How Long Does a Propane Tank Last: Pro Tips for Maintaining Your Fuel

How long does a propane tank last?
Running out of propane during the cold winter months is problematic and dangerous. It’s essential to know how long a tank will last, how quickly the fuel burns, and how to tell if you’re running low on fuel.

This article will give you some tips on maintaining your propane supply.

A 20-pound tank can supply enough fuel for about 24 hours of continuous use. It is the most popular size, as it will last a day or two without having to be filled up by an outside source.

30-pound tanks are great for longer trips away from home and give you around 36 hours of fuel before needing to be refilled.

40-pound tanks can last roughly 48 hours and are well suited for more significant properties.

Fifty-pound tanks give you around 60 to 70 hours of uninterrupted cooking time. Still, they do not fit in most residential areas because they require more storage space than the other tank sizes due to their size and weight. It is why many people prefer the 20-pound tank.

What are the most common propane tank refill locations?

There are many different places to go for a propane refill if you run out during your trip or have an unexpected event at home that requires more fuel than usual. Still, it’s vital to know where they all are before running out of gas in the first place.

Numerous gas stations and propane service centers will refill a tank for you. Still, it is always advisable to call ahead of time to ensure they have the correct equipment on hand.

Purchasing refills from bulk dealers can be an excellent choice because many shops give discounts depending upon how much fuel you need or your previous purchase history.

Many Online Stores like Amazon sell propane refills. Still, you should always check their hours of operation to make sure they’re open when needed.

What are the most common things to look for when checking your propane tank?

You must know how long a 20-pound propane tank will last, as well as other basic guidelines. It ensures that you’ll always have enough fuel no matter what happens and won’t be stuck during an emergency with a lack of options.

  1. One thing to look for is the safety valve on your tank, which has a red ring around it that turns white when the tank is full.
  2. Another look is the fill line, which should be around two inches below where the propane stops coming out.
  3. A third thing to look for is the weight of your tank. If it seems too light, this means there’s not much fuel inside.

What are some common cooking mistakes that you can avoid with propane tanks?

One of the most frustrating things is when you run out of propane during a meal. Still, it’s essential to know some common mistakes you can avoid with careful planning.

  • One mistake is putting too much food on your grill at once. It will cause the heat to dissipate, making it harder for you to cook and waste fuel.
  • Another mistake is heating your grill when you don’t need to, which can cause the propane in your tank to dissipate.
  • One more mistake is not closing the lid of your grill when cooking, which can have a similar effect as leaving it open while you’re cooking.

What are some everyday things you can do to avoid running out of propane?

There are a few simple ways to avoid running out of propane, though knowing how long a 20-pound tank will last first is essential.

One way to avoid running out of propane is by checking your tank before you need it. Ensure the safety valve and fill line are in good condition and check the weight.

Another way is by using propane tanks with more significant fuel capacities for longer trips away from home or larger cooking tasks.

The final way is by always knowing how long your propane tank will last so you can plan accordingly, which makes it easier to avoid running out in the first place.

What are some common uses for propane?

Consider the most common uses for propane:


Propane is most commonly delivered in 20-pound tanks, used for small chores like cooking single meals. One propane tank will typically last 18-20 hours if you’re grilling on a medium-sized grill. On the other hand, Larger grills can consume 20 pounds of propane in as little as 10 hours.

If you use a medium-sized grill on high heat, you’ll burn through one or two pounds of fuel each meal. That’s equivalent to eight grilling sessions per tank.


Heating oil is expensive, which makes propane an attractive alternative. If you heat your home with a furnace or boiler, it’s wise to invest in two 20-pound tanks of fuel instead of one 40-pound tank for longer trips away from home and larger heating tasks.

Having more than one tank on hand ensures that you’ll always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Hot Water Heaters

While propane isn’t used to heat water directly, it can be used as a backup source of heating for hot water. It is particularly effective during cold winter months when you need an extra boost of warmth after taking showers or washing dishes.

Propane tanks are typically connected to homes with larger capacities through underground lines. If your tank runs out while you’re waiting for the water heater to heat up, propane can be used as a temporary backup.

How to Calculate Your Burn Rate

  1. To begin, determine the weight of your physical tank. The tare weight often marked on the tank should be this figure.
  2. Subtract the tare weight of your tank (with fuel inside) from the total weight.
  3. Then, divide the total weight of your tank by 4.24 to get its overall volume in gallons.
  4. If you have a propane grill that burns 60,000 BTU per hour, it will take 1.53 hours to burn one gallon of propane. (92,000 BTUs for one gallon of propane/60,000 the burn rate of the appliance = 1.53 hours)
  5. To figure out how many hours of fuel you have left, divide the total amount of liquid in your tank by the hourly burn rate of your appliance.
  6. By repeating this technique, you’ll be able to see how many different appliances with various BTU rates burn fuel.

When should you order more propane?

The fuel level is a crucial figure to comprehend when monitoring your gauge. It should never be more than 80% full. Thermal expansion is the reason for this. Filling your tank less than 100% keeps the gas in your tank from expanding and poses a risk to both, allowing it to grow without risking your safety or the integrity of your tank.

It’s time to reorder your propane supply when it hits 20%.

How much does a new propane tank cost?

The price of tanks varies greatly depending on where you are in America. In general, expect to pay between $15-20 for an empty 20-pound propane tank near most major cities.

Safety Tips When Handling Propane Tanks

  • Never store your propane tanks in garages or indoors.
  • Always use caution when handling them, especially when transporting the tank to and from its storage location. These tanks are cumbersome; if dropped, they can cause serious harm. Never allow children to touch a propane cylinder either—they often look like toys!
  • Be sure to have enough ventilation nearby before lighting a grill or barbeque with propane.
  • Propane is highly flammable and should be treated as such at all times. Try not to turn on your gas-powered appliances anywhere near any gasoline products (like oil) since this increases the risk of dangerous explosions occurring. Gasoline mixed with air causes an explosion upon contact with fire, so it’s best to avoid even the slightest chance of this occurring.

Propane Tank Maintenance 

  • When your tank is empty, it’s time to exchange or refill. Never use a propane tank that has been left out in the elements for an extended period. Rust is highly prevalent in propane tanks, which can be compromised or broken easily if not stored properly.
  • If you leave your tank out in the cold or heat for too long, it can damage its integrity. As a result of this degradation, you risk both accidents and the release of harmful gases.
  • Once your tank’s level drops below 30%, you should begin to monitor it closely until purchase time or refill time.
  • The bottom line is that propane tanks are designed to be used for a particular time. When you notice your tank’s level drop below 30%, it’s time to think about either buying a new tank or filling up your old one.

Wrap Up on How long does a propane tank last

Now you know what propane is, how it works, and what to do if your tank runs out. The next time you’re spending time outside, cooking your favorite meals, or using an outdoor fireplace, you can rest easy knowing that the power of propane is there to support you.

Z Hashan

Z Hashan

Hi, my name is Z Hashan, and I’m passionate about smoking the best BBQ. There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking a delicious piece of BBQ and seeing the joy on people’s faces while they have a bite of it.

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