Don’t Get Caught with an Empty Tank: How Long Does a Propane Tank Last?

If you’re a fan of outdoor grilling or rely on propane to power your home, you might wonder, How long does a propane tank last?

The answer depends on a few factors, including the size of the tank, how frequently you use it, and the temperature outside. Whether you’re a seasoned propane user or a newbie, understanding how long your tank will last can help you avoid unexpected disruptions in your fuel supply.

There are different sizes available for propane tanks that cater to various needs. The size of the tank determines how long it will last and how much propane it can store. Look at different propane tank sizes and how long they can last.

20-Pound Tanks

The 20-pound tank is the most popular size used for grills, heaters, and other portable propane-powered appliances. It can last for about 24 hours of continuous use, making it a great choice for a day or two of outdoor cooking or heating without needing to be refilled.

30-Pound Tanks

A 30-pound propane tank is a slightly larger option and can provide around 36 hours of fuel before needing a refill. It’s a great option for longer trips away from home or when you need to use propane for extended periods.

40-Pound Tanks

For more significant properties, a 40-pound tank can last roughly 48 hours, making it a great option for those needing propane for longer durations. It can power multiple appliances, including grills, heaters, and generators.

50-Pound Tanks

A 50-pound propane tank is the largest size available for residential use. It can provide around 60 to 70 hours of uninterrupted cooking time. However, due to its size and weight, it only fits in some residential areas and requires more storage space than other tank sizes. Hence, many prefer the 20-pound tank as it’s more convenient and easier to store.

Factors That Affect Propane Tank Life

While the size of the propane tank plays a significant role in how long it will last, several other factors can affect its lifespan. Here are some factors to consider:

Frequency of Use

The more often you use your propane tank, the faster it will deplete, reducing its lifespan.


Extreme hot and cold temperatures can impact the pressure inside the tank, causing it to expand or contract and potentially leading to damage.

Tank Maintenance

Regular maintenance can help prolong the tank’s lifespan—for example, cleaning and inspecting the tank for leaks, rust, or other damage.

Tank Age

Over time, propane tanks can wear down and become less efficient. It’s essential to keep track of the age of your tank and replace it if it’s old or worn out.

Tips for Maximizing Propane Tank Life

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your propane tank:

  • Store your propane tank in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, heat, or flame.
  • Keep the tank valve closed when not in use to prevent gas leaks and conserve propane.
  • Refrain from filling your propane tank, as it can cause pressure build-up and potentially lead to damage.
  • Use the right size tank to avoid unnecessary waste or frequent refills.
  • Perform regular maintenance on your tank, including inspections, cleaning, and repairs, to ensure it stays in good condition and lasts as long as possible.

How long a propane tank lasts depends on various factors, including size, frequency of use, and maintenance. By choosing the right size tank for your needs and following the tips mentioned above, you can maximize the lifespan of your propane tank and get the most out of it.

What Are The Most Common Propane Tank Refill Locations?

Suppose you use propane to power your grill, heating system, or other appliances. In that case, you will eventually need to refill your propane tank. Here are some of the most common places to refill your propane tank:

Gas Stations:

  • Many gas stations have propane refilling stations on their premises.
  • Refilling your propane tank at a gas station is convenient if you are on a road trip or if there are no propane dealers nearby.
  • However, gas stations may need the necessary equipment to ensure that your propane tank is filled properly.

Hardware Stores:

  • Many hardware stores sell propane and provide refilling services.
  • Some hardware stores may also offer propane tank exchanges.
  • Hardware stores are often more knowledgeable about propane than gas stations, making them a safer and more reliable option.

Propane Dealers:

  • Propane dealers are specialized companies that focus on providing propane and related services.
  • Propane dealers have the equipment and expertise to ensure that your propane tank is filled properly.
  • They may also offer propane tank exchanges, which can be more convenient than refilling your tank.

