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Can My Propane Tank Freeze?

How to Prevent Pressure Problems in Your Propane Tank

propane tanks virginia If you’re used to heating your home with oil, you know that occasionally, it can get cold enough here in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina for your heating oil to gel, and result in problems keeping your home warm. If you have an aboveground propane tank, you might be wondering if your propane supply can freeze or gel when our temperatures fall below 16°F for more than a night.

The good news is that the freezing point for propane is -44°F—which is well below our average low here in Martinsville, which is 29°F, let alone the record low of -7°F in 2015. Suffice it to say, you don’t need to worry about your propane freezing. Nevertheless, our coldest weather can still cause problems for the propane in your tank.

How Can Cold Weather Affect My Propane Heating System?

Like most substances, propane contracts in cold temperatures. If your propane tank is buried, you don’t need to worry. Temperatures need to get extremely cold for a very extended period to affect the propane in an underground tank.

It’s a different situation with an aboveground propane tank. When it’s extremely cold outside, the volume of propane inside your aboveground propane tank will shrink, resulting in a loss of pressure. The problem is, if the pressure becomes too low, the propane inside your tank will not be able to reach your gas burner. That means you may not be able to run your propane appliances, including your furnace or boiler. In addition to no heat, you need to worry about pipes freezing.

3 Ways to Avoid Low-Pressure Problems

  1. Fill your tank–and keep it full! The best way to prevent pressure problems in your propane tank is to keep your tank at least 30% full. The more propane is in your tank, the more positive pressure there will be. When the forecast is predicting a stretch of chilly weather, check the gauge on your tank, and call us for a propane delivery if you’re getting low. Additionally, you can also sign up for our convenient automatic delivery service, which is work, worry, and cost-free!
  2. Keep the snow off your tank. We average about 7 inches of snow all winter, and we don’t often get more than an inch or two at once, but if you notice snow accumulating on your propane tank, brush it off. When sunlight can reach your tank, it keeps the propane inside warmer and slows contraction.
  3. Turn down the heat. It may seem counterintuitive, but another way to reduce pressure problems is to turn down your thermostat. Your furnace or boiler won’t run as often, so it won’t try to draw propane from the tank, allowing the pressure inside your propane tank to rebuild.

Need Propane? Call Midway Bottled Gas Today!

There’s a reason New River Valley region residents trust Midway for dependable propane deliveries, appliance and equipment installations, maintenance and more. We’ve got the knowledge, skills and resources and can answer all your questions about the benefits of a propane-heated home.

Contact us today to learn more.