Written on: September 18, 2023
If you’re looking to add or switch to propane at your home, you may wonder how much propane you’ll need, what size tank to get and how long a tank of propane will last. It all comes down to how much propane you need. Since propane doesn’t have a shelf-life, it won’t degrade or spoil if you don’t use it in a set amount of time.
It’s all about finding that “Goldilocks” tank, with a capacity that’s “just right” to keep your propane appliances running without having to order refills too often. That’s where the expert team at Pico can help. We’ll work with you to make sure the tank you get is just the right capacity for the size of your home and the appliances and equipment that you’re using. We’ve got decades of experience with propane, and helping homeowners and businesses get set up with a propane tank and service that’s the perfect fit for their needs.
If you use propane to power an appliance or two, a 100-gallon tank should last about a month. If you use propane to heat your home, your water and run multiple appliances, you’ll probably need a fill-up every four to six weeks. That’s based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which finds the average American home uses about 750 gallons of propane each winter.
Of course, 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 100-gallon tank will at least two 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.
If you’re using propane to heat your home, the size of your home will have a big effect on how much propane required to heat it. A 500-gallon tank is the minimum size you’d need if you plan to heat a 2,000-square-foot home with propane. As your square footage moves toward 3,500-4,000 square feet, you will 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. A 100-gallon tank will run the average 5000-watt stand-by generator for about 36 hours.
If your propane storage tank is too small, you’ll need to order propane 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 Pico, 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.