First off, do your best to avoid running out of gas. Serious safety hazards, including fires and explosions, can result. The following can happen if you let your system run out of propane:
- If a valve or gas line is left open when the propane supply runs out, a leak can occur when the system is recharged with propane.
- Air and moisture can get into an empty or depleted tank, which results in rust build-up inside the tank. Rust decreases the concentration of the odor of propane, making it difficult to smell.
- Any pilot lights on your appliances will go out if your propane tank runs out. That can be extremely dangerous if handled improperly.
- You will be required to have a leak check. In many states, if you allow your system to run out, a propane retailer or qualified service technician must perform a leak check before turning on the gas.
- Any disruption in service, including out-of-gas calls, require a leak test performed in order to meet code (National Fuel Gas Code Section 4.2.1/4.2) for an interrupted service. A charge for this procedure will be assessed. Entry to the building must be provided for Lakes Gas Co. personnel to complete the leak test and to put the system back in service. If entry to the building is not possible, gas will not be delivered and arrangements for another delivery will need to be made with Lakes Gas Co. personnel.
If you're running low on propane contact your reliable propane dealer, Lakes Gas Co.
The liquid propane volume in any LP Gas container is directly related to its temperature. In fact, the volume of any liquid in any container is directly related to its temperature. Propane volume rises and falls as temperatures rise and fall. Being temperature dependent, propane becomes denser as the temperature falls and expands as the temperature increases. This is extremely important to remember when considering the relationship between propane temperature and volume.
Propane is stored and delivered as a liquid and is similar to other liquids in temperature and volume.
Propane Volume Basics
To understand what's going on with regard to differing tank gauge readings in extreme temperatures (hot or cold), we need to first explain basic principles that affect the liquid propane volume. The following example assumes a 250 gallon propane tank has 100 gallons of propane at 60°F. The industry standard 60°F is universally recognized as the base reference point for liquid propane volume correction.
- A properly functioning float gauge will read 40%
- 100 gallons of propane weighs 424 pounds (4.24 lbs. per gallon)
If there is a significant temperature drop (over 20°F) the gauge will indicate that there is less propane in the tank. Assuming the gauge dial sits between 35% and 40% following the temperature drop, there are still 424 pounds of propane in the tank. Although the propane volume has decreased, the amount of propane has not decreased, it has simply become more compact (dense). The amount of usable energy has not decreased. If the temperature were to rise by the same respective amount, the gauge would indicate a higher volume of propane but there would still be 424 pounds of propane in the tank. As temperatures fall, liquids become more dense and compact. As temperatures rise, liquids become less dense and expand. Propane is a liquid and is subject to the same rules of Mother Nature.
Propane Truck Volume Correction- Temperature Compensation
If temperature compensation was not taken into account, propane companies would be either getting more propane than they paid for, or less, depending on the temperature. Considering volumes in excess of 10,000 gallons are being delivered into a bulk storage plant, it's required that propane companies have volume correction factors in place. The same is true on the consumer side but state and federal governments regulate measurement that is protective of the consumer.
Propane delivery trucks all have meters that measure the amount of propane pumped into consumer tanks. These meters include a volume correction device known as an automatic temperature compensator. The temperature compensator takes into account the temperature of the liquid propane running through the meter and automatically adjusts to correctly deliver the amount of propane that the consumer ordered. By law, these devices are required to be re-calibrated and are adjusted based on the temperature of the liquid at the time of calibration. When a delivery of propane is made to your home or business, know that the amount you paid for is the amount you are actually getting.
A lot of customers can take a late spring delivery that at times would fall after the previous deadline of March 31st. This new 12-month period is a financial benefit for you when you require that little bit more propane to finish out the heating season or for if you use propane throughout the spring months.
This question is often asked during the period immediately following the delivery, or sometimes several days later. Whether the propane tank is being filled partially or completely, the bleeder valve is always used during the delivery process. It is common for the delivery driver to write the ending percentage on the fuel ticket after the delivery which is often 80%, if the tank has been filled. Even if the face gauge reads 75% following delivery, the tank is at 80% because the bleeder valve indicates the actual propane liquid level (above 80%) in the tank, not the face (dial) gauge.
Another instance that may seem confusing to propane consumers involves tank volume following a propane delivery in the afternoon, which is commonly the hotter part of the day. When propane deliveries are made during the hotter parts of the day, the gas has already expanded before it is delivered into the tank and the gauge may read 80% following a fill. Inspecting the tank gauge the following morning may show a significant percentage drop (up to 5%) even if no gas has been used! This does not necessarily indicate a leak. More likely than not, the volume of liquid propane in the tank has contracted in the cooler overnight hours.
During propane delivery, the fixed liquid level gauge, also called a bleeder valve is opened as required by law. The driver is not inadvertently letting gas out of the tank. This valve accurately indicates the liquid level in the propane tank and lets the delivery driver know when to stop the filling process.
When my contract ended and I still had propane that was not delivered because I didn’t need it, my account was credited for the difference. What will happen now with the new Pre-Buy Program?
On the Pre-Buy program, you will be purchasing gallons of propane which you will "own". These gallons will be stored and delivered to you, at no charge, by Lakes Gas. If at the end of 12 months, you still have "owned" gallons on your account, they will be rolled into your next season's pre-buy contract. For example, if you have 300 gallons of your originally purchased 1000 gallons remaining at the end of the 12 month period, those 300 gallons would be part of your next season pre-buy contract. You would only purchase 700 gallons for the next season pre-buy contract but would "own" a total of 1000 gallons to use again over the next 12 months.
Last year I had to use up the gallons I purchased by March 31st. How long do I have to use the gallons this year?
You have up to twelve (12) months to use the gallons from the date of purchase.
We will help you calculate the number of gallons from the time of your purchase until the end of the heating season based on your previous annual usage.
If you have selected Automatic Delivery, you will continue to receive deliveries as our system indicates that you need them. You will be billed the market price per gallon at the time of the delivery. Customers must contact their Lakes Gas office to make any changes to their delivery type.
On the Budget Program, you make monthly payments initially based on the previous year's usage. The cost per gallon of your propane can fluctuate up or down with the market but your price per gallon is guaranteed to not exceed the capped price in place when the agreement is made.
With the Pre-Buy Program, you pay for your needed gallons up front at the pre-buy price. During the next 12 months, all deliveries are made at the pre-buy price until your contract has been fulfilled or expires.