How Long Will A 5 Gallon Propane Tank Last?

While boondocking in an RV, a basic 20 pound propane tank (5 gallons, or 4.7 gallons actual) will last anywhere from three to seven days. This assumes you use propane to heat your home, operate your refrigerator, keep your water heater running, and cook on your stove.

Expect that tank to last you at least three days if you plan to use your furnace every night for roughly 8 hours at a time and use propane for your other RV appliances.

Boondockers frequently have a number of spare tanks on hand to assist them extend their boondocking.

How to Make Your Propane Tanks Last Longer

  • A 20 pound propane tank will last you 7-10 days if you don’t use your RV furnace and leave your water heater off for the majority of the time. This assumes you’re still using propane for your RV refrigerator and cooking on your cooktop.
  • However, if you can run your refrigerator entirely on electricity, such as from a generator or a 12 volt refrigerator, you can get two to three months out of a 20 pound propane tank. Now you’re just using propane for cooking and a few showers every now and again.

RV furnaces are gas guzzlers. Furthermore, the furnace will heat the entire RV even if you only require heat in your bedroom. This is why portable propane heaters are preferable: they burn propane more efficiently and allow you to direct heat where it is needed.

Although the water heater does not consume a lot of gas, it is rarely used. It’s actually only for showering, and most boondockers don’t shower on a daily basis. In that scenario, turn off the water heater and only use it when necessary.

Use the Sun for Taking Showers

Instead of taking a shower with hot water, take a shower with the sun. Fill three 1-gallon jugs halfway with water and set them out in the sun for a few hours. Showering does not require “hot” water; simply warm water is required.

Only use those jugs for showering once they’re ready. Don’t even turn on the shower’s faucets. This is a fantastic technique to save water while boondocking.

Propane Tank Exchanges Cheat You Out of Propane

You won’t get a full tank if you get your propane tanks from an exchange (the kind where you leave an empty tank and get a full tank). In most cases, these exchanges only put around 4.0 gallons into a tank that can carry much more. Most 20-pound propane tanks have a capacity of 4.7 gallons.

Furthermore, propane exchanges are more expensive. Even though you only get 4.0 gallons, exchanges always bill you for 6.5 gallons. If the price of propane is $3.00 per gallon in the United States, you will be charged $19.50.

That’s why getting your propane tank replenished rather than using an exchange is preferable. You can purchase the entire 4.7 gallon container and pay exactly for what you receive.

Where to Get a Propane Tank Refilled

The majority of travel centers, including as Pilot, Flying J, and Loves, provide propane tank refills. Propane tank refills are available at most farm supply stores, including Cal Ranch Stores, Big R Stores, and select Tractor Supply Stores. “Where do I Refill a Propane Tank?” is another subject worth reading.


As previously stated, 20-pound propane tanks are used for small chores such as cooking single meals. If you’re grilling on a medium-sized barbecue, one tank of propane will normally last between 18 and 20 hours. Larger barbecues, on the other hand, can consume 20 pounds of propane in as little as 10 hours.

If you use a medium-sized grill on high heat, you’ll need one or two pounds of fuel per meal on average. That works out to about 8 grilling sessions per tank.


The industry standard for measuring the heating efficiency of domestic equipment is the British Thermal Unit, or BTUs. One gallon of propane equals 92,000 BTUs, and the average house furnace uses 100,000 BTUs. The average house furnace consumes about one gallon of propane each hour.

Depending on how often you turn on your furnace, a house furnace might burn anywhere from 500 to 1,200 gallons of propane every year.

Hot Water Heaters

The amount of hot water you use depends on how many bathrooms you have and how many people are in and out of your home. The average residence uses approximately 1.5 gallons of propane per day for conventional hot water heating.

For hot water, the average homeowner will use between 200 and 300 gallons of propane each year.

The average homeowner will consume about 2.5, 500-gallon propane tanks for house heating and cooking each year.

On a 5 gallon propane tank, how long can a generator run?

The generator can consume up to 5 gallons of fuel in 8 hours, depending on the load. The Honda generators may utilize 2.5 gallons of gas in 24 hours.

What does it cost to fill a 5 gallon gas tank?

The typical cost of replacing a propane tank is between $5.00 and $6.00 per gallon. Most U-Haul propane refill facilities charge between $3.00 and $4.00 per gallon to refill a propane tank. By refilling your propane tank rather than exchanging it, you will save $1.76 a gallon on average.

On a 20-pound tank, how long will a little buddy heater run?

The Big Buddy Portable Heater is the only Buddy Heater with a medium setting and can handle two 1lb (0.45kg) propane tanks. This offers you a lot more control over the amount of heat it may generate.

When linked to two 1lb (0.45kg) propane tanks, the Big Buddy Portable Heater can run for 4.8 hours on medium and 48 hours when connected to a 20lb (9kg) tank.

What should you do if your propane tank runs dry?

Allowing your propane tank to run out of gas is never a good idea, not just because it will disrupt your heating service (which will cost you money to restore), but also because it poses serious safety threats to your propane-powered home.

If you let your propane tank run empty, these are four things that could happen. It’s simply not worth the risk, as you’ll see:

  • If your propane tank runs out, your appliance pilot lights will go out, which can be deadly if not handled appropriately.
  • When air and moisture enter an empty tank, rust forms, masking the rotten-egg odor of propane and making it more difficult to identify a leak.
  • When you run out of propane and leave a valve or gas line exposed, you risk a leak when you recharge the system.
  • In order to meet federal code standards for propane use, you must engage a competent technician to perform a leak test (which you must pay for).

The good news is that you can prevent all of these issues with Carroll’s FREE Automatic Propane Delivery! Sign up today and you’ll never have to worry about refilling your propane tank again (it also benefits us by minimizing the amount of emergency fills we have to schedule…which is why we give it out for free!).

What is the average lifespan of a small propane tank?

A disposable propane tank of 14 or 16 ounces will last 1.5 to 2 hours. On most grills, a regular 20-pound propane tank should last about 18-20 hours. You should always have an additional tank on available because you don’t want to run out in the middle of a barbecue!

How long does a 1 pound propane tank from Coleman last?

When used with a tiny 75,00 BTU stove and both burners on high flame, the most commonly used Coleman propane tank the 16.4oz or 1lb small tank will last for two hours.

22,000 BTUs are contained in a 16.4 oz propane tank. To figure out how long it will last with certain equipment, divide 22,000 by the BTU consumption per hour of the equipment, and you’ll have the number of hours your 16.4Oz propane tank will last (this is a very rough calculation and the actual burn time greatly depends on the efficiency of the equipment.)

Is it cheaper to use propane or gas to power a generator?

Propane generators are inefficient, producing less BTUs per gallon of fuel than gas generators. Propane, on the other hand, burns cleaner than gasoline, making it better for the environment as well as your generator.