How Long Does A 500-Gallon Propane Tank Last?

Propane is quickly turning out to be one of America’s most popular commercial fuels. It’s a safe, versatile, and affordable fuel that may be used in a variety of home and HVAC systems. You’ll need a gas tank in your house to take advantage of propane’s many perks. The 500-gallon propane tank is far and away the most utilized in houses, at least among the residential propane tank sizes. But how long does a 500-gallon propane tank last?

A 500-gallon propane tank will last between 2 and 14 months, depending on the size of your house, the weather conditions, and the efficiency of your appliances. A 2,300-square-foot house, for example, uses an average of about 700 gallons of propane during the winter season.

Many families utilize propane in various ways. Cooking, heating, and even drying clothing are all made easier with it. For many homes to function correctly, a consistent supply of propane is essential. After all, you want to be ready to heat your home when the chilly winter arrives. Let’s take a look at how to keep track of your propane supplies throughout the year.

How Much Propane Is Used on Average in the US?

Propane tank

Even though there are several variables to consider, there are some broad factors you can use to get a ballpark figure of how much propane is used on average.

With the chart below, you can estimate how much propane your home’s various appliances will require. Note that these estimates are winter averages. These appliances will most likely consume an extra amount of propane during the winter months.

Every winter season, the average US single-family house, which is roughly 2,300 sq. ft., uses about 700 gallons of propane.

Furthermore, if we want to determine the amount of propane we use per square foot, we can use the following formula:

1,014 Gallons of Propane ÷ 2,300 sq. ft. House = 0.441 Gallon of Propane per sq. ft.

We can then calculate propane usage (in gallons) for various dwelling sizes using this formula:

House Size (sq. ft.):How Long Can You Use A 500-Gallon Propane Tank?
4,000 sq. ft.1 month and 23 days
3,500 sq. ft.2 months and 1 day
3,000 sq. ft.2 months and 11 days
2,500 sq. ft.2 months and 25 days
2,000 sq. ft.3 months and 25 days
1,500 sq. ft.4 months and 6 days
1,000 sq. ft.7 months and 2 days
500 sq. ft.14 months and 4 days

Propane Consumption based on the appliance:

ApplianceAverage Monthly Usage (Gallons)Average Monthly Cost (based on 2015 average price of $2.60 per gallon)
Propane Clothes Dryers1.5$4
Propane Stove Ranges3$8
Propane Fireplace16$42
Hot Water Heater20$52
Propane Furnace80$208
Total Estimated Monthly Cost $314

What Determines Propane Consumption?

The following are some of the factors that influence your propane usage at home:

The Size of Your House: Larger houses require more heat and, as a result, use more energy. In comparison to the normal 2,000-square-foot home, a 500-gallon propane tank will be exhausted significantly faster in a 4,000-square-foot home.

Winter Conditions: When the winter weather is more severe, there is a much higher consumption rate than during normal winter conditions. The hardest winter on record occurred in 2013-2014, with the average US household using 830 gallons of propane, whereas we use only 750 gallons of propane during most winters.

Heating Requirements Differ Depending on the Locale: The Northeastern United States requires a substantially greater BTU heating output for homes than the rest of the country. This is in contrast to residences in the country’s southern states. A 500-gallon propane tank, for example, will serve for longer periods in Oklahoma than in New Jersey.

The Energy Efficiency of the Device: High-efficiency propane furnaces with an AFUE rating greater than 90 will use far less propane to provide the same amount of heat. This differs in comparison to, say, a furnace with a 70 AFUE rating. A propane tank will serve for extended periods with the 90 AFUE furnaces.

The 80% Safety Rule: Regardless of its name, your 500-gallon propane tank can carry precisely 400 gallons of propane. To account for propane’s expanding qualities, you must leave space in the tank, and filling it all the way might be hazardous. For safety reasons, never fill your 500-gallon propane tank more than 80% full.

What Does It Cost to Fill a 500-Gallon Propane Tank?

