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Will My Propane Freeze or Gel This Winter?

A Short Guide to Preventing Propane Problems

propane freeze point manchester, vt Winter temperatures in our area can easily dip below 16°F—that’s cold enough for heating oil to gel. If you have had this happen, you know it makes it hard to heat your home. And if you have an aboveground propane tank, you might be wondering if your propane supply can freeze or gel in the same way when temperatures plummet.

The good news is that the freezing point for propane is -306.4°F—which is, needless to say, well below our average low here in northern Vermont, which tends to be around 9°F in January. Suffice it to say, you don’t need to worry about your propane freezing. Nevertheless, cold weather can still cause problems for the propane in your aboveground tank.

How Cold Weather Affects Propane?

If your propane tank is buried, you don’t need to worry quite as much. Temperatures need to get extremely cold for a very extended period to affect the propane in an underground tank, which is better insulated.

It’s a different situation with an aboveground propane tank, though. Like most substances, propane contracts in cold temperatures. 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, there may be concern towards pipes freezing.

Ways to Avoid Low Pressure Problems

  1. Fill Your Tank. 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 low temps, check the gauge on your tank, and call us for a propane delivery.

    Or you could simply sign up for our convenient automatic delivery service! We factor the weather conditions and your average usage patterns into our delivery schedules, so we’ll make sure you never run low.

  2. Keep the Snow Off Your Tank. If you notice snow accumulating on your propane tank, brush it off as soon as able—especially before it has the chance to become icy or freze. 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 propane-fueled 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.

There’s a reason folks in southern Vermont and Western New York trust Dorr Oil and Propane for dependable propane deliveries, as well as tank installations, maintenance and more! We’ve got the knowledge, skills and resources and can answer all your questions about the benefits of propane for your home. Contact us today to learn more.