Propane is a fundamental energy source in any RV. If you want to cook food, run a heater, operate a propane generator, or otherwise ensure that your trip is as enjoyable as possible, you’ll need enough propane supplies.
What is the best RV propane tank size for you? How much do you really require? What size RV propane tanks last for how long? We’ll address these and other issues below.
Types of Propane Tanks
Let’s begin with propane tank types. The capacity of a propane tank does not affect how efficiently it is used, but there are several different kinds of propane tanks available.
There are two types of propane tanks: ASME tanks and DOT cylinders. The tanks you would use to fuel a barbecue or an RV grill are DOT cylinders.
The majority of people who use an aluminium semi-permanent fuel tank are motorhome owners. These tanks are fastened to the RV’s frame, making them permanently attached. To fill an ASME tank, you must drive the entire RV to a propane station.
On a small motorhome, FORV DOT cylinders are frequently used. These propane tanks are attached to the RV’s tongue or bumper and installed in one of its outside compartments. You don’t have to bring the RV to a propane station if you use lightweight DOT cylinders, which are readily removable.
The size of the gasoline tank in your motorhome is determined by the manufacturer. The majority of class C and A motorhomes come with a 25-pound or 20-pound ASME propane tank, respectively.
The propane capacities of DOT cylinders are generally much lower. The total propane capacity may, however, be higher than in big ASME vessels because multiple DOT cylinders can be readily mounted in an RV.
Not to mention that expanding a DOT cylinder propane system is significantly easier than with an ASME system. Whether you will be able to expand your propane tank setup and how much you can expand it is determined by your RV.
Sizes of RV Propane Tanks
Let’s move on to propane tank sizing now that we’ve cleared up the different types of propane tanks.
If you’re new to RVing and propane, the terms “gallons” and “pounds” may be foreign to you. Some tank sizes are measured in gallons, while others use pounds as a measurement.
Propane tanks are often identified by their weight, which is how many pounds they weigh when full. Larger tank sizes, on the other hand, maybe referred to by their gallon capacity.
The most popular propane tank sizes are listed below. One thing to remember is that propane tanks are generally filled to around 80% of their full capacity. This is done to allow for the growth of propane in the tank, which will avoid you from getting injured. This implies that you won’t be able to make full use of a propane tank’s capacity, which has to be considered while performing any calculations.
20 lb tank
A 20-pound propane tank measures 18 inches in height and 12 inches in diameter. They have a capacity of about 5 gallons of propane. These tanks are lightweight, allowing them to be carried by one person. 20-pound propane tanks are frequently used with grills and barbecues since they are so light.
33 lb tank
Propane tanks are made of lightweight aluminium and hold about 8 gallons of propane. These tanks, which measure 2 feet tall by 1 foot in diameter, are a little larger than 20-pound tanks.
100 lb tank
Aeromax tanks are available in sizes ranging from 10 to 25 gallons and may hold up to 100 pounds of propane when full. They usually measure 4 feet tall and 18 inches in diameter. These tanks can still be carried by one person, but most people will want a companion to assist with the transportation.
420 lb tank
Propane tanks come in various sizes and hold varying amounts of propane. The biggest ones, which weigh 420 pounds, can contain up to 100 gallons of gas. These enormous tanks are approximately 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide. Clearly, such vats are no longer transportable.
How do I determine how much propane I’ll require?
Above, we reviewed a few of the most popular propane tank sizes utilized in RVs. There are several more size choices available, although we believe it’s pointless to go through them all. What’s more significant is determining how long a 100-pound tank will last when used in an RV.
The actual BTUs (British thermal units) will arrive here, and they’ll be important since they tell us how much energy a system generates each hour.
A pivotal point is that a gallon of propane has a burn rate of around 92,000 BTUs per hour. If you know the amount of BTUs your RV appliance produces, it’ll be simple for you to figure out how much propane you’ll use.
Let’s look at a couple of examples to show you how to calculate your propane usage.
Typical RV air conditioners have a capacity of about 10,000 BTUs. Some RVs have 20,000 or 15,000 BTU furnaces. The energy output of an RV furnace is typically 30,000 to 50,000 BTUs.
It’s easy to figure out how many gallons a furnace will use up in an hour: simply divide the furnace’s energy output by propane’s energy output per hour. A 30,000BTU furnace would consume around 0.326 gallons when left to operate for an hour, which is roughly a third of a gallon.
