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Topic: How long does a propane tank last

Posted By: silvercorvette on 03/14/12 06:05pm

Back in the 1980s I had a small pull behind that was about 17 to 19 foot long. I had two 20 pound tanks that seemed to last forever. When I took a two month trip from coast to coast one tank would last almost a month, but all I used it for was for the stove/oven, hot water, heat and fridge (no generator and no generator). After a long break from camping for various I started back up again two years ago but this time I had a T/C with A/C and a propane generator to run it. I quickly learned that a 20 pound tank does not last long on a hot day when you are running the A/C even though you are not trying to cool a large area. My first trip with the T/C I ran through a tank in a day and had a hard time finding a place to refill so on my next trip I carried a couple spare tanks

A few days ago I switched from T/C to 5th wheel but this on did not have a generator so I bought a Yamaha 4500 KW gas generator. I have a feeling that the fact that I will be using gasoline instead of propane to cool the camper will probably mean that a 30 pound tank will last a month or more which will eliminate the need to end the dangerous practice of carrying a spare tank.

My question is for those with 5th wheels that only use the camper's propane for cooking and heating is my assumption that using gasoline for electricity extend the life of one propane tank to about a month or more? I assume that when the first tank runs dry I will have a month to find a place to refill the empty tank.

* This post was edited 03/14/12 06:39pm by silvercorvette *


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Posted By: Ka Ron on 03/14/12 06:10pm

I would really be concerned about using a 20lb tank in one day.

Sounds like something was not right.

You should have much better results with the new unit.


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Posted By: SWD on 03/14/12 06:10pm

Easy a month or more if you dont use the furnace. We camp on average 4 weeks in a year and our two 30# will last until well into next year, plus we have a 30# bottle that we use to cook outside with, so we hardly cook in the rig.


Posted By: MTPockets1 on 03/14/12 06:16pm

Running the propane generator all day? Yes, you'll go thru a lot of propane.


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Posted By: Old-Biscuit on 03/14/12 06:24pm

We FT in 34' FW......2 30# propane tanks.
Summer time.......propane for stove/oven and 24 hrs. for fridge (fridge is on LP approx. 4 hrs. each travel day....6 travel days) will last about 6 weeks.
Winter time......same conditions as above but now throw in furnace usage. Really depends on how cold it is...in -14*F snow went thru 30# tank in 2 days. In milder cold....low 40's....went thru 30# tank about 2 week avg.

Our Generator.....12 gallons of gasoline lasts roughly 36 hrs.


Posted By: sch911 on 03/14/12 06:30pm

MTPockets1 wrote:

Running the propane generator all day? Yes, you'll go thru a lot of propane.


Good thing the OP is getting a gasoline powered generator!


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Posted By: silvercorvette on 03/14/12 07:19pm

sch911 wrote:

MTPockets1 wrote:

Running the propane generator all day? Yes, you'll go thru a lot of propane.


Good thing the OP is getting a gasoline powered generator!


The small truck camper served me well, but it is time to move on the the 5th wheel. Trust me on this if you have a propane generator and it is necessary to make stops during the day when he temps are in the 90s you will go through 20 pounds in a day to a day an a half.

I bought the Yamaha a few weks before I picked up the 5th wheel in FL but I didn't pick it up till yesterday 3/15/12. I have suffered from chronic pain since the early 1990s and the medication I take makes me drowsy. I will not put the lives of others or my own in danger by driving after taking pills. I usually tough it out and drive in pain as long as I can take the pain before taking a pill. I can drive for about 15 to 20 minutes after taking the pill before I don't feel safe to drive and I look for a rest stop. When the temperature is in the high 90s an the pavement is throwing heat back off the pavement I have to keep the generator running.

Before I got a camper it restricted my traveling a lot and I really enjoyed traveling. I would either try to talk the motel person into renting a room for a few hours to nap or if I paid full price I wold quit driving for the day after only a couple hundred miles.

Now I usually nap for a while then get back in and drive but when I do stop to nap it is usually the hottest part of the day. Most of the time I can turn off the A/C at night but there have been times I had to keep it going all night and that is when I used a 20 pound tank or more in one day. Back in the 1980s my camper didn't have all the fancy stuff live microwave, TV, A/C, and a heater with a fan, thermostat and electronic ignition. Back then you had to hold a button down and hold it till the pilot light stayed on. I still remember a cold windy night camped at the Grand canyon when the pilot light blew out and I had to kneel down with my hands shaking from the cold while I waited for the pilot light to stay lit.

