When I woke up this morning, I continued with one of my traditional morning rituals…check the projected weather for the day. While we’re still in October, my weather app told me that Chicagoland area residents have a 60 percent chance of getting snow today.

Yup, its that time of year again. Winter is here (at least temporarily) in the Midwest and food truck owners need to start planning for their winter operations. Where will people come out of their warm offices to spend time in a line for their favorite food truck? How many people will brave the weather to make a lunch or late night food run? Do the tires on the truck have enough tread to keep safe while on the snowy or icy roads?

While we have previously provided articles covering some general tips for food truck owners who operate in the cold weather regions of the country, today we thought it would be good to answer a question we received the other day lately. This question was regarding propane tank usage in the winter.

Question

During winter months my propane cooking equipment doesn’t get hot enough. Is this true that propane does not perform well in cold conditions? Should I get something to keep the tank warmer?

Answer

The boiling point of propane is the temperature in which it won’t vaporize from it’s liquid form. Propane will still vaporize at temps as low as -44 degrees, unless you are running your food truck around in temps that low (and really, who is going to stand in line for your menu at those temps?), the propane in the tank will perform to the levels it does in warmer months.

With that said, when temps reach -20 degrees the pressure within the tank can decrease, but because your propane system runs with an inline pressure regulator this drop in tank pressure will not affect the temperatures in which your equipment needs to maintain to cook your food.

In regards to the second part of the question, we always suggest keeping your truck indoors over night, this will keep an unprotected water system from freezing up and will help keep your whole truck at warmer temps. Purchasing a blanket or warmer for your food truck’s propane tank will do nothing to help keep your equipment temps higher. So the simple answer is no.

Tip: To help maintain a high level of pressure in your propane tank in the winter, make sure not to run your tank too low. This will vary from tank to tank, but by keeping more propane in the tank you are using, the better the pressure it will maintain inside.