How Long Will 500 Gallons Of Propane Last?

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If you're wondering how long a 500-gallon propane tank will last, you've found the right post! Whether you're adjusting to the tank at your new residence or planning to purchase the right size, we've already researched everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

A 500-gallon tank of propane can last between one month, 25 days to 14 months, 17 days, depending on usage, house size, location, weather, and the number of propane-powered devices used.

Keep reading for more details on how long 500 gallons will last. We'll also tackle the factors of propane consumption, plus tank installation costs and maintenance.

500 Gallon Above Ground Propane Tank, How Long Will 500 Gallons Of Propane Last?

How big is a 500-gallon propane tank: Does it really hold 500 gallons?

Exterior Of Villa With Propane Gas Tank In The Backyard

The 500-gallon propane tank size is ideal for use in the home, such as fueling supplemental heating (or space heaters), hot water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, kitchen cooktops, and generators. It measures 9' 11" long and 37.5" in diameter and weighs about 949 pounds.

For safety reasons, a 500-gallon propane tank is never filled to more than 80% capacity. Typically, it holds 400 gallons of propane when full. You must leave enough space in the tank because higher temperatures expand propane, and a full 100% expansion could result in pressure on the propane tank that is too high to handle and can be dangerous. 

Propane Consumption Factors

You need to consider several things before determining exactly how long 500 gallons of propane will last. They are home size, location, weather, and propane-powered appliances.

You need to know that the larger the house, the more fuel it takes to heat it, and the sooner the propane tank runs out. 

Then, heating requirements vary by location. The Northeastern United States requires more British Thermal Unit (BTU) heating output than houses in the southern United States. In cities with moderate temperatures, the 500-gallon propane tank will last longer. 

Another, the weather, is also a factor because the use of propane significantly increases during extremely cold weather. An average American household used 830 gallons of propane during the harshest winter of 2013-2014. 

And also, energy-efficient propane-powered devices with a rating of more than 90 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) burns less propane than the lower AFUE. If you use 90 AFUE furnaces and energy-saving devices, your propane tank will last longer.

How long will 500 gallons of propane last?

 This shot shows a large propane fuel tank behind a residential building. The gas is used as fuel for home heating.

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, the average American household uses about 750 gallons of propane every winter. And based on Statista records, the average single-family house in the U.S. is 2,261 square feet in 2020.

So, 750 gallons divided by 2,261 square feet translates to 0.33 gallons of propane per square foot of the house over six winter months. Because propane consumption is influenced by a variety of factors, this figure is just a rough average estimate.

Now, we can calculate how long it would last a 500-gallon tank for different sizes of houses based on the data above. 

  • For propane consumption: home size x 0.33 gallon 
  • For 500 gallons (400 gallons when full), longevity: 400 gallons x 6 months ÷ propane consumption 

The chart below will show you how long a 500-gallon tank of propane lasts for various home sizes: 

Propane Consumption Of Some Appliances

Propane is used in the home for a variety of purposes. Your average monthly fuel needs are influenced by how your home is set up and how much you use each appliance. The following is a list of typical propane usage rates for some of the most common household appliances:

Furnaces

The furnace uses more propane in general. The exact amount varies, but the furnace can run for an hour on a gallon of propane. If you want to save money on propane, you'll have to limit how much you use your furnace.

Water Heaters

In comparison to your furnaces, the water heater consumes less propane. A gallon and a half of propane will last your home water heater for one day. It is always contingent on your usage and requirements. Of course, the heater consumes a significant amount of propane.

Kitchen Stove

Electric stoves are now commonly used for cooking. However, many people continue to use a propane stove. In comparison to other home appliances, the kitchen stoves use very little propane. But if you use the stove every week, you will consume a gallon of propane.

How much does a 500 gallons propane tank cost?

These humble propane tanks play a key role on Iowa farms, where they help heat livestock barns and provide energy for appliances in farm homes.

If you're buying a propane tank for a heating system or appliances, talk to your propane supplier first. They can help you choose the right size, location, and tank type. Most suppliers will rent or lease you a tank for free or at a low cost. 

When you use AmeriGas as your propane supplier, using their tank is free. A Costco propane tank costs between $10 and $20. And the brand Blue Rhino propane tank costs between $14 and $20, depending on whether you return it afterward.

In terms of fuel, the recent price for propane used by the residents in March 2022 was $2.993 per gallon; this is in accordance with EIA statistics. So, for 400 gallons of propane, the total cost is $1,197.2 ($2.993 x 400 gallons).

Your fuel consumption should determine your propane tank size. Although smaller propane tanks are less expensive, it is generally more cost-effective in the long run to install the recommended tank size for your needs to save fuel delivery fees.

How much does it cost to install a 500-gallon propane tank?

The cost to install the tank depends on the location, either underground or above-ground.

Tanks that are above ground range in price from $300 to $3,000. Because they don't require trenching or digging up your lawn, they are less expensive to install. This is a significant cost-cutting measure that doesn't interfere with your landscaping.

The tanks must, however, be kept at a safe distance from your home and away from your septic system. As a result, the tank could be situated in the middle of your lawn. It's inconvenient and unattractive.

The cost of underground propane tanks ranges from $1,500 to $5,000. The installation costs are higher, but it saves yard space, the unit is protected, and it can also be placed where only a small dome is visible.

If you live in a flood zone, you should not install the tank below ground. In this case, any flooding near the tank's burying site could cause it to shift, obstructing its use.

How do you maintain a 500-gallon propane tank?

Propane tank with protective barriers around it.

An above-ground tank should last at least 12 years after the manufacture date if properly maintained. Whereas an underground tank can last for up to 30 years, depending on a number of factors, including whether it was installed correctly in the first place and the type of soil you have.

These are the tips you can follow to maintain your propane tank properly:

  • Schedule your propane deliveries to avoid a hassle on your part, and you won't have to worry about keeping track of your fuel levels or placing orders on time. Remember that you should not let your tank run out of gas.
  • Understand the temperature of your tank. Propane expands when heated, and the levels in your tank will drop as the weather cools. When the delivery company arrives to fill your tank, they'll use a volume correction device to make sure it's properly topped off. 
  • Check your tank for leaks regularly. By doing it, pour a mixture of warm, soapy water over the tanks and gas lines, and if bubbles appear, it means the tank leaks.
  • Above-ground tanks must always be placed on level ground, or they will tip over. If it is on a wooden platform, make sure it is not deteriorating. Otherwise, it may eventually collapse, causing major issues.
  • Inspect your tank for any other issues such as damaged or missing valves, controls, dials, or indicators, kinks in your gas line, corrosion on any of your equipment, and accumulation of soot on the tank or any parts.

What do you do with expired propane tanks? 

Tanks that have passed their normal expiration date can be re-certified by a professional. If the inspector deems the tank to be in usable condition, they will place an "E" or "S" after the manufacturing date on the tank. This "E" extends the tank's life by another five years, and "S" is ten years.

Is propane cheaper than natural gas?

Did you know propane is more expensive than natural gas? Although this is the case, propane provides at least twice the amount of heat compared to natural gas. Prices vary depending on what region you live in. This may result in not only a less expensive fuel source as opposed to electricity but also determine which fuel type is preferred in the area.

Final thoughts

Aged propane tank near a large home.

Most residential homes use a 500-gallon propane tank, and knowing how long a 500-gallon propane tank lasts is crucial. Five-hundred gallons of propane can last for several months, depending on usage. We hope you found the information in this article to be useful.

For more topics related to propane, please don't hesitate to read the posts below:

Does A Propane Furnace Use Electricity?

How To Convert An Oil Furnace To Gas Or Propane—And Should You?

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