Big Box Stores:

  • Many big box stores like Walmart and Costco sell propane and provide refilling services.
  • These stores may offer lower prices than hardware stores and propane dealers, but they may have a different level of expertise.

RV Parks:

  • Many RV parks have propane refill stations on site if you are traveling in an RV.
  • RV parks are a convenient option if you are traveling long distances and need to refill your propane tank.


  • Amazon also offers propane tank refills and delivery services in some areas. It is convenient for those needing easy access to a propane dealer or other refill locations.

Several options for refilling your propane tank include gas stations, hardware stores, propane dealers, big box stores, and RV parks. Choosing a reputable and knowledgeable location is important to ensure that your propane tank is filled safely and properly.

What Are Some Common Uses For Propane?

Sure, here are some common uses for propane:

  • Home heating: Propane is commonly used as a heating fuel in homes, especially in areas where natural gas is unavailable. It is often used to power furnaces, boilers, and space heaters.
  • Outdoor grilling: Propane is a popular fuel source for outdoor grills, providing a convenient and efficient way to cook food outdoors.
  • Generators: Propane can be used to power backup generators, providing a reliable source of electricity during a power outage.
  • Water heating: Propane-powered water heaters are popular for their efficiency and quick heating capabilities, making them a common choice for residential and commercial settings.
  • Vehicles: Propane-powered vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles. Propane is also commonly used as fuel for forklifts and other industrial vehicles.
  • Fireplaces: Propane can be used as a fuel source for indoor and outdoor fireplaces, providing a convenient and low-maintenance option for homeowners who want the ambiance of a fireplace without the hassle of wood.
  • Agricultural uses: Propane is commonly used in agricultural settings, such as for heating greenhouses, powering irrigation pumps, and fueling tractors and other farm equipment.
  • Industrial uses: Propane is used in various industrial settings, from powering boilers and furnaces to fueling forklifts and other machinery. It is also used as a feedstock to produce plastics, chemicals, and other materials.

These are just a few of the many common uses for propane. Its versatility and efficiency make it a popular fuel source for many applications.

How to Calculate Your Burn Rate

When it comes to home propane tanks, knowing how much propane you are using and when you’re running low is crucial for safety and convenience. This step-by-step guide will walk you through calculating the burn rate for non-portable propane tanks commonly used to heat homes and power appliances like stoves and water heaters.

Step 1: Determine the Total BTU Usage of Your Propane Appliances 

Large propane tanks, also known as ASME tanks, are non-portable and typically used to power home furnaces, cook stoves, and water heaters. The first step in calculating your propane burn rate is to determine the total BTU usage of your propane appliances. For example, let’s say your home has the following propane appliances:

  • Furnace: 85,000 BTUs
  • Cookstove: 63,000 BTUs
  • Water heater: 199,000 BTUs

The total BTU usage of these appliances is 347,000.

Step 2: Calculate the Gallons of Propane Burned Per Hour 

To calculate the gallons of propane burned per hour, divide the total BTU usage of your propane appliances by the number of BTUs in a gallon of propane (91,502). In this example, the propane burn rate per hour is approximately 3.79 gallons.

It’s important to note that this calculation assumes each propane-burning appliance runs high for the entire hour, which is not typically the case. In reality, the propane burn rate will be less, depending on how often and hard each appliance is being used.

Step 3: Factor in Home Size and Appliance Usag

How much propane you burn per hour also depends on the size of your home and how often your appliances are being used. A smaller home requires less propane than a larger home. If your furnace, stove, and water heater are only being used intermittently, you will burn less propane.

Step 4: Key Propane Usage Statistics for Homeowners

Here are some key propane usage statistics for homeowners to keep in mind:

  • A home furnace consumes 500-1,200 gallons of propane per year, depending on the frequency of use.
  • On average, homeowners use 200-300 gallons of propane yearly for hot water.
  • The average homeowner uses about 2.5, 500-gallon tanks, which equals approximately 1,250 gallons of propane per year for heating and cooking.

