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How to calculate propane usage

Updated February 21, 2017

It's important to have an idea of how much propane an appliance uses so that you don't run out at an inopportune time. You can calculate propane usage using the formula provided below. Each propane tank size has an approximate BTU capacity that you can use in conjunction with your appliance's BTU rating to determine how long a full propane tank will power any given appliance. An appliance's BTU rating assumes that the appliance is running at 100 per cent, such as a gas grill running with all burners set on "high."

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  1. Measure your propane tank's height and diameter to determine its size. The height should be measured with the tank standing on its bottom, from the floor to the base of the propane tank collar. The propane tank collar is the raised piece surrounding the tank valve. Measure the diameter at the widest point by wrapping your measuring tape around the tank.

  2. A 9.07kg. tank is 18 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 13.6kg. tank is 24 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 18.1kg. tank is 29 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 45.4kg. tank is 48 inches high and has a diameter of 14.5 inches.

  3. Use your propane tank size to determine its BTU capacity when full. A 9.07kg. propane tank has a 430,270 BTU capacity, A 13.6kg. propane tank has a 649,980 BTU capacity, A 18.1kg. propane tank has a 860,542 BTU capacity and a 45.4kg. propane tank has a 2,160,509 BTU capacity.

  4. Locate the appliance BTU rating. The BTU rating is found either on the appliance itself or in the owner's manual.

  5. Use a calculator to divide your propane tank's BTUs by the appliance's BTU rating to determine how many hours your propane tank will power the appliance at 100 per cent.

  6. Tip

    The most common consumer propane tank size is 9.07kg. This is the size used to power gas grills. Since one pound of propane will power a gas grill for 30 minutes, a full 9.07kg. propane tank will power a gas grill for 10 hours.


    Never use a larger propane tank than your appliance manual recommends.

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Things You'll Need

  • Propane tank
  • Appliance BTU rating
  • Calculator

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