does cold weather affect propane tanks

Does cold weather affect propane tanks?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how cold weather affects propane tanks, whether they freeze and explode in the cold

And how you should store the tank in the winter to keep you and your family safe. 

The amount of propane in your above-ground propane tank will reduce in exceptionally cold weather, which results in a loss of pressure. The issue is that if the pressure drops too low, your gas burner will not be able to receive any propane from your tank. 

Keep reading to learn more!

What’s a Propane Tank and How Does It Work?

propane gas tank

Propane is a flammable gas derived from refined petroleum and natural gas, and it is often used as bottled fuel.

Unlike natural gas, propane is lightweight and portable, making it a perfect energy source for a variety of applications such as propane grills, fire pits, water heaters, space heaters, and indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures.

When you release the valve on your propane tank, the pressure inside the tank drops, and the gas is exposed to the air.

Propane gas is produced as the liquid boils and evaporates. 

All of your meat- and appliance-cooking needs are met by the heat generated by that vapor.

Increasing the grill’s or heater’s temperature reduces the tank’s pressure, producing more vapor and more power for the appliance.

Because of this, it’s crucial that the ambient temperature be adequate for a propane tank to function properly.

Does Cold Weather Affect Propane Tanks?

cold weather propane

The cold temperatures not only cause lakes, streams, and fingers to freeze, but they also have an effect on propane tanks.

Propane is kept in a liquid state by using pressure in the storage container, and for safety, it’s important to store propane tanks in the right way.

Cold weather may wreak havoc on propane left uncovered in its tank throughout winter. Because the temperatures are much too low for the propane to remain unaffected.

Cold weather has two deleterious effects on propane tanks:

1. Depletion of Propane

When the temperature lowers, the amount of propane within the tank might be drastically reduced.

Because of the brutal winter cold, propane shrinks, leaving an unwary individual surprised to see the tank level indicator reading much below what it did before the winter struck.

Once the tank is depleted, the only option is to replenish it, wasting time and money.

tank pressure

2. Loss of Tank Pressure 

The pressure inside a propane tank will also decrease dramatically in cold weather.

Propane is held in the tank as a liquid and then released as a gas via a valve.

However, when temperatures inside the tank fall below -44 degrees Fahrenheit, the propane loses its ability to convert into a gaseous state.

What Temperature Is Too Cold for Propane?

too cold temperature

At temperatures above around -44 F/ C, propane stays liquid.

With just a small quantity of gaseous propane in the tank, your propane appliances will not function correctly because cold propane does not generate a pressured vapor as the equipment anticipates.

Although most locations do not experience such hard winters, storing the propane tank in a somewhat warmer location is suggested since temperatures exceeding -44 F/ C might damage your propane tank.

You still need a propane tank for things like your water heater, garage heater, fireplace, and stove, even if you don’t use your grill much during the colder months.

You don’t want to be caught in the middle of winter without heat just because your propane tank wasn’t kept properly.

Tank pressure may be increased by adjusting the temperature and fluid levels.

You can maintain tank pressure by keeping the tank full at all times or by maintaining it in a constantly heated environment.

How to Get a Propane Tank Ready for Winter

prepare propane

Does cold weather affect propane tank pressure? Propane tank pressure may be affected by cold weather.

However, you can learn how to store propane tanks correctly in the winter, so you don’t have to worry about the safety of your house or family. 

Here are some propane tank maintenance guidelines that may help avoid accidents and costly repairs.

Recharge The Propane Tank

Before the weather gets too cold in the fall, check the meter on your tank at least every week. If you only have half of a propane tank, it will go out before you realize it.

If you detect the propane level decreasing below halfway, call your propane provider to arrange for a refill so you don’t run out of fuel in winter.

Nobody wants to require an emergency gas refill during a snowfall, after all!

Before Storing the Propane Tank, Inspect It

inspect propane tank

Even if you’ve just purchased your propane tank, it’s critical to inspect it before storing it. Examine the valves, the connecting hose, and the tank itself for any leaks or indications of wear.

