Grill Gas Check Tip | Barbecue Tricks

Categorized | Tricks

Grill Gas Check Tip

It’s happened to a lot of cookers… GAS issues! Not what you may be thinking but it could also happen to you! You’re in the homestretch of a day of prepping for the cookout. Chicken’s on… and the gas on the… grill is… slowly… dying.
Running out of propane is easy to do because it’s so hard to see through metal! (Although I have seen some transparent plastic tanks recently that look great.) Most of us don’t have a gas gauge either.
Here’s one tip for your next cook out:
You can estimate how much gas you have left in your propane tank by heating up some water to a boil (you can do this in the microwave or ins

ide). Make sure you have enough hot water to gently heat the SIDE of the propane tank in question. Tilting the tank on a bit of an angle, pour the hot water up and down the entire side of the tank from bottom to top.  Not too hot on the water (nothing that could get dangerous) just warm enough so you can tell a difference.
The level of liquid propane inside can be determined by feeling the new temperature of the tank with your hand. Where your hot water has succeeded in heating the tank is where it’s empty. Where the tank is noticeably cooler is where you have some remaining liquid propane.
If there is no noticeable difference you’re probably all out.
Be Sociable, Share!

About Bill West

Bill West a BBQ enthusiast and Country Music aficionado in Charleston, SC. You can follow him:

14 Responses to “Grill Gas Check Tip”

  1. Doug says:

    Never heat a propane tank. Cylinder pressure rises to dangerous levels when over heated. Weight of the tank is how you know exactly how much lp gas you have in your cylinder.

  2. Slow Food says:

    Awesome tip and easy to follow and use. I have to try this the next time I am using my Propane Meat Smoker. Thanks for the great tips.

  3. Sue says:

    Great advice. Love to barbecue!!This tip “Make sure you have enough hot water to gently heat the SIDE of the propane tank in question. Tilting the tank on a bit of an angle, pour the hot water up and down the entire side of the tank from bottom to top.” is especially helpful. Thanks
    Baby names

  4. Enric says:

    Nunca calentéis una botella de gas. En el caso del propano puede elevar su presión a 50 atmósferas (a 100 ºC).

  5. Enric says:

    Never heat a bottle of gas. In the case of the propane can elevate his pressure to 50 atmospheres (at 100 ºC).

  6. Steve says:

    Enric, Really??? You say pouring up to 1 gallon of hot water on the side of a steel propane tank would actually heat the contents of that tank to boiling temperatures that quick? If so why does it take so long to get water to boil in the first place? They are NOT telling people to put the tank on a burner to heat the contents to an explosive point, only to raise the temperature of the steel by a few degrees so you can feel where the still cold LP gas is located.

    Dave, yes they sell tanks by weight, but could you tell us what the weight should be for a full tank and for an empty tank? (BTW, an empty tank is about 18 #’s, look for a number next to TW stamped in the tank for the exact empty tank weight. Depending on where you get your propane filled or exchanged a “full” tank would weigh around 33 to 38 pounds)

    People, don’t put your tanks on a burner, thank would just be a bad idea… 🙂

  7. Alternatively, buy a $30 auto switchover valve on Amazon, and run a two-tank setup. Once the valve switches over, you know it’s time to refill the other tank.

  8. Travis says:

    This is a great trick. I use it all the time, perfectly safe. To go around saying things like this will harm the gas bottle is ridiculous. You are just pouring hot water on it for a few seconds. Nothing more.

  9. Brandon W says:

    This is a bad idea. As a firefighter, it just screams “uneducated method of blowing yourself to smithereens.”

    Do yourselves a favor and look up “Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion” and then tell me this is a smart idea.


  1. […] heat up some water to around boiling, tilt the tank in question on a slight angle, and gently pour the water on the side — NOT the top! — of the tank. Carefully feel the side; the part of the tank that remains cool […]

  2. […] No matter what you reason, here is an easy way to check the fuel level in your tank before you fire up the grill using nothing but a little water and the laws of thermodynamics, courtesy of […]

  3. […] If your propane tank doesn’t have a gauge, use this clever hack to make sure you have enough juice to keep the barbecue […]

Leave a Reply

Your Gateway to Barbecue Information

This site is a member of The Smoke Ring BBQ Webring A linked list of BBQ websites

Next BBQ Site - Next 5 BBQ Sites - Prev BBQ Site - Random BBQ Site

Join the BBQ ring or browse a complete list of The Smoke Ring BBQ Webring member's BBQ sites

If you discover problems with any of The Smoke Ring BBQ Webring sites, please notify the Ringmaster