Gauge Accuracy>>>on Propane tank??? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 02/03/05, 11:40 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
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Gauge Accuracy>>>on Propane tank???

..............Got a 500 Gallon Tank , it's down to about 18% . Did alittle googling and most sites said I should NOT let it go below 10% which would be 40 gallons . 500 x 80% = 400 gallons(full tank) . 10% x 400 = 40 gallons by my calculations . Question.....How accurate are these gauge(s) they put in our tanks??? I installed a NEW gauge about 3 years previous . I have run completely out , which was when I installed a new gauge . Plus , I'm pretty frugal with my usage as I turn the Heater off at night when I sackout and run the electric blanket . Thanks , fordy

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Old 02/03/05, 12:24 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fordy
..............Got a 500 Gallon Tank , it's down to about 18% . Did alittle googling and most sites said I should NOT let it go below 10% which would be 40 gallons . 500 x 80% = 400 gallons(full tank) . 10% x 400 = 40 gallons by my calculations . Question.....How accurate are these gauge(s) they put in our tanks??? I installed a NEW gauge about 3 years previous . I have run completely out , which was when I installed a new gauge . Plus , I'm pretty frugal with my usage as I turn the Heater off at night when I sackout and run the electric blanket . Thanks , fordy
The gauges are acurate +/- 5% according to Amerigas, our propane provider. 10% is down to 50 gallons of which some of that might be contaminant etc. I would get it filled asap if you live in a cold climate. I don't let ours go down below 30% usually although we do have the "keep full" program where Amerigas is responsible for keeping it filled so we never run out. Running out is bad for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that once you get it filled, most propane companies require an inspection and purge of your lines prior to turning the service back on.

jim
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  #3  
Old 02/03/05, 01:33 PM
In Remembrance
 
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Location: South Central Kansas
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Gauges

Some of the gauges are VERY accurate, the others not so. Typically they work on a float system with a magnetic indicator. I had to replace the indicator on my last year and the accuray is not more than 5 gallons off.

Backwoods Idaho is correct that the percentage is figured on the entire tank, not on the 80%, so as they said, you still have 50 gallons IF your gauge is one of the accurate ones. In a very cold climate, with only 50 gallons in the tank, you can burn more fuel off than will boil and vaporize. Better to keep more than that in the tank if possible.

I'm filling bottles out of my 500 gallon tank and am down to 4%. I'll have some put in right before the next rain or snow. I want to let my road dry until then. The last I looked at a propane commodity chart the price was edging down just a tad. The futures were nearly what they were last July.

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Old 02/03/05, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BackwoodsIdaho
The gauges are acurate +/- 5% according to Amerigas, our propane provider. 10% is down to 50 gallons of which some of that might be contaminant etc. I would get it filled asap if you live in a cold climate. I don't let ours go down below 30% usually although we do have the "keep full" program where Amerigas is responsible for keeping it filled so we never run out. Running out is bad for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that once you get it filled, most propane companies require an inspection and purge of your lines prior to turning the service back on.

jim
That "keep full" thing is good in one way, bad in another.

I have mine refilled every six weeks or so and it winds up being between $265 and $310...

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  #5  
Old 02/03/05, 03:45 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
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..............I just ordered a 100 gallons at 1.70\gallon . If I buy 150 gallons as a minimum purchase it will cost 1.64 agallon . I don't burn a Tremendous amount of gas and I cook with electricity so 100 gallons will last me along time . fordy..

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  #6  
Old 02/03/05, 06:08 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeJane
That "keep full" thing is good in one way, bad in another.

I have mine refilled every six weeks or so and it winds up being between $265 and $310...

It is not cheap for sure. I generally lock an annual price in for 120% of my previous years usage. Since we are still building, we are adding fuel requirements so I figure a 20% buffer works for me. This year's price was locked in at $1.52 for 1100 gallons.
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  #7  
Old 02/03/05, 06:19 PM
 
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Fordy, Check your gauge before they put in the 100 gallon, and again afterward. The 100 gallon is 20 percent, and if you have 18 now I would think your second reading should be 38 percent.

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Old 02/03/05, 06:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windy in Kansas
Some of the gauges are VERY accurate, the others not so. Typically they work on a float system with a magnetic indicator. I had to replace the indicator on my last year and the accuray is not more than 5 gallons off.

Backwoods Idaho is correct that the percentage is figured on the entire tank, not on the 80%, so as they said, you still have 50 gallons IF your gauge is one of the accurate ones. In a very cold climate, with only 50 gallons in the tank, you can burn more fuel off than will boil and vaporize. Better to keep more than that in the tank if possible.

