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3 Step Guide To Using Hot Water To Check Your Construction Company's Propane Tank's Level

by Clinton Stone

If your construction company uses propane on the worksite, you may worry about running low on the gas while in the middle of a job. However, you may discover that you have an older tank that does not have a level indicator. If so, use the following three-step guide to check your propane tank's level using hot water.

Step 1:  Pour Hot Water down the Side

The first step in checking your propane tank's level when it does not have an indicator is to pour hot water down the side. The heat of the water will react to the temperature of the gas.

The amount of water needed will depend on the size of your tank. For a small tank, two or three cups is sufficient. However, if you have a larger tank, you may need several gallons. Use enough water to cover the entire exterior of the tank.

Do not boil the water for this test. Using water that is too hot could crack the tank, as well as pose a burn risk. Use hot water from a tap, then pour it immediately over the tank before it cools down. Then, go on to the next step.

Step 2:  Check for Condensation on the Exterior 

In this next step, you will be checking the exterior of the tank for evidence of condensation. Because propane gas has a lower temperature than the hot water, condensation will form on the outside of the tank.

When the condensation forms, look at where the top of the moisture stops. This should give you an idea as to the gas level inside the tank.

However, if you do not see any condensation form, it is possible that the tank is almost empty. To be sure, go on to the next step.

Step 3:  Feel the Tank's Temperature

If you see very little or no condensation on the tank, put your hand at the bottom to feel the temperature. When the hot water is poured over the tank, the gas inside remains cool, even when the tank is heated by the water.

The area where gas is touching the interior of the tank will feel cooler to the touch than the empty portions. If you do not feel any difference in the temperature of the tank, it is likely almost empty.

If you suspect that your tank's level is low, you should make plans to have it refilled or replaced before you run out. Contact a propane company to have them professionally check the level and make arrangements to ensure you have a full tank on hand to keep from interrupting your construction site's workflow.

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