What’s Inside Your Propane Tank?
Get Familiar with your Tank and its Applications
Have you recently moved into home that uses propane? If so, you’re about to enjoy an upgrade from an all-electric home or one that is heated with oil. That’s because propane can provide comfort and amenities such as:
- High-efficiency home heating and water heating.
- Elevated cooking on a propane range or cooktop with precise, instant temperature control.
- Cozy comfort at the push of a button with a propane fireplace.
- Faster, more efficient laundry drying thanks to a propane clothes dryer.
- Efficient, fast space heating solutions.
- Pool and spa heating that gets your water warm in the fraction of the time it takes electric heaters.
- Security and comfort with a propane whole-house backup generator.
Locally, ProGas can help you to make the most of having propane in your home with our dependable Keep Full automatic propane delivery, wireless propane tank monitoring, expert propane tank installation and affordable tank leasing.
However, if you’ve never had a home with propane, we’ll help you understand more about propane tanks:
Understanding the Propane Gas Inside Your Tank
To go inside your tank, propane gas must first be compressed into a liquid. To do that, the propane is pressurized and then stored below its boiling point of -44°F. It stays at that temperature inside your tank, remaining as a liquid until you are ready to use it. This is true of all tank sizes; from the propane cylinder you use for your grill to the largest commercial tanks.
When the valve on your propane tank is opened, the internal pressure drops and the propane is exposed to outside temperatures. The liquid propane gas (LPG) in your tank is boiled and vaporized, generating the power that helps to run all the propane appliances in your home.
Additionally, propane itself is a colorless, odorless gas. During processing, an odorant is added to give it a distinct smell that is often described as being like rotten eggs. That odor allows propane leaks to be more easily detected.
The Internal Parts That Make Up Your Propane Tank
Most of the components on a propane tank are located on top of the tank. There are not many parts, as the tank has a relatively simple operation. Here are some of the readily identifiable pieces you should know:
Liquid Withdrawal Valve. This valve allows for a propane tank to be emptied before it is moved or exchanged. For example, if you are replacing your tank with a larger sized one, this allows for safe extraction of the gas so that old tank can be transported off your property.
Vapor Return Valve. When you have a propane delivery, this connection is utilized to relieve excess tank pressure.
Float Gauge. As its name implies, the float gauge floats on top of the liquid propane inside the tank to give a measurement of how much propane is in the tank.
Fixed Level Gauge. The fixed level gauge is a tube that your propane delivery driver uses to tell when your tank is full.
Service Valve. The service valve, located at the bottom of your tank, helps to covert propane to vapor before it is sent into home appliances.
Fill Valve. The fill valve is the hose connection that your delivery person uses to fill your propane tank. It has seals and caps to prevent gas from leaking out and debris from entering the tank.
Safety Relief Valve. Occasionally, pressure may develop in your propane tank. If the pressure becomes too high, the safety relief valve opens automatically to release the extra pressure and avoid the tank from bursting.
Why Are All Propane Tanks Colored White?
We understand that a white propane tank is not necessarily the most attractive thing in your yard. However, that light color serves a purpose. Remember what we said about the safety relief valve? One of the common causes of pressure buildup inside a propane tank is heat.
Liquid propane expands in your tank at a rate 17 times greater than water. The tank’s white color reflects heat away from the tank, keeping the liquid propane inside at a safer pressure level. Dark colors absorb heat and can cause the propane to expand to dangerous levels.
Do you have questions about your propane tank or other inquiries about propane safety? Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.