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How Long Will Your Grill’s Propane Tank Last?

Plan Ahead So Your Barbecue’s Flame Doesn’t Go Out on You!

grill cylinders pennsylvaniaWe all know that sinking feeling. You’re preparing a great spread on the grill: burgers, hotdogs, shrimp kababs, you name it! Suddenly, you notice the thermometer on your grill lid ticking down.

When was the last time you checked your barbecue’s propane tank?

In the United States, 61 percent of grill owners use propane. Why? It’s a no-brainer! Propane is clean burning. It eliminates starter fluid odor or ashy taste on your food. Plus, it lights up with the flick of an ignitor and provides an even, easily adjustable heat. But you won’t enjoy these benefits if your portable propane tank is empty.

At ProGas, we supply propane cylinder exchange stations at convenience stores, gas stations, garden centers, and other retailers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. So, we can help you figure out how long your propane tank will last, no matter what time of year you use your grill.

What Kind of Propane Tank Do Most Grills Use?

Most propane grills on the market use a 20-pound tank, also called a 5-gallon tank. You can generally find this size at gas stations, big box stores, and hardware store exchanges. Virtually all portable propane tank refill stations accommodate these cylinders.

A 20-pound propane cylinder is easily transportable. Make sure you transport and store these containers upright and never leave them inside your closed vehicle.

How Long Will a Grill’s Propane Tank Last?

To begin, portable propane cylinder containers are qualified for use up to 12 years after their manufacturing date. The propane inside of the cylinder has a virtually unlimited shelf life.

When grilling on a medium-sized grill, one tank should last between 18 and 20 hours of cooking. However, larger grills can burn through 20 pounds of propane in 10 hours or less. Using a medium-sized grill on high heat will consume one or two pounds of fuel per meal. That’s about eight to 10 cooking sessions per tank

How Can You Tell How Much Fuel Is Left in Your Portable Propane Tank?

If you want to avoid a surprise runout at the grill, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the markings on your propane cylinder. These can help guide you in knowing how much fuel you have left. These markings are generally stamped near the handle of your portable tank:

Table 1
Propane Cylinder Marking Meaning and Use
 TW  This tells you how much the cylinder weighs when empty.
 WC  This tells you how much the tank holds.
 Manufacture date marker (ex. 11 21)  This lets you know the month and year the cylinder was made.

A typical 20-pound tank weighs 17 pounds empty (TW). It can hold 20 pounds of propane (WC), so a full cylinder would weigh 37 pounds when filled.

So, if you need to know how full your propane cylinder is, you can simply weigh it and deduct the TW. For example, a standard 20-pound cylinder tanking 27 pounds would have 10 pounds of fuel, which is half-full.

There are also external gauges you can attach to your cylinder. Some have analog dials telling you the percentage remaining. Others have digital readings telling you both the percentage and your remaining cook time!

Does your home use propane for heat? Become a ProGas customer today for the most dependable propane delivery in the tri-state area! We’ll help you with home heating, BBQ tanks, and all things propane related.