Why did my tank percentage fall so quickly?

June 16th, 2015 by Tevis Propane

propane tank gauge

This is a common question propane energy users ask shortly after receiving a delivery to their tank.

To answer the question, let’s start with the bleeder valve. The bleeder valve on your tank is always used during delivery. It is designed so that during the filling process, liquid will come out of the open valve when the propane in the tank reaches 80% of its capacity. Why? This lets the delivery driver know that the tank has reached its maximum filling point, allowing for expansion of the liquid propane gas inside your tank. The delivery driver then writes the ending percentage on the fuel ticket, as determined by the bleeder valve. If you have an aboveground tank that was filled, it would always be 80%.

This is where the source of the confusion lies. It is the bleeder valve that determines the actual level of fuel inside the tank, not the tank gauge (sometimes referred to as the Dial). So even if the tank gauge only reads 75% after your delivery, the tank is at 80% because the bleeder valve is used when the fuel is being pumped from the delivery truck that indicates the actual propane liquid level.

The liquid state of propane upon delivery is the source of confusion. Your propane gas, Liquid Propane Gas (LPG), really is delivered as a liquid. Like all liquids, it expands as temperatures rise and contracts when temperatures fall. So in warmer weather, another instance that may seem confusing arises. It involves tank volume following a propane delivery in the afternoon. When propane deliveries are made during the hotter part of the day, the propane has already expanded before it is delivered into the tank. So while your tank gauge may read 80% right after a fill, inspecting the gauge the following morning may show a percentage drop of up to 5%, even if no gas has been used! Don’t panic. This does not necessarily mean a leak. It is more likely that the volume of liquid propane in the tank has contracted with the cooler overnight temperatures. You will still have the same number of gallons of propane, but it will occupy more or less volume (percentage of your tank) depending on changes in temperature.

Rest assured you got what you paid for!

By law, propane delivery trucks all have meters that measure the amount of propane pumped into your storage tank. They include a volume correction device known as an automatic temperature compensator that takes into account the temperature of the liquid propane while it is being pumped through the meter and automatically adjusts to correctly deliver the amount of propane you ordered.

Tevis Propane and Gas Services has a 100% commitment to safety

Our highly-trained employees can respond knowledgably in any situation. Thank you for your business!

Propane is one of the cleanest and most versatile energy sources available to homeowners today! Whether you already use propane or are thinking about adding propane to your home, Tevis Propane is the company area homeowners trust most for reliable and responsive propane service.

We provide propane deliverypropane tank installationfireplacesroom heaters and much more. We service Adams, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard & York counties. We look forward to helping you enjoy the many benefits propane has to offer!


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