Understanding Propane Tank Fill Capacity And Home Heating Usage

If you have recently moved to a home with propane heating, then you will likely have a relatively large propane tank placed outside your house. This tank will feed your heating system through a fuel line that is most likely buried in the ground. Propane heating is considered quite safe, and so is the fuel tank on your property. There are a few things that you should learn about your tank though in regards to safety, filling, and usage so you can use your heating system effectively.

Propane Tanks Are Never Filled Completely

If you are used to using heating oil or even gasoline, then you know that these fluid fuels are meant to fill up tanks and containers. It is often much more convenient to fill a tank completely to reduce delivery costs or trips to your local gas station. However, the same is not true of a propane container. In fact, a propane tank cannot be filled completely, or the steel container may burst open and form a leak to release pressure. This is likely to happen around the top gauge or around where the fuel line meets the tank. These leaks are likely to occur because liquid propane is placed in your tank during a delivery. While the majority of the propane remains in liquid form, some of the fuel will vaporize and sit at the very top of the tank. This vapor will expand when it is hot and contract when it is cool. Heat and expansion of the vapor are what cause the immense pressure against the tank.

Your propane tank will be filled to about 80% capacity to allow for the expansion of the propane vapor. If your propane tank is in an open area and the summer forecast shows relatively high temperatures during your delivery time, then your tank may be filled only 70% or 75% to ensure safety. This will be up to the discretion of the propane delivery business.

Home Propane Usage 

If you rely on your propane fuel for heat, then you may be concerned about the fact that your tank will not be completely filled. However, you can make sure that you have more than enough propane as long as you arrange deliveries on a regular basis. You should understand that you are likely to use around 700 to 900 gallons of propane a year to heat your house. You can add about 300 gallons if the fuel is also used to heat your water.

Your home likely has a 100, 250, or 500 gallon tank, and these tanks will hold 80, 200, and 400 gallons of propane at 80% capacity. If your tank is a smaller one, then think about arranging for a delivery about every once a month or every three weeks during the winter. A 250 gallon tank can likely be filled every two or two and a half months, and a 500 gallon tank every four or five months. 

Tank Monitors

You have the option of keeping an eye on the level of propane in your tank and setting up deliveries with your propane supply company when you feel that you need more fuel. If you are away from home a great deal or if you simply do not want to venture out of your house when there are several feet of snow on the ground, then you can install a wireless meter that provides you with accurate information about the level of propane in your tank.

This device works with a sensor that is secured inside the tank. This sensor transmits a wireless signal to the meter and the meter sends the information to your phone, computer, or other wireless device. You can ask your propane business to install the meter for you, or you can ask if the company has their own monitoring systems. If they do, then the delivery company will monitor levels for you and arrange for deliveries when the fuel level drops below around 20% or 15%.

You can get more info here about propane heating for your home.