How much propane goes in a 20# tank?

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Old 09-30-14, 10:19 PM
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How much propane goes in a 20# tank?

I need somebody to clear this up. How much propane is supposed to go inside a 20# BBQ tank? I know they are not supposed to be filled beyond 80%. What I don't know is that 20 pounds before or after the 80%? Can you put a full 20 pounds in or is it just 16?
 
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Old 09-30-14, 11:56 PM
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A "full" 20 lb cylinder should have 4.7 gallons of propane in it

There should be 20 lbs. of propane in 20 lb tank.
The tank weighs roughly 17 lbs so that plus the propane comes to around 37 lbs. total.

The tanks are designed to take 20% more propane but it's kept to 20 lbs. to allow for expansion.


Can you put a full 20 pounds in or is it just 16?
Yes.... but you're more likely to end up with 16 lbs.
 
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Old 10-01-14, 03:59 AM
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PJ is correct. In lieu of a gauge I weight my tank at empty and at full. Then periodically weight it when I think I'm getting low. Those strips are worthless and the gauges don't always work or fit.
 
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Old 10-01-14, 09:49 PM
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Yes.... but you're more likely to end up with 16 lbs.
Yeah, that's why I ask. Don't think I've ever seen them put a full 20# in at the gas station. I think I'm going to get a 120 gallon bulk tank so I can refill my own 20# tanks, I use a lot of them. Propane company says it's only $40/year to lease the tank! Wish I would have asked a few years ago...
 
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Old 10-02-14, 01:19 AM
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You'd need a pumping system to transfer the LPG. You can't just connect the two together and have it transfer.... It needs to be kept as a liquid/under pressure.
 
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Old 10-02-14, 01:49 AM
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I can if I open the bleeder valve on the tank being filled. It's not as quick as using a pump, but it will work. Also helps if you put the tank you are filling in the freezer. I refill the little 1lb tanks all the time the same way, just have to scale it up. Have to make sure I have all the right fittings for liquid out of the big tank.

Probably won't get them up to a full 20.00 pounds, but much easier than going to the gas station.
 
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Old 10-02-14, 02:59 AM
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Why do you want to defeat a safety mechanism?
 
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Old 10-02-14, 05:17 AM
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Why do you want to defeat a safety mechanism?
That is what the bleeder valve is there for.

Here is an example of what you need to fill your own tanks, but it can be done much cheaper than this:
Liquid Propane Transfer Kit System Coupler Tank Grill BBQ Filler Fill Unloading | eBay

It is relatively common for places with propane forklifts to fill their tanks this way.
 
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Old 10-02-14, 05:50 AM
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Make sure you note the difference between the little 1lb cylinders you are refilling and a 20lb barbecue tank. The small 1lb tanks are propane vapor while the larger 20lb tank is liquid. Most 20lb tanks deliver propane vapor, not liquid. But, it sounds like you already know to use the liquid output of your bulk tank and not the vapor outlet. Also since you are transferring a liquid gravity can help by siphoning. Once you get the liquid flow going if you can get the donor tank higher than the receiving tank gravity will transfer the liquid albeit rather slowly through the small tubing you're probably using.
 
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