Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
i apologize to the op as i have a stupid side question for you guys on propane filling. now it is only 5 gallons and is for my propane grill, but i only went to one place all of these years to fill it. in recent years i began to suspect them of not filling the tank all of the way and charging full price to fill it. other places to fill it are not close by so i stayed at this one place for saving on the gasoline. when they filled it the last time it went to just a bit over 4 gallons on a 5 gallon tank and i burned off any and all that was left inside for this instance. now it needs refilled again and i'm unsure if i should go elsewhere due to being ripped off or not.:confused:

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 6,523Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help

    Places here in Los Angeles, rip you off. It's a $5 service charge, and about $3 gallon, and 5 gal tanks only hold 4 ga, reserving some expansion space in the tank. I never ger out for less than $22. Blue Rhino exchange is only $29, so when my tank gets nasty......
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  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,254Super Moderators admin
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help

    Yea--I have gotten to the point where I bring at least two 20 lb (4 gallon effective capacity) tanks to get refilled because some places have a 5 gallon minimum charge.

    I had one guy that stuffed in 5 gallons (doing me a favor?)--and a few days later it was venting propane spray on a warm day (a lot--like in no open fires within 20 feet a lot).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mikeomikeo Posts: 383Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help
    Yea--I have gotten to the point where I bring at least two 20 lb (4 gallon effective capacity) tanks to get refilled because some places have a 5 gallon minimum charge.
    Does a 20# tank hold 20 pounds of propane or doe it weigh 20# total when full? I have always wondered this
  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,254Super Moderators admin
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help

    I believe it is 20 lbs of propane. Around 4.24 lbs per gallon of propane.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • dwhdwh Posts: 1,341Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Places here in Los Angeles, rip you off. It's a $5 service charge, and about $3 gallon, and 5 gal tanks only hold 4 ga, reserving some expansion space in the tank. I never ger out for less than $22. Blue Rhino exchange is only $29, so when my tank gets nasty......

    I go to TGP (Trans-Gas Propane) where San Fernando Road meets the 134 fwy (San Fernando & Doran). Technically the address is Los Angeles, but it's right on the border of Glendale.

    http://www.transgaspropane.com/

    I was there a couple weeks ago and the yard price was $1.88/gal. They do have a 5 gal minimum. No service charge. The highest I've seen the yard price was $2.27 last year.


    To neil: I have noticed that when getting my tank filled (5 gal horizontal frame-mounted on a camper van) that if they don't open the bleeder valve enough, the pressure in the tank will stop the filling at less than 5 gallons (usually 4.5 or 4.6), so I always make sure that they open that valve fully. When I do that, the tank takes 4.9-5.0 gal.
  • dagr51dagr51 Posts: 72Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help
    BB. wrote: »
    I had one guy that stuffed in 5 gallons (doing me a favor?)--and a few days later it was venting propane spray on a warm day (a lot--like in no open fires within 20 feet a lot).

    -Bill

    A propane tank can only be filled to 80% of capacity for this very reason. If it is indeed a 5 gallon tank, it can only be filled with 4 gallons of liquid propane. That is the reason for the recent requirement of OPD valves on tanks (OPD = Overfill Protection Device).
  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,254Super Moderators admin
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help

    It is also why they say on the propane tanks to not store them in a garage/home/other place where ignition sources and/or poor ventilation may exist.

    Guess where mine where when this happened (:blush:)--fortunately, I was home and heard the noise (venting) before my water heater set off the fumes.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help

    wow. ok and thanks for the responses as i just wasn't sure if i was getting ripped-off or not by the quantity being placed into the tank. as far as price goes, it is around $18 (last year) for just a little over 4 gallons so i'm at over $4/gallon. i hope it didn't go up for this year.
    so that the op's thread is not hijacked i ask that you now concern yourself with the op's concerns and any further to me can be added in your post as an after thought or send me a pm on it. my thanks to the op tolerating my side question.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,254Super Moderators admin
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    I think this is a good thread in its own right...

    Trimmed out the Propane Tank questions into own thread.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    fair enough bb, but i think my question was pretty much answered. if the guys want to continue the discussion they now can do so.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    FWIW:

    Some of us have been off grid and away from civilization for decades. We deal with propane quite a bit. Y'all could ask via PM if you want.

    Tony &/or I could probably have cut right to the heart of the matter. Yep; it's 20 lbs. of propane. If you look you can even see the Tare weight stamped on the tank. Yep; over-filling leads to dangerous venting situations.

    We even have a lot of propane power cars & trucks here in BC! :D
    (Compressed Natural Gas - CNG - has fallen out of favour.)
  • audredgeraudredger Posts: 272Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    A 20# tank has a volume of around 6.3 gallons however the safe fill is 5 gallons (80% of 6.3). The new OPD valves will generally shut off at around 4.9 gallons. Depending on the temperature of the propane being pumped, the volume you can safely stuff in varies.

    Did you know that "propane" is not all propane? Different brands and different areas of the country have different percentages of propane, methane and butane. Of these three gases propane has the highest BTU content.
  • Missouri BoundMissouri Bound Posts: 5Registered Users
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    The only accurate way to fill a propane tank is by weight. On your tank you will see something called TARE weight...this is the weight of the tank emptly. (usually around 11-12 pounds)When a tank is filled by weight, the tare weight is added to the weight of hoses and fittings (approx. 3.5#). In addition to these weights 20 lbs of propane is weighed, giving you a full tank weighing approx 35#. A reputable fill station will look at the tank to see the tare weight, not just assume it's weight. This does vary a bit due to tank construction. If you think you may be getting cheated, bring a scale with you. The newer tanks with the OPD valves won't allow overfill. And anyone who does you a "favor" is breaking the law and jeapordising your life and property.
  • BilljustBillBilljustBill Posts: 209Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help
    niel wrote: »
    wow. ok and thanks for the responses as i just wasn't sure if i was getting ripped-off or not by the quantity being placed into the tank. as far as price goes, it is around $18 (last year) for just a little over 4 gallons so i'm at over $4/gallon. i hope it didn't go up for this year.
    so that the op's thread is not hijacked i ask that you now concern yourself with the op's concerns and any further to me can be added in your post as an after thought or send me a pm on it. my thanks to the op tolerating my side question.