White propane tanks at the back of a metal hut

Filling a propane tank, especially one with a capacity of 500 gallons, can be costly. Filling a 500-gallon propane tank will cost you around $600 on average, and maybe much more. The overall cost is subject to change depending on the current propane market price.

If propane costs $1.50 to $2.00 per gallon on the open market, 400 gallons will cost between $600 and $800.

The frequency with which you refill your tank is determined by how much propane you consume as a homeowner. A home of over 2,500 square feet might utilize 100 gallons in 30 to 45 days. Going by this rate, you might fill your tank up to 3-5 times each year, resulting in a $1,800-$3,000 annual expense.

How Long Does a 500-Gallon Propane Tank Last?

First and foremost, we must determine how many gallons of propane a 500-gallon propane tank can truly carry. We automatically assume it’s 500 gallons, but it’s actually 400 gallons.

As we mentioned above, the recommendation is to only fill propane tanks to a maximum of 80% of their full volumetric capacity. So a full 500-gallon propane tank can basically hold 400 gallons.

Let’s show you an example of how to calculate how long a 500-gallon tank would survive for various home sizes before we look at the table.

Example: How Long Does a 500-Gallon Tank Serve a 1,500-square-foot house?

We are aware that a 1,500-square-foot home will use 510 gallons of propane over the course of six winter months based on average estimates. A full 500-gallon propane tank carries 400 gallons of propane. Below is how to calculate it the length of time it will last:

  • 510 gallons of propane will serve for 6 months.

How many months will 400 gallons (a full 500-gallon tank) last?

  • 400 Gallons × 6 Months ÷ 510 Gallons = 4.706 Months

This implies that a full 500-gallon propane tank will serve a 1,500-square-foot home for 4 months and 6 days.

With this principle, we can calculate the amount of time it will take to empty a 500-gallon tank in different home sizes:

House Size (Square Footage): How Long Will A 500-Gallon Propane Tank Last?

House Size (sq. ft.):How Long Can You Use A 500-Gallon Propane Tank?
4,000 sq. ft.1 month and 23 days
3,500 sq. ft.2 months and 1 day
3,000 sq. ft.2 months and 11 days
2,500 sq. ft.2 months and 25 days
2,000 sq. ft.3 months and 25 days
1,500 sq. ft.4 months and 6 days
1,000 sq. ft.7 months and 2 days
500 sq. ft.14 months and 4 days

These are only estimates based on statistical averages at this point.

How energy efficient your propane-powered appliances are is a significant aspect that can raise or lower the stipulated length of time a 500-gallon propane tank will last.

Propane furnaces with a high-efficiency rating (over 90 AFUE) use less propane to provide the same amount of heat. These fantastic gadgets may extend the life of a 500-gallon propane tank by up to 25%.

Where Should I Place My 500-Gallon Propane Tank?

To guarantee the legal and safe installation of your above or underground propane tank, you need to know how far a propane tank must be distanced from roads, buildings, roads, awnings, houses, and property lines.

The most typical propane tank for domestic usage is a 500-gallon propane tank, which is appropriate for house heating, operating everyday appliances, powering generators, and other common uses. You won’t have to worry about a lot of refills with a larger tank, but you’ll have to follow some additional installation guidelines:

  • The minimal distance from a building is 10 feet.
  • A 10-foot distance from any source of ignition is required.
  • A minimum distance of 10 feet from a property line is required.

How Do You Read Propane Levels in Your 500-Gallon Tank?

You can figure out how much gas remains in your propane tank by doing some easy math. Simply multiply the tank’s capacity by the tank gauge’s reading.

For instance, when your 500-gallon tank displays a 60% gauge reading, that implies you still have 300 gallons of petrol left in your tank (500 x 0.6).

If you don’t want to do the math, below is a chart you can use to determine the amount of gas left in your propane tank depending on the size of the tank and the gauge reading.

Gauge Reads500-Gallon Tank
10%50 gallons
20%100 gallons
30%150 gallons
40%200 gallons
50%250 gallons
60%300 gallons
70%450 gallons
80%500 gallons

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