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Old January 22nd 06, 03:32 PM posted to
J.A. Michel
Posts: n/a
Default Residential Propane Gauges- How well do they work?

Had propane once....never again. You can get a better deal if you contract
for it, but it's still too damned expensive.

"Jim Murphy" (add rr between nc and com) wrote in message
Just bought my first house with propane (LP) heat and hot water. What a
learning experience. I have a 500 gallon buried tank (didn't realize it
was owned by one propane provider and I was locked into that dealer unless
I bought the tank) with a guage that reads in percentage. After I signed
up for the "keep full" option (thereby saving a dime per gallon), the
dealer came out when my tank was reading 59%. I wasn't home when it was

The little gauge on my tank (yes, my tank. I bought it.) moved from 59%
to 85%. Subtracting 59 from 85 and multiplying by 500 led me to believe
they had pumped in ~130 gallons.

The dealer's printed ticket showed 183 gallons.

Logic tells me that Boyle figured out the relationship to volume and
pressure in the 17th Century, and that as the volume of gas (in the void
above the liquid) increases, the pressure is reduced and the gauge is a
simple pressure gauge.

Dealer said maybe the gauge was sticking. Could be, but, as a newbie to
propane, I checked that gauge almost every day and saw it drop
incrementally. It took from December 2nd at 70% (move in day) to January
3rd to drop to 59%, and it was, as I said, quite incremental. It didn't
just suddenly go from 64 to 61. In fact, you couldn't see the movement
except over several days. And, it had not bottomed out and stayed at 59%
for a week. Does that sound like a sticker?

For comparison purposes, this is in central North Carolina. Prices I was
quoted for propane ranged from $2.249/gallon (price I paid at closing),
$2.049 from the fluke who owned the tank, $1.999 from a competitor for "on
call" if they "took over" the tank, $1.899 for autofill if they took over
and $1.699 for autofill if I owned the tank.

So, does anybody know how a propane gauge operates, and am I the only
person who thinks I should be able to use the delta percentages to derive
approximate delivery gallons?

Oh, to add insult to the injury, not only does North Carolina have the
highest motor fuel tax in the southeast, and one of the higher income tax
structures, there is a 3% sales tax on electricity and natural gas, but
fuel oil and propane buyers pay the full 7%. That's another rant, though.

Thanks for your replies