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Old 07-12-2016, 03:57 PM   #1
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How much propane is in that tank?

What's the easiest way to determine how much propane remains in a tank?

I just found out about this method, but wonder if there's an even simpler way.

This Is the Fastest and Easiest Way to Tell if You Have Propane in Your Tank

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:05 PM   #2
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I usually just lift the tank and can tell by the weight how much propane is left.


When camping, we usually use close to one 20 lb tank a week, so depending on how long we have been out, I can usually tell when we are about to run a tank dry, even without looking at it.
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:06 PM   #3
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That is pretty much the most simple way I know of. I have even just used hot tap water.

I have used an inline gauge years ago, but it's performance was sketchy at best, as the pressure in the tank changes with ambient temperature.

A friend uses these magnetic strips that work by the same principal as the water trick, and says they work quite well.
Magnetic Propane Tank Gauge - Lee Valley Tools
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ice-breaker View Post
I usually just lift the tank and can tell by the weight how much propane is left.
By far the easiest and quickest method if your tank is loose, but not so good when mounted to the trailer. Even the water trick is not so quick with a fifth wheel.
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Old 07-12-2016, 05:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catchlight View Post
What's the easiest way to determine how much propane remains in a tank?

I just found out about this method, but wonder if there's an even simpler way.

This Is the Fastest and Easiest Way to Tell if You Have Propane in Your Tank

Thanks for any suggestions.
Get a tank with a gauge. $25 US at Costco. Best investment we have made. Edge of green means tank 1/2 empty. This is how we get by with one tank.
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:26 PM   #6
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I use a fish scale, of course I need to disconnect the tank and free it from the hold down, not that I do it very often. For the most part, when 1 goes empty I remove it and get it refilled. Before a long trip I take the in use one out and have it topped off. So really I don't need to know how much is in it.
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
That is pretty much the most simple way I know of. I have even just used hot tap water.

I have used an inline gauge years ago, but it's performance was sketchy at best, as the pressure in the tank changes with ambient temperature.

A friend uses these magnetic strips that work by the same principal as the water trick, and says they work quite well.
Magnetic Propane Tank Gauge - Lee Valley Tools
Hi: Jim Bennett... I wonder if they would work if you used Lisa's hair dryer? Alf
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:02 PM   #8
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Hi: Jim Bennett... I wonder if they would work if you used Lisa's hair dryer? Alf
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It sure as hell ain't going to use my own hair dryer.
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
I use a fish scale, of course I need to disconnect the tank and free it from the hold down, not that I do it very often. For the most part, when 1 goes empty I remove it and get it refilled. Before a long trip I take the in use one out and have it topped off. So really I don't need to know how much is in it.
We do the same
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:36 PM   #10
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We do the same
I usually just shake it & guess, but if I really want to be precise, I use a luggage scale.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:39 PM   #11
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*grabs the brain bleach to wash away the image of Jon shaking it *
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:57 PM   #12
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The common 20-pound size of propane tank (as used by Escape, most travel trailers, and most home outdoor grills) is now readily available with a built-in gauge, which is run by the float inside that is needed for the Overfill Prevention Device. This doesn't work if you use tank exchange services to get more propane (because you are giving away your tank and getting some random tank), but if you have your own tanks refilled they completely solve the problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I have used an inline gauge years ago, but it's performance was sketchy at best, as the pressure in the tank changes with ambient temperature.
Yes, and the pressure (which is all those inline gauges measure) depends only on temperature - they don't respond to level at all. The idea behind them is that when the level gets very low while it is flowing (running a grill or whatever) the propane can't absorb heat fast enough so it chills and the pressure drops. You might as well watch for frost on the tank!
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:21 PM   #13
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may have already been linked here, but we own one of these and it works very well.



https://www.amazon.com/Grill-Gauge-G.../dp/B0012GTU3O
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
may have already been linked here, but we own one of these and it works very well.



https://www.amazon.com/Grill-Gauge-G.../dp/B0012GTU3O
That makes sense. A luggage scale is functionally the same thing, if you happen to have one, or it's more readily available to buy one. Weigh an empty tank to see how much to subtract to get propane weight, or weigh a full tank so you know that's full and 20 pounds less is empty.
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
.... Weigh an empty tank to see how much to subtract to get propane weight, or weigh a full tank so you know that's full and 20 pounds less is empty.
Look on the ring/handle on the tank top. You should see a variety of stamped numbers, etc. One will be the Tare (empty) weight. I just looked at my spare tank. the stamp reads:
" T.W. 19.7 LBS " ; translation is of course: tare (empty) weight is 19.7 pounds.

As Brian stated, weigh it when it's full and subtract. You also will know whether you're getting all the propane you paid for when re-filling.
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:39 AM   #16
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How much propane is in that tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
You also will know whether you're getting all the propane you paid for when re-filling.

We get our tanks refilled where the gauge is visible and propane is sold by the actual amount dispensed - not by "tank" or "10 pound" or some other non specific amount. And, we don't do tank exchanges, mainly because our tanks are of a higher quality than the exchange tanks. That way, we always know we got what we paid for. Again, you can see the gauge.



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Old 07-13-2016, 01:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
Look on the ring/handle on the tank top. You should see a variety of stamped numbers, etc. One will be the Tare (empty) weight. I just looked at my spare tank. the stamp reads:
" T.W. 19.7 LBS " ; translation is of course: tare (empty) weight is 19.7 pounds.

As Brian stated, weigh it when it's full and subtract. You also will know whether you're getting all the propane you paid for when re-filling.
Very true, but eyes glaze over when I describe tank markings... since you have the scale anyway, you can just weigh it.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:07 AM   #18
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What am I missing here? You have two same sized tanks with an automatic switchover valve, when the switch moves from tank A to tank B, you have used 50% of your fuel and time to get a refill? Unless you are the type that likes to run on 1/4 tank of below fuel, I start looking when I reach 50%, so why not do the same with your propane? It does not save any money nor cost any more to refill early.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:49 AM   #19
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Jim, I make sure I have two full tanks any time I'm going out for any more than a couple days.
I have 5 tanks and a scale. When I get a low but not empty Escape tank, I finish it out on the bar b que or the campfire in a can. I keep my spares well away from the house in a secure building. On our recent trip to The West, we encountered snowy nights and some high elevation camping where it was cool at night and we ran the furnace more than we might have planned. It always feels good to know you've got adequate propane to make it for two or three days if you're away from a fill opportunity. Be Prepared, motto of the Boy Scouts.
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Old 07-13-2016, 08:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
What am I missing here? You have two same sized tanks with an automatic switchover valve, when the switch moves from tank A to tank B, you have used 50% of your fuel and time to get a refill? Unless you are the type that likes to run on 1/4 tank of below fuel, I start looking when I reach 50%, so why not do the same with your propane? It does not save any money nor cost any more to refill early.
Based on your previous posts on this forum indicating that you have never kept your trailers long enough to have to fill the propane tanks, I assume that "I start looking when I reach 50%" means that is when you start looking to purchase your next trailer.

Quote:
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I must be doing something wrong, I have never yet had to refill any of my propane tanks on any on my trailers over the past 10 years!!!
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