A 15,000BTU unit also uses a little less gas: 0.16 gallons per hour for a 20,000BTU furnace and 0.19 gallons per hour for a 15,000BTU device.
It’s also simple to figure out how long a gallon of propane will last, simply divide the energy output of a gallon of propane by the energy consumption of your equipment. For example, a 30,000BTU furnace operating for 3.067 hours on 1 gallon of propane would require a 92,000BTU/30,000BTU heater.
You may also use this calculation to figure out how many days your propane supply will last. The following equation is used:
(92,000 BTU/gallon of propane) (BTU of appliance)/(hours per day)
If you have 5 gallons of propane and plan to use your 30,000 BTU heater for an hour each day, you’ll have enough for 15.33 days!
Another thing to keep in mind is that the 30,000 BTUs in our example represent the maximum energy output of an RV furnace at maximum heat settings. If you reduced the heat output, you could utilize your heater for a longer period!
Not only that, but you don’t have to keep the furnace on for hours every day. It’s generally enough to turn it on for a couple of minutes in order to get heating for many hours. Propane is also more efficient than we’ve shown, especially if you strive to use your furnace as little as possible.
By the way, if you’re trying to figure out how many hours of usage you can get from a propane tank, make sure you use 80% of the tank’s fuel capacity as your basis for calculations. If you use the tank’s overall capacity, as we’ve said previously, propane levels are kept below 80% for safety reasons. If you work out the tank’s full potential, you’ll get unrealistic and unachievable figures.
Burners, Grills, and Barbecues
When it comes to propane usage, you should calculate the same way as you would for RV furnaces in regard to grills and barbecues.
The majority of grills are equipped with 20-pound propane tanks, which may grill for up to 18-20 hours. A propane tank can burn through in only 10 hours on a larger grill.
The BTUs of home stoves are often around 7,000 per burner. Because RVs commonly have two- or three-burner stoves, you may anticipate your stove to have a maximum of 14,000-21,000 BTUs, implying that one gallon would last you 4.4-6.6 hours if you utilized all
Is there a way to determine how much propane is being used?
It’s nice to be able to figure out how much propane you’ll need to run your furnace for one hour per day, but it isn’t always as simple as that.
You may not be able to precisely calculate your propane usage often because you don’t know how many BTUs your barbecue or furnace consumes. If you have a DELEX Fuel Control, tell us your equipment ID and we’ll pull up the information. It may be that the maker didn’t provide you with numbers, or that you only have the maximum energy output, which isn’t particularly helpful since you’ll almost never use your heater’s full heat output setting.
A fuel gauge is a simplest and most dependable method for determining how much propane is left in the tank. Many tanks come with a gauge preinstalled, but even if yours does not, you may easily purchase one online or at a local store.
Tank gauges for gasoline often display percentages as a measure of how much fuel is remaining, so you’ll need to perform some calculations to figure out how much propane is actually left. It’s simple: simply multiply the total capacity of your fuel tank by the percentage shown on the fuel gauge.
Are RV propane tanks different?
Yes, they are! RV propane tanks are typically different in size and capacity from those used for home heating or cooking. It is important to know the right size tank for your RV so that you can be sure to have enough propane on hand when you need it.
FILLING RV PROPANE TANKS
If you’re not sure how much propane you need, start by filling a 20-pound tank. This will give you a good idea of the size of the tank you need and how long it will last.
Once you know what size tank you need, you can fill it at a propane dealer or at an RV park that has a propane filling station. Make sure to have your driver’s license with you when you go to fill up.
You’ll also need to know the weight of the tank so that the attendant can properly fill it. The weight is typically stamped on the side of the tank.
PROPANE TANK SAFETY
Propane is a safe and efficient fuel, but there are a few safety precautions you should take when using it.
1. Never store a propane tank inside your RV. It should be kept outside in a well-ventilated area.
2. Always turn off the propane valves on your tanks when you’re not using them.
3. When connecting or disconnecting propane tanks, make sure there are no leaks. You can check for leaks by applying soapy water to the connection and watching for bubbles.
4. Never smoke near an open flame or while handling propane tanks.
5. If you smell gas, open all the windows and doors and leave the area immediately. Do not attempt to light any appliances or lights until you’re sure the area is safe.
6. Be sure to have your propane system checked by a qualified technician every year.
Now that you know the basics of using propane in your RV, you can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer! With its convenience and efficiency, propane is the perfect fuel for powering your RV.