Can Propane Freeze?
August 31, 2020 Propane Answers
Liquid propane’s boiling point is -44˚F so there is no chance of it freezing in your tank. Actually, if the temperature outside is -45°F, propane will be in its liquid state and you could pour it out of a bucket. But once the temperature rises to -44°F, the propane starts to boil and give off vapor. So, as temperatures drop, the vapor pressure in the propane tank lowers, and conversely; when temperatures rise, so does the vapor pressure. If the propane tank isn’t sized properly for the appliances’ BTU load, it can draw off vapor from the liquid propane faster than it can vaporize, causing the propane to “refrigerate” down to its liquid state at -44 ˚F and there won’t be enough pressure for the propane to get to your burner. The good news is there’s an easy solution to this potential issue!
Avoiding Cold Weather Propane Pressure Drops
- Make sure your tank is always at least 30% full. This will help keep enough pressure in the tank, thereby preventing potential runouts. This pertains to both above ground and in ground tanks.
- If your tank is above ground, never cover it. This also means clearing snow off your tank. Snow buildup will keep your propane tank colder than the outside temperature, insulating the propane in the tank from the heat during daylight and the sun which add needed warmth to your tank.
- If you can, turn the thermostat in your house down. This will give your heating system small breaks in operation so your tank has a chance to build pressure back up.
- In addition to clearing snow from your above-ground propane tank, also remove snow and any ice from around the other external propane tank components (vents, piping, regulators, etc.).
- Make sure your tank can be located by placing a tall identifier such as a stake, pole or flag by your tank. A distinguishing marker will help both you and your propane delivery person find the tank, especially important when heavy snowfall is expected. This pertains to both above ground and in ground tanks.
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