How Much Cooking Time Is Left in My Propane Cylinder?

grill tank level new yorkWe’re approaching the peak of outdoor cooking season here in the Hudson Valley – time to get the most out of using your propane grill! Just make sure you have enough propane to get you through your next summer cookout (not a problem if you have a built-in propane grill connected to your main tank – just schedule a delivery).

There is one small problem, however, if you use a grill with a replaceable propane cylinder: as any veteran propane griller knows, most 20-pound propane cylinders don’t have a gauge – which means you will need some other way to assess how much fuel is left in your tank.

Checking Your Grill Propane Level

Here are three simple ideas for you to do that:

1. Use a scale. The simplest way to estimate how much propane is left in your tank is to simply weigh it. Most propane grill tanks come with two numbers stamped on the handle – the water capacity (“WC”) and “Tare Weight” (TW – the weight of the tank when it’s empty). Most grilling tanks weigh about 17 pounds when empty and hold about 20 pounds of gas.

To estimate how many pounds of propane are left in your tank, simply weigh it on a scale and subtract the TW number. For example, if a tank weighing 27 pounds has a TW of 17 pounds, there’s about 10 pounds of gas left – a little more than half a tank.

2. Use warm water. Here’s a neat and safe trick for estimating the amount of propane in your cylinder courtesy of the FIX IT Home Improvement Channel on YouTube:

The top of the cool spot is the fill level of the tank (it’s cool because liquid propane inside the tank absorbs heat from the water, which makes the metal wall of the tank cool to the touch).

3. Connect a gauge. A variety of external propane tank gauges are available to add to your propane cylinder. Options include:

Pick the gauge you like (your local hardware store has them) and give it a go!

Average Propane Cylinder Cook Times

So now that you know how to measure how full your tank is, how do you use that information to estimate how much cook time you have left in your cylinder?

As a rule of thumb, a 20-pound propane cylinder used on a medium-sized grill on high heat will provide between 18 and 20 hours of cooking time. A larger grill can easily burn through fuel at twice that rate.

Of course, these are just estimates: If you’re feeling ambitious, why not keep track of your grilling time this summer to have a better idea of timing for future propane cylinder refills? It’s all part of the art of cooking on your propane grill!

Don’t get burned by your propane cylinder – follow these tips to know how much gas is left in your tank before your next summer cookout!

If you need propane for your built-in grill, contact us today to schedule a propane delivery in the Hudson Valley!