Now that I am back to using propane just for cooking and heating water and I will have two 30 pound tanks instead of two 20 I assume I will get a month but I just wanted to hear how long other people make a 30 pound tank last.

By the way I also picked up an aux 90 gallon diesel tank yesterday so the only two major dollar purchases are a Direct TV dish and a 12 volt TV.

In another thread someone suggested a 120 volt TV with an inverter but the 120 volt TVs I looked at on line seem to consume about double the watts of a 12 Volt TV.

Sorry to ramble on but when I get going I forget to stop/


Posted By: 45Ricochet on 03/14/12 07:47pm

sch911 wrote:

MTPockets1 wrote:

Running the propane generator all day? Yes, you'll go thru a lot of propane.


Good thing the OP is getting a gasoline powered generator!


Finding it can have its problems although I've NEVER not found it.
Cost per dollar is really not a big difference. Gasoline is what now $3.75 a gallon? Just got LP yesterday for $2.59.
Its not gallon per hour, rather dollar per hour IMO.
Yes a genny will use fuel, no doubt about it.


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Posted By: rthibodaux on 03/14/12 08:12pm

I bought my camper 11 months ago and still on the first tank. So how long will is last, nobody knows.


Posted By: Our Place on 03/15/12 10:48am

Ka Ron wrote:

I would really be concerned about using a 20lb tank in one day.

Sounds like something was not right.

You should have much better results with the new unit.


I agree, we made several camping trips in our 5er and only went through one 30# bottle and one trip (4 days) was cold so we ran the furnace every day.


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Posted By: RTompkins3 on 03/15/12 05:50pm

Conversion for 30 lb propane tank = 7.1 gallons of propane. Check the fuel usage specs on the generator using propane vs. gasoline. 5 gallons of gasoline would be equivalent to about 6.8 gallons of propane. (5x1.36), as there is less overall energy per unit volume in propene vs. gasoline.


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Posted By: silvercorvette on 03/15/12 06:40pm

Our Place wrote:

Ka Ron wrote:

I would really be concerned about using a 20lb tank in one day.

Sounds like something was not right.

You should have much better results with the new unit.


I agree, we made several camping trips in our 5er and only went through one 30# bottle and one trip (4 days) was cold so we ran the furnace every day.

As I stated before a 20 pound tank lasted about a month, but I quickly discovered that running a generator on propane will drain a tank in a day. My new camper is about double the volume to heat and the heater is probably larger, but the big difference is I will be using a gasoline generator.

From the responses I have gotten so far I assume even thought I will be heating a larger space with a larger heater the 30 pound tank should last as long as the 20 pound tank did in my old camper.

PS even with the slide pulled in there is still a lot of room and since I will be in bed at night there is no need to have the slide extended at night with will give me less area to heat.

I want to make it clear I am not worried about the few bucks it costs to refill the tank it finding a place to refill that can be difficult.

I once waited a 1/2 hour for someone at a truck stop to come out and fill my tank I eventually gave up and went elsewhere


Posted By: 1st 5er on 03/18/12 08:57am

Hi, I have a 35' and 2x 30# LP tanks. Each one last me approx 1.5 yrs. We go out 1 wknd a month on average. We generally do all stove top cooking inside and grill (separate LP) outside. Where we save LP is we almost never use furnace. We have a small elec space heater and since we mostly have at least water/elec we use their elec rather than our LP. When we dry camp we use the furnace if cold...


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Posted By: cpurves on 03/18/12 11:48am

One summer it was cold and we used 9 30# tanks in four months. Last summer was warmer and we only used 3 tanks in the same time. We also have a propane genset and use it about 1.5 hours a day average. Both years we were 60 to 65 nights camping.
Furnaces and Gensets use the most propane, water heater next, stove and oven and then the fridge uses the least amount of propane.
I still would not trade my propane genset. It is mounted in the unit uses a clean fuel and always starts in the spring with no worries about old gas.
Cheers
Chris


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Posted By: BlackSilver on 03/18/12 01:44pm

Used just for cooking our two 30# bottles last all summer. Moderate running the furnace during cool Arizona winter nights, a 30# bottle will last about a week. We're heating a large 5th wheel.


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Posted By: jerb on 03/18/12 03:51pm

i used to get well over a year out of a 16 gallon tank on my old motor home i sold, my fifth wheel will empty a #30 tank in two nights camping when outside temp is 20 degrees, as stated the furnaces really use the propane, especially when it below freezing out, i usually use an electric heater on mild nights when it gets too cool in camper!


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