You may check for leaks by spraying the tank with a solution of mild dish detergent and water after you’ve removed it from service.

Spraying the mixture around the hose and valves is also a good idea. You leak if you notice any bubbles on the connections or the tank. 

Do not attempt to repair the leak yourself. Instead, contact your propane supplier and inquire about proper tank disposal.

Schedule an Annual Maintenance Appointment

Schedule a checkup before winter to verify that all of your tank’s components are in good functioning order. 

If you only use the tank in the winter, it may have gone dormant over the hot summer months.

A trained expert can inspect all of your propane tank's components and repair any small issues to avoid accidents and crises.

Don’t Hide the Propane Tank

accessible propane tank

If there is a significant snowfall, know precisely where your gas tank is.

It is preferable to place a flag, stick, or a pole near the tank, in case you need to find it in the snow and have it refilled, the technician and you will be able to do so easily.

Make the Tank Accessible

Along with making your tank visible in the snow, ensure the approach to the tank is readily accessible.

Remove garbage cans and trim plants or foliage off the walkway from your curb to the tank.

Keep the Propane Tank Outside

Propane tanks emit harmful carbon monoxide, which may degrade your home’s interior air quality.

Even if it’s really cold outside and you’re concerned about the gasoline freezing, never bring the tank inside your home.

Get a Gas Detector

get a gas detector

A gas detector has an alarm that alerts everyone in the home if there is a gas leak.

If your gas detector goes off, you must immediately escape the area and notify your propane expert.

Clear Out Your Vents

Proper ventilation is required for a propane tank so that carbon monoxide does not collect in your house.

Debris from adjacent trees or animals might block your vents after not using the tank all summer.

Clear up your ventilation system to allow for an unimpeded passage of air.

Hire a professional to examine and clean the whole system if you discover any blockages in your vents.

Can Propane Tanks Freeze and Explode?

can propane freeze explode

Fortunately, propane tanks do not freeze and burst, so you may keep the tank outside securely throughout winter. 

However, adequate winter storage practices are still required since the tank may lose pressure and cannot power the appliances in your home.

You can keep your heating appliances running in the winter and stay toasty and warm with appropriate propane tank care and maintenance.

Tips for Avoiding Pressure Issues During Cold Weather Extremes

tips avoid pressure issues
  • Order propane when it is at least one-quarter full to maintain positive pressure within the tank.
  • Clear snow away from your tank as soon as possible.
  • Keep snow and ice off the regulator.
  • Reduce the temperature in your home, allowing the pressure in the tank to develop.
  • Clear snow and ice away from propane tank regulators, pipes, vents, and valves to avoid damage and a gas leak.
  • Remove any obstructions, such as snow or ice, from vents, chimneys, and flues in order to allow for proper gas escape.
  • If you want to find the tank in deep snow, put a pole, flag, or post next to it that is high enough to be seen over the predicted snowfall and drifts.
  • Turn off the main gas supply if an appliance fails to ignite or a gas leak is discovered.

FAQs About Does Cold Weather Affect Propane Tanks?

propane questions

Do you have any other questions about if cold weather affects propane tanks?

The following are a few examples of additional questions that are often asked:

Is Propane Affected by Wind Chills?

When we have really cold weather, the percentage in the tanks might plummet substantially. This isn’t just a result of greater consumption.

It also reflects that a gallon of propane at 60°F diminishes as the temperature drops.

Does Propane Shrink As It Gets Cold?

Propane freezes in -306°F temperatures, which are uncommon in the Mid-Atlantic. However, cooler temperatures cause the amount of liquid propane, lowering the internal pressure of a tank.

Final Verdict

Does cold weather affect propane tanks?

The amount of propane in your above-ground propane tank will reduce in exceptionally cold weather, which results in a loss of pressure.

The issue is that if the pressure drops too low, your gas burner will not be able to receive any propane from your tank. 

However, it’s still important to store them properly during the winter.

Keep tanks at temperatures above -44°F/°C to avoid pressure loss and propane depletion, and attempt to replace them before winter arrives if possible.

Thanks for reading!