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How to Tell If Your Propane Tank Is Empty Without a Gauge

If you currently use propane for your home or business, then you know how useful it is for various purposes, both inside and outside. However, you will want to make sure your tank is filled appropriately to avoid unfortunate situations. For example, the last thing you want is your propane grill running out of propane, and you are not cooking for your guests during a dinner party. There are several ways to check if your propane tank is empty or approaching the end.  

The ideal time to refill your propane tank is when about two pounds of fuel is left in the tank. 

We have provided a guide on how to tell if the propane is empty for those tanks that don’t have gauges on them. The common tank sizes without gauges are 20 lbs, 33 lbs, and 100 lbs.  

How to Check The Propane Level:

There are three methods you can utilize to check how much fuel is left in your propane tank.

1) The first method for telling how full a propane tank is involved weighing your propane tank on a scale and subtracting the tare weight from that of your tank’s weight.

The tare weight is defined as the weight of the tank with absolutely no fuel in it and is usually written on the upper right corner of the tank collar or found directly on the tank. It is generally marked with the acronym TW.


2) Another method to check if your tank is due for a refill is by looking at the propane tank gauge.

Most tanks come with a propane tank level indicator. When the arrow of the gauge for propane tanks points to the red area, that indicates the tank needs to be refilled. The smaller tanks we are discussing in this article (20 lbs, 33 lbs, and 100 lbs) do not come with gauges.

However, you can add a gauge to a smaller tank by purchasing it at a Home Depot or similar store.

3) The third method for telling if the home propane tank is empty uses water to estimate how to check the propane level.

You will want to pour warm water down the side of the propane tank. After that, you should run your hand down the outside of the tank. The propane in the tank absorbs the heat from the warm water, so the tank will feel cool where there is propane.

However, as you reach the level where propane runs out, the tank will feel warm from the hot water.

This is a rapid and easy method to estimate how much propane is left in your tank. However, it is essential to note that this method only gives a rough estimate (not precise) of the propane levels in your tank.

How to Tell How Much Propane Is Left in 100 LB Tank:

The majority of propane tanks used for smaller applications such as grilling are about 20lbs. However, smaller applications sometimes require slightly larger tanks. These smaller application tanks normally come without gauges.

These tanks can be as large as 100 lbs. Following the guidelines above, here is how to check propane level in a 100 lb tank:

  • Locate the tare weight of the 100 lb tank by looking for the TW acronym found directly on the tank or the tank collar.
  • Put your 100 lb tank on a scale.
  • Subtract the tare weight from the number on the weight scale to determine how much propane is left. For example, if tare weight is 10 lbs and your tank is weighing 65 lbs. You have 55 pounds of fuel left (65 – 10 = 55).

How to Tell How Much Propane Is Left in 33 lb tanks and 20 lb tanks:

33 lb tanks are commonly referred to as forklift propane tanks.  They are typically used on construction sites, warehouses, or for agricultural purposes.

On the other hand, 20 lb tanks are very commonly used for routine household activities such as barbecue and grilling.

You can check how much propane is left in a 33 lb tank or a 20 lb tank using the same method above. 

You would subtract the tare weights of the tank from the number that shows on the weight scale when you place your tank on it.  

Great Valley Propane Refill Services:

Your satisfaction is our top priority. Great Valley Propane offers excellent refill services for customers who are running out of fuel. Our team of experts is highly knowledgeable and will take the utmost safety precautions in any services we provide for you and your family, including propane tank refills.

Stop by our Malvern office to have your barbecue tanks or smaller cylinder tanks refilled or exchanged. We also sell new barbecue tanks! 

Don’t wait another minute. Give us a call today at 610-251-2203 to learn more!

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