    With the new overfill valves now required, you aren't limited to just going to a propane company and paying their high prices for such small amounts. Although, I'm told that the first fillup of a 20lb tank should be with a professional company for safety...

    I have split utilities with propane for the central furnace and our hot water...and some solar power coming soon. I have a 500 gallon tank that is considered full at 80% or 400 gallons. At the end of a long winter, the tank was at its lowest percentage, so I inquired at the propane company about the cost of putting in a "Wet Tap". For about $100.00, they installed a valve and a short hose hooked into the large tank. With a fitting for the 20lb tanks, now it allows me to refill my propane grill 20lb tank at the lower rate I get for the house.

    If you know someone that has a larger tank, and you use several refills each year, splitting the cost of a wet tap and paying a lower rate for the gallons you get, you now have cheaper costs and another avenue to get emergency propane when retail propane companies are closed or when weather issues cause other needs for that 20lb bottle to be refilled.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    Brand new tanks that have never been filled need to be "purged" before use. Sometimes they charge you a bit extra for that.

    BTW, the big "home" installs are usually LPG, which is similar but not quite the same as propane.

    As Shakespeare said: "That which we call 'natural gas', by any other name, would still smell of some horrible hydrogen-sulphide compount."

    Something like that, anyway. :p
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 6,523Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help

    What I hate about the over-fill protection device, is how often the float sticks the valve shut when moving the tank/BBQ. I'm stuck with 2 of them, and it's always a pain the first 2-3 BBQ's , to have to slam the tank on the ground to unstick the float. I just need a shotgun shell taped on the base, and that would save me a lot of effort. And I can fix friends tanks too -
    " Gee, I just filled it and its empty already"
    SLAM works now.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • coachlawcoachlaw Posts: 10Registered Users
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    Daaang, I was upset when the local Kroger started charging $16.99 for an exchange. Glad I live in Texas I guess.
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,070Solar Expert
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    Regardless of the units of measure how it's sold, (LBS/GAL/Litres etc) propane tanks are only filled to 80% capacity temperature corrected to ~70F if my memory serves. This allows the contents to expand if the tank gets warm, which it will do as soon as it is exposed to the sun.

    The worst deal on the planet is the exchange tank programs. First, you have no control over how full they refill the tanks, and they charge a huge premium for the ease of exchange. If you only use a tank or two a year it might not matter, but other than that, get your tanks filled at the bulk station.

    For example, my bulk station cash price was ~$2.99 gallon, so a 20# tank, filled to 80% ~ 4 gallons would be ~$12. Exchange tanks were over $20. The real advantage of the exchange system is if you have to service and change the valves which can cost more than the tank is worth. The exchange service takes care of this. (my bet is that they don't bother since they are filling their own tanks!

    Tony
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 2,486Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Propane Tanks 20lb does not equal 5 gallons (trimmed from another thread)

    A large tank 250lbs+ with a liquid line valve and you can fill your own tanks. No barbeque problems. Not going to help guy's on islands. Mr Mike a question! Can you e-mail or post the model reefer you obtained puleeze!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • BilljustBillBilljustBill Posts: 209Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help
    mike90045 wrote: »
    What I hate about the over-fill protection device, is how often the float sticks the valve shut when moving the tank/BBQ. I'm stuck with 2 of them, and it's always a pain the first 2-3 BBQ's , to have to slam the tank on the ground to unstick the float. I just need a shotgun shell taped on the base, and that would save me a lot of effort. And I can fix friends tanks too - SLAM works now.

    Whooo Wee!! You know how live an interesting life...;) But at least you are just thinking about it and not doing it....

    At the local monthly flea market last weekend, there was a fellow setup to sell a heavy-duty, but nice steel fire pit... I stopped to listen as he was talking to several couples about what it was made of....the end cap from a 500 gallon Propane tank.... Sure enough, when I looked closer, there was the cutting torch markings full circle around the edge.

    Since he was actually standing there, making a pitch about how good its material and workmanship was, I had to ask him how he did it....

    "Well, all you have to do is open the tank valve and let all the gas out and then take it out, along with the 'Pop-Off' valve."
    He pointed passed his trailer to his well worn pickup. "Then, you just run a hose from the exhaust pipe and let the tank fill up with exhaust for a good while. IF there ain't no oxygen in the tank, there's nothing to burn and the car exhaust makes sure of that."

    I'd heard of this method as small town filling station owners were fixing leaking old auto gasoline tanks back in 1930's and 40's.... But, I sure didn't know they used this "Russian Roulette" method in the 21st century...

    Bill
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Posts: 3,400Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: RV Install, wiring advice/help

    Well I'm just surprised anybody does exchanges, when there is at least a $5 difference here and it's usually no slower process, I only do an exchange when my tanks are about to expire, and then I'll often ask if I can swap at our camp store for a more current tank already exchanged.

    Switching this year from a unvented heater to a direct vent heater, wonder if I'll burn more or less propane as I always left a window cracked pretty good for the unvented, less I starve my last 2 brain cells of Oxygen.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
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