Does Propane Freeze In Cold Temperatures?

Learn about the science of propane

freezing point of propane pennsylvaniaWe can get some pretty harsh winters here in greater Pittsburgh. The average low temperature is 21 degrees, but we all know it can get way colder than that.
When you look out from your warm home to your outdoor aboveground propane tank, you might wonder if the propane in your tank is safe in extreme cold, if it will freeze, or be damaged.

We at ProGas can help you answer that question, and will use science to do it!

Propane facts and figures

Propane’s freezing point is -44 degrees Fahrenheit. The record low in Pittsburgh is -22 degrees Fahrenheit, and while outlying areas may get colder, there’s still little reason to fear that your propane will freeze.

Regardless of freezing temperature, propane can still be affected in very cold weather. Propane is a liquid and contracts in the cold. That contraction will lead to the volume of the propane in your propane tank shrinking. That shrinkage leads to a loss or pressure. If that pressure gets too low, the propane inside your tank can’t reach the gas burner, which means that you might not be able to run your propane appliances such as your furnace, boiler or stove.

While frozen propane is quite unlikely in our area, you still should know what to do in extreme cold when it comes to your propane supply and your propane tank:

  • Keep your propane tank at least 30 percent full. That will keep positive pressure in your tank so it can reach the gas burner. Check your propane tank gauge level regularly and schedule a propane delivery with ProGas if it’s near or below 30 percent.
  • Keep your propane tank clear of snow. Don’t let snow build up on or around your propane tank so that sunlight can reach it and keep your tank warmer. Go out after each snowfall and use a broom (NOT a shovel, which can damage the tank and its parts) to clear snow off the tank. While you’re at it, use the broom to clear snow and ice on and around chimneys, vents and flues so your propane appliances can vent safely. And make sure there’s always a clear path to the tank so your ProGas propane delivery driver can safely access it.
  • Lower your thermostat. Yes, you read that right. A lower temperature on your thermostat, such as mid-day when no one is home, lets your propane furnace or boiler catch a break. That short rest in run-time lets the pressure inside the propane tank build a bit.
  • Want to be sure you always have enough propane to keep your home warm and comfortable? Become a ProGas customer and get reliable, safe propane delivery, even amongst the coldest Pennsylvania winters! Get in touch with us today to learn more.