHOD.  Don’t have a household scale or a propane tank gauge?  Still need to know how much propane you have in your tank?  You’re in luck.  This method will work in a pinch.

First, get a pitcher of warm water (on the hotter side would be best).  If there is any propane left in your tank, it will absorb the heat from the water, making the tank itself feel cool to the touch.  Once you’ve poured the water on the tank, run your hand down the side and stop when the tank feels cool.  That’s approximately the level of the propane left in your tank.  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.

Refill Your Tank at Your Neighborhood Propane Refill Station

Propane Filling StationDon’t waste the final days of summer warmth.  Check your propane levels before you start grilling and if you need to refill, Park Plaza Shell can help you out.  Our full-service propane refill station is located conveniently and open seven days a week.

Come on by for a quick refill and keep the summer fun going all the way into Fall!