Written on: April 3, 2023
Can there ever be too much of a good thing? As with most things, it depends. When it comes to propane, it doesn’t have a shelf-life, so it won’t degrade or spoil if you don’t use it in a set amount of time. So, when a customer asks us, “How long will a 500-gallon tank of propane last?” we know they don’t want to hear “forever.”
If you use propane to power an appliance or two, a 500-gallon tank could last as much as 14 months. If you use propane to heat your home, your water and run multiple appliances, you’ll probably need a fill-up every six to eight weeks. That’s based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which finds the average American home uses about 750 gallons each winter.
Of course, the age and efficiency of your heating equipment and appliances will make a difference in how much propane you need, but different appliances burn propane at different rates, regardless of how efficient they are.
Some appliances use a lot of propane—pool heaters, for example. On the other hand, a propane range only uses about 35 gallons a year. If that’s your only propane appliance, a 500-gallon tank will last 11 years. A propane fireplace uses about 200 gallons a year.
A traditional water heater burns about 1.5 gallons of propane a day, or about 200-300 gallons per year. A tankless water heater will use between a half a gallon and two gallons per running hour—basically, how long you are using hot water, since they heat on demand.
The size of your home will have a big effect on how much propane is required to heat it. A 500-gallon tank is the minimum size you’d need if you plan to heat your 2,000-square-foot home with propane. As your square footage moves toward 3,500-4,000 square feet, you might want a bigger tank.
Another factor is the size of your household: one or two people will use less hot water, run fewer loads of laundry and so on than a family of five.
One of the many benefits of running your home with propane is that you can also use propane to power a whole house generator. When storms bring down power lines, a stand-by generator goes on automatically, and can run key equipment or everything in your home. And the average 5000-watt stand-by generator will run for 7 to 10 days on a 500-gallon propane tank.
If your propane storage tank is too small, you’ll need to order a propane delivery too often—or risk the cost and hassle of runouts. Getting a big tank means you’ll need fewer refills—and you may be able to avoid or lessen the sting from price spikes. But, a bigger tank is, well, bigger: you’ll need space to bury it. And if it’s above-ground, a huge tank can be less attractive.
At Ace Robbins, our pros can help assess your needs and make sure you get a tank that makes sense for your home. We can also set you up with convenient automatic delivery service and a tank monitor, so you don’t have to think about scheduling a delivery at all. Contact us for more information and to become a customer today.