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BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum
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Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Energy > Conventional Oil/Gas

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  #1  
Old 01-17-2008, 11:41 PM
jen_in_southtexas's Avatar
jen_in_southtexas jen_in_southtexas is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Deep South Texas brush country
Posts: 584
Default 5 gallon propane tanks

I was wondering how long does a 5 gallon propane tank normally last? It will just be used for cooking on weekends at the homestead and sometimes for heating short periods of time.

Thx,
-j
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:39 PM
SolarGary SolarGary is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 22
Default Re: 5 gallon propane tanks

Hi,
Just as a rough guess:

I would guess the 5 gallon tanks actually hold 4 gallons, since they fill propane tanks to 80% full.
This (92000BTU/gal)(4 gal) = 368,000 BTU.

A stove top burner on full blast is uses about 12000 BTU/hr.
So, if you ran the equivalent of one burner on full blast for 2 hours a day, thats 368000/24000 = 15 days of cooking. Maybe 6 or 7 weekends of this kind of use?

Gary

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Old 03-03-2008, 12:26 PM
kawalekm kawalekm is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sierra Nevada foothills
Posts: 991
Default Re: 5 gallon propane tanks

HI Jen
We swap out propane tanks less than once a season at our homestead. This is every other weekend use over the course of the season. Used just for cooking, the propane actually lasts a looooong time! If you start trying to heat your cabin with it though, expect it to last just 3-5 days, depending on your weather. I wouldn't waste propane on cabin heating unless you have nothing else. High quality fuel like propane is best for stovetop cooking. Gary gave some nice calculations about use. I'll remember those.

Here's one way to know how much propane you have in the tank. Weigh your empty tank on a bathroom scale. Weigh it again after filling. The net weight change is proportional to the amount of propane IN THE TANK. Propane weighs 5lbs/gallon, so the net change should be about 25lbs. It's important to check this because an inexperienced person at the pump can screw up filling the tank. I've seen a person attach the connection incorrectly resulting in about half my propane just dumped on the ground to evaporate!

I keep an extra full tank ready for each propane appliance I have. As soon as I empty a tank I swap it out with a full one. I get cheap old tanks at the flea market for 6-7$. I then use these as trade-ons at the gas station for a new, full tank. It's a good way to get old, potentially dangerous tanks off the streets, and it saves me the cost of paying for the new tank.
Michael
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