Step 5: Monitoring Your Propane Levels 

Regularly monitoring your propane levels is crucial for avoiding dangerous situations and ensuring uninterrupted service. If you don’t have scheduled regular fill-ups, you can learn to read your propane gauge to know when to call for refueling.

By following these steps and monitoring your propane usage, you can ensure a safe and reliable supply for your home and appliances.

When Should You Order More Propane?

When you rely on propane for heating, cooking, or running other appliances, it’s essential to ensure you have enough propane to last through the season. Here are some factors to consider when deciding when to order more propane:

Check your propane tank gauge: Your propane tank gauge should indicate how much propane you have left. Depending on your tank, the gauge will either be a mechanical device or a digital one. Keep an eye on the gauge and order more propane when the tank is around 20-30% full.

Consider usage patterns: Your propane usage patterns will vary throughout the year. For example, you may use more propane during the colder months for heating and less during the warmer months. Keep track of your propane usage, and order more before running out.

Plan for deliveries: Delivery schedules vary by region and supplier. Make sure to contact your propane supplier and find out how far in advance you need to place your order to ensure that you have enough propane.

Take weather forecasts into account: If you know a cold snap is coming or live in an area with harsh winter weather, it’s important to order propane before the storm hits. It will help you to avoid running out of propane when you need it most.

Consider the size of your propane tank: The size of your propane tank will also impact how often you need to order more propane. For example, a 100-pound tank will require more frequent refills than a 500-pound tank.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can always have enough propane to meet your needs. Remember, running out of propane can be inconvenient and even dangerous, so it’s important to order more propane on time.

How Much Does A New Propane Tank Cost?

  • A brand-new 20-pound propane tank can cost anywhere from $25 to $70.
  • A new 30-pound tank may cost between $50 and $100.
  • A new 40-pound tank can cost between $80 and $150.
  • Larger tanks, such as 100-pound tanks, can cost upwards of $400 to $800.
  • Prices may also vary depending on the brand and the region.

Safety Tips When Handling Propane Tanks

Propane is a popular fuel source for many purposes, including heating homes, cooking, and powering vehicles. However, it’s important to remember that propane is a highly flammable gas and can be dangerous if not handled properly. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when handling propane tanks:

Always store propane tanks outdoors: Propane tanks should never be stored indoors or in a garage. Keeping them in a well-ventilated area is important, away from any heat source, flames, or ignition sources.

Check for leaks: Before using a propane tank, always inspect it for leaks. You can apply soapy water to the valve and connection points. If you see bubbles forming, this indicates a leak. If you detect a leak, turn off the propane tank and contact a professional to repair it.

Keep the tank upright: Propane tanks should always be in an upright position, whether in use or not. It helps prevent the tank from tipping over and causing a leak.

Keep tanks away from flames: Propane tanks should always be kept away from flames, including cigarettes, matches, and open flames.

Store tanks in a cool, dry place: When storing propane tanks, they should be kept in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. It helps prevent the tanks from overheating, which can cause pressure to build up inside the tank.

Never leave tanks in a hot car: Propane tanks should never be left in a hot car, as the heat can cause the pressure inside the tank to build up, leading to an explosion.

Use tanks for their intended purpose only: Propane tanks should only be used for their intended purpose. For example, you should not use a propane tank designed for a grill to power a generator or other appliance.

Follow manufacturer instructions: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using propane tanks. It includes properly connecting the tank to the appliance and turning it off when it’s not in use.

Following these safety tips when handling propane tanks can help prevent accidents and keep yourself and those around you safe.

Wrap Up

Now that you know “How Long Does a Propane Tank Last,” you can plan for your next cookout, camping trip, or winter heating season. 

Remember, safety is always the top priority when handling propane tanks. Be sure to follow best practices for storage, handling, and transport to minimize the risk of accidents or leaks. Your propane tank can provide reliable fuel for months or even years with proper care and maintenance.

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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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