Three ways to tell how much propane is in your barbecue cylinder

propane tankSpring is here – time to get outside and begin cooking on your propane grill! Just make sure you have enough gas in your propane cylinder before your next cookout gets underway.

The question is, how do you do that with a propane cylinder that has no fuel gauge, since most do not have one. Well, we can help! Here are three simple ways to do it:

  1. Use hot water. The FiX IT Home Improvement Channel shared this simple trick for determining the approximate level of propane in a tank using a little bit of water.

    To check your fuel level,

    • Fill a small bucket with hot tap water.
    • Pour the water down the side of the tank.
    • Run your hand along the side of the tank and feel for a cool spot.

    The top of the cool spot is the fill level of the tank – it’s cool because liquid propane inside the tank is absorbing the heat from the water, which makes the metal wall of the tank cool to the touch.

  2. Weigh the tank. Most propane grill tanks come with two numbers stamped on the handle – the water capacity (“WC”) and Tare Weight (TW – the weight of the tank when it’s empty). Most grilling tanks weigh about 17 pounds when empty and hold about 20 pounds of gas.

    To measure how many pounds of propane are left in your tank, simply weigh it on a scale and subtract the TW number. For example, if a tank weighing 27 pounds has a TW of 17 pounds, there’s about 10 pounds of gas left – a little more than half a tank.

  3. Install an external gauge. External propane tank gauges come in several different forms, including:
    • Inline pressure gauges install between the gas line from the grill and the cut-off valve on the tank, measuring pressures to determine how full the tank is.
    • Analog propane scales look like luggage scales and are pre-set to take your tank’s TW into account.
    • Digital propane tank scales provide a digital readout of remaining cook time and gas fill percentage. Some even come with smart phone apps.

    Choose the device you like and you’re good to go!

Don’t grill blind – try these tips to know how much gas is left in your tank before your next grill-a-thon. If you run out, no problem – just exchange your tank at a local Lil’ Hanks Propane Tanks dealer near you. Contact us today to learn more!