This Might Be The Easiest Way To Check The Amount Of Propane In Your Grill

It's a familiar scenario. It's a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon. Everything is prepped, spiced, marinated, and ready to go on the grill for your backyard barbecue. Your guests are milling about outside, cold drinks in hand, eagerly anticipating the burgers, steaks, chicken, corn on the cob, and more that will soon be on their plates. Then, suddenly, a moment of panic sets in. Is there enough propane in the tank to last the day — or even the hour? And where on earth is that gadget you bought just last summer to check the propane level?

An empty propane tank has ruined many an outdoor gathering. Luckily, you don't have to let that happen to you. There's a simple way to check how much propane is in your tank, one that is a whole lot easier than running down to the filling station or searching your home for that propane gauge.

The simple test that can save your backyard barbecue

There's a simple method to test the level of propane in your tank, and all you need is a little hot water.

According to Bob Vila, simply heat up some water (hot, but not boiling) and then pour it down the side of the tank, which must be cool and turned off. Then, slide your hand down the outside of the tank, testing for temperature. Where it is warm, there's no propane. Where the tank feels cool, that's where there is still propane.

Naturally, there's science behind this method. As Ferrellgas explains, you are testing for the physical reaction between the hot water on the surface of the tank and the propane inside the tank. The result is a difference in temperature. When the hot water heats the tank's exterior, it causes the propane to react, resulting in a cool spot where the propane level is.

The hot-water method won't provide as precise a reading as a propane tank gauge or more complicated methods that require taking the propane tank off the grill and weighing it, notes Ferrellgas, but it's the next best thing — and will help to get those burgers on the grill a whole lot faster.