Propane Levels Guide

by | Jul 3, 2019 | Blog, Podcast, Propane | 0 comments

Boulden Brothers propane has become a resource that many of us in the area trust and have since they began business way back in the ’40s. Mike Boulden is with us online to help us with making safe use of our propane.


Thanks for having me.

We have talked in the past about the big tanks next to the house. I want to talk to you right now about the little one that’s under my grill, the one that I use for making my burgers and steaks and all that. We want to make sure that when it comes time to grill we have enough gas. How can we know that that tank has enough for us to get through a cookout?

There’s several different ways you can do it. One of the easiest, although it maybe not the most efficient, is to use a bathroom scale, which we can use to help you estimate how much gas is in the tank.

How much does a tank weight and how much would it weight if it had gas in it? My grill doesn’t have a gauge on it.

An empty 20 pound grill tank typically weighs between 18 and 20 pounds, full one will weigh between 38 and 40 pounds.

So, we put it on there and we have to subtract obviously 20 from the weight to figure out how much it holds, right?

Yeah, so if you weigh your tank and it’s, say, 28 to 30 pounds you still have about a half of tank of gas left.

I’m told there’s also a hot water method of determining how much is in there.

Correct. You can get a couple cups of hot water from your tap and if you pour it down the side of your tank and run your hand down along behind it you’ll feel a difference in temperature at the level of the propane. The propane obviously is on the bottom so you can feel where that cold line ends and that should be a pretty good estimate of how much gas is in the tank.

So that would tell you you have about a half a tank. How much should we have in there for your typical cookout?

It depends really on how much you’re going to be cooking. A full 20 pounder for the average grill should last between four and four and a half hours. If you are down to a quarter tank and you’ve got a lot of company coming over and that grill’s going to be on for a while you might want to look at getting a spare tank or making sure it’s topped off before you start cooking.

That’s what we do at my house. We always have a second one waiting just in case.

That’s what I do and it’s what I always recommend.

Chances are, by the way, if your tank has been around for a while the gauge that you have on it is probably less and less precise?

Correct. Over time the gauge is, because it’s usually a spring in there, the spring does lose some of it’s strength and they will become less accurate every time.

There’s nothing worse than having a backyard full of company and no flame to cook with because no one wants steak tar tar for a holiday weekend. Make sure you’ve got enough gas in your tank. We’ve given you a couple different ways to check it, by weighing it, using hot water, and of course, the gauge if it’s still reliable for you. The best protection you can have is to go ahead and have a second tank standing by. Of course, Mike, I’m sure you guys can help us out making sure Boulden Brothers, we’ve got enough propane?

Of course, and if you go to our website we do have five refill stations around that you could take your tank to to get it filled up at just about any time.

He’s Mike Boulden and you can learn more about Boulden propane right here at