Can Propane Freeze? A Quick Propane Science Lesson

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Propane is a great ally to have through the long, cold Connecticut winter, providing beaucoup BTUs for your home or commercial heating system when it is burned as fuel.

But how does propane itself stand up to the cold?

In general, propane fares quite well as temperatures drop, since it has a freezing point of -306.4°F (!). But it does have some problems as temperatures head down the thermometer because of its boiling point: at -43.6°F, liquid propane can no longer vaporize. That’s a problem because propane (which is stored in your tank as a liquid under high pressure) must vaporize in order to burn. As temperatures drop, so does pressure inside the tank – to the point where eventually the pressure may be too low to ignite and power your propane heating equipment.

To avoid pressure problems during cold weather extremes:

  • Order propane when your tank is no less than one-quarter full to keep positive pressure inside the tank (and prevent inconvenient, costly, and potentially dangerous propane run-outs).
  • Clear snow away from your tank quickly after a snowfall.
  • Keep the regulator free of snow and ice.
  • Turn down the thermostat in your home – Decreasing the temperature in your house will lessen the time your system/appliance operates, permitting the pressure in the tank to build.

Some other extreme weather propane tips:

  • Clear snow and ice from propane tank regulators, vents, piping and valves to prevent damage that could cause a gas leak.
  • Remove snow and ice from appliance vents, flues and chimneys to allow the gas to vent properly.
  • Place a flag, pole, or stake next to your tank that is tall enough to be seen over the expected snowfall and drifts; this will help you find the tank in heavy snow.
  • Turn off the main gas supply if an appliance fails to light or if a gas leak is detected.

Winter is coming to Connecticut– do you have enough propane on hand to keep your family safe, warm, and comfortable in the cold months ahead? Fill up today with reliable propane delivery from Hocon!

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