How Long Will My Propane Last? It’s Easier To Calculate That You Think

Who doesn’t love cooking food on an open flame? I cannot think of a pool activity or summertime chill without barbecue being grilled with propane. While a charcoal grill has its flavour, it’s just so much more convenient having control over grilling with propane.

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There is, however, one downside to it. Propane tanks have the tendency to run out of fuel just when you need it the most. Just when the party is going well, you have to drive to the nearest propane tank store to either refill or exchange your tank.

So you need to ask the question – how long will my propane last? We will answer that question for you in this post.

If you know how long the propane in your tank would last in your normal cooking routines, you can estimate or calculate in advance how much cooking you can still get done and get the party going.

Finding Out How Long Does A Propane Tank Last?

1. Propane Facts

Consider the following facts when trying to determine the lifespan of Propane:

  • Unlike Gasoline, Propane doesn’t have a shelf life and doesn’t need additives to be stored
  • Propane will have the same quality decades from now as it is today
  • Propane isn’t likely to get contaminated since it is stored under natural pressure

When inquiring about how much time it takes for your fuel supply to last while burning your appliances, you can easily find the answer if you know the following:

  • The remaining number of pounds within the propane cylinder.4.24 pounds of propane = 1 gallon
  • The BTU/hr demand of your gas appliance or burnerOne gallon of propane = 92,000 BTU’s
  • The most commonly used tank is the 20 lb cylinder, also called a 5-gallon cylinder. These are the same types that are utilized as barbecue tanks

Here’s a downloadable PDF about Propane Facts for more information- Facts About Propane

propane-tank

2. Finding Out How Much Propane Is Left

So let’s safely assume that you do not have a pressure gauge and you want to determine the amount of propane left in the tank. How can you make the calculations?

How the Calculation Works

1. Check out your inventory of your propane. Determine the empty weight or “tare weight” of the tank. You can find this figure at the imprinted data stamped on your tank

2. Figure out the weight and fuel of the tank. Subtract the tare weight to determine the weight of the propane

3. Divide the total weight of the propane by 4.24 and record the gallons of inventory.Image: The Tare Weight of the Propane Tank

weight-of-the-propane-tank

The Tare Weight of the Propane Tank

3. What Can We Make Out Of This Information?

An appliance or burner with a rating of 60,000 BTU/hr will burn at least 60,000 BTU per hour making the fuel consumption 1 gallon of propane per 1.53 hours.

That would be 92,000 BTU/Hr / 60,000 BTU/Hr = 1.53 hours for a gallon to last. As long as the burner is set on “high,” you can figure out how many hours the supply of your propane would last.

In adjusting the appliances such as furnace which are controlled by a thermostat with the cycle “ON” set for only a few minutes/hour, then some adjustments in your calculations may be needed.

For instance, if the cycle is 15 min/hour during winter, you will have to adjust it by a factor of 4.

That is 92,000 BTU/Hr / 60,000 BTU/Hr = 1.53 hours for one gallon to last x 4 = 6.12 hours of used furnace for every gallon in the inventory)

The standard propane tank for barbecue grilling can contain 20 lbs or propane. You need at least 1 to 2 pounds of fuel for a single meal.

IF GAUGE READS

NUMBER OF GALLONS REMAINING

150-Gal Tank

200-Gal Tank

250-Gal Tank

500-Gal Tank

80%

120

160

200

400

70%

105

140

175

350

60%

90

120

150

300

50%

75

100

125

250

40%

60

80

100

200

30%

45

60

75

150

IF GAUGE READS LESS THAN 20%, ORDER GAS NOW!

20%

30

40

50

100

10%

15

20

25

50

You might also be interested to try out this Propane Cylinder Calculator – Propane Calculator

4. Should You Exchange or Refill Your Tank?

This is a very common question, and we would like to address it for you in this blog. If you are looking for convenience, then tank exchange would be a better option. Some retailers have automated machines that will exchange your tank with a new one without the assistance of an employee.

If you are on a tight budget, though, then you can always refill your tank. You will get the same amount of propane as you would in a tank exchange at a lesser price per pound. And sometimes, you can even get more propane in a refill than a tank exchange.

Some tank exchanges will not provide you with a tank that’s full (20lbs of propane) and only give you a tank with only 15-18lbs instead. We often don’t find the need to check if the tank is full and assume that it is.

Check out this video If you want to get a more in-depth look at how to refill your propane tank:

Conclusion

Now you know how to determine the amount of propane you have in your tank. The information from the calculations we’ve showed you would help you calculate how many meals you can prepare before your grill runs out of propane.

Here’s what you should do once again:

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  • Check out your inventory of your propane. Determine the empty weight or “tare weight” of the tank. You can find this figure at the imprinted data stamped on your tank
  • Figure out the weight and fuel of the tank. Subtract the tare weight to determine the weight of the propane
  • Divide the total weight of the propane by 4.24 and record the gallons of inventory

We hope we have answered your question on how long your propane last. If you have comments on further inquiries about the topic, feel free to address them in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

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