I'm filling bottles out of my 500 gallon tank and am down to 4%. I'll have some put in right before the next rain or snow. I want to let my road dry until then. The last I looked at a propane commodity chart the price was edging down just a tad. The futures were nearly what they were last July.
..........
..............Question , It was my understanding , that , the gauge will only measure "liquid Volume" . So , if that be true , then you can only Measure the 80% that constitutes the Maximum Liquid volume that the tank can physically hold . Which , logically means that the 80% is really a 100% in terms of Actual Volume within any tank . So , where does the Truth lie?( Oh! A Pun), they're so much fun ! Anyway , maybe somebody can untangle this issue for me . fordy...
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  #9  
Old 02/03/05, 06:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by uncle Will in In.
Fordy, Check your gauge before they put in the 100 gallon, and again afterward. The 100 gallon is 20 percent, and if you have 18 now I would think your second reading should be 38 percent.
..........
................Glad you reminded me Uncle . I'll do just that , thanks, fordy..
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Old 02/03/05, 06:38 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fordy
..........
..............Question , It was my understanding , that , the gauge will only measure "liquid Volume" . So , if that be true , then you can only Measure the 80% that constitutes the Maximum Liquid volume that the tank can physically hold . Which , logically means that the 80% is really a 100% in terms of Actual Volume within any tank . So , where does the Truth lie?( Oh! A Pun), they're so much fun ! Anyway , maybe somebody can untangle this issue for me . fordy...
The gauge is calibrated using the full volume of the tank as 100% so, in your case, 500 gallons is 100% full. They fill our tanks in the winter here to 86% and in the summer to 80% on the gauge. This means the liquid volume is 430 gallons in the winter and 400 in the summer. Using your logic, if they fill your tank to the maximum allowed of 400 gallons the meter should read 100% in the summer and, in our case here, would read 106% in the winter. This is not how it works, you will never (or should never) see a reading over 80% unless they overfill in colder climates They do this because less air is needed as an expansion buffer in the tank.
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  #11  
Old 02/03/05, 07:21 PM
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Location: Indiana
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Dumb question but does the gauge measure level or volume? For some reason I thought it measured level. As you can see the tank is curved so if it's 10% of the level there's actually very little gas in the tank. So it is volume or level?

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  #12  
Old 02/03/05, 11:21 PM
 
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Location: Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boren
Dumb question but does the gauge measure level or volume? For some reason I thought it measured level. As you can see the tank is curved so if it's 10% of the level there's actually very little gas in the tank. So it is volume or level?
It is calibrated for volume! I was wondering the same thing and then the Amerigas guys showed me a cutaway of the internal construction of the gauge (I know, my life is boring) and I saw how it worked.

jim
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  #13  
Old 02/03/05, 11:48 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Arizona
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A 500 gallon tank will hold 500 gallons of water. It is filled to 80% of it's water capacity or 400 gallons of propane. This allows space for expansion (in warm weather) and vaporization. Propane is delivered as a liquid but burns as a vapor in normal household appliances. The boiling point for propane is -44 degrees. So at any temperature above -44 the propane is vaporizing (boiling).

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  #14  
Old 02/04/05, 02:18 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: SE TN/SW NC
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Here they fill to 80% in summer, 90% in winter or if you have a buried tank.

My 500 gallon tank is buried so I get it filled to 90% whenever the price of LP drops. I call around for the best prices and keep checking back for the summer fill special schedules.

Most of them here also give a 10 cent per gallon discount for customers that own their own tanks as well. It didn't take long looking at the locals $72/yr tank rent for me to make the decision to buy my own tank. On top of that, with a company owned tank here, they have a minimum amount of gas you must consume per year or you pay a penalty. On top of that, they prefer to fill in winter when the prices are at the highest.

A single fill will last me over 2 years here, so I refill every other year.

Bob

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  #15  
Old 02/04/05, 10:56 AM
In Remembrance
 
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Location: South Central Kansas
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%

Tank sizes are based on water capacity therefore liquid propane.

The gauge indicates percentage of the total water capacity.

The gauge itself projects straight down into the tank and at midway into the tank, i.e. the 50% level, there is a swing arm with a float attached. When the float is at 90º to the end of the projection the indicator dial will read 50%.

The arm the float is on has a gear on it which engages a gear on a shaft going to a magnet below the dial indicator. As the float rises or falls the gear turns the shaft, which turns a magnet and moves the indicator via a magnetic field.
Some gauges are true gauges with the dial actually being attached to the shaft, but most are magnetic to get around the leaking/pressure problem.

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  #16  
Old 02/04/05, 01:27 PM
 
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Location: Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
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......................Well fellow Propane Users\Investors , the propane guy just left . The tank was showing ~17% or 85 gallons . After 100.1 gallons the gauge is showing 35% . Which , means , that my gauge is shorting me about 2% or ~10 gallons . This is the way that all OLD Farts' Propane tank gauge's should be calibrated anyhow don't ya'll thiMk . I probably won't fill my tank UP for next winter until July or Aug. . fordy..

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Last edited by fordy; 02/04/05 at 01:39 PM.
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  #17  
Old 02/04/05, 07:54 PM
 
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Fordy, Have you ever noticed on a frosty damp morning how the frost line on the tank shows where the liquid level is in the tank?

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  #18  
Old 02/04/05, 09:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle Will in In.
Fordy, Have you ever noticed on a frosty damp morning how the frost line on the tank shows where the liquid level is in the tank?
...............Well , Now that you mention IT , NO I hadn't !! But , you see My tank is so rusted it is really Hard to tell it's even out there . I have apurposely left IT in this condition so the Tax Man might think ME :worship: Poor and and Unattended :waa: so as to feel the Maximum amount of Empathy so he might Take Pity and reduce my Property tax assessment :haha: ! But , the Next time I'm the MOOD to freeze my Posterior I'll try to observe your Observation ! fordy ,
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