How Long Does Propane Last?

Written on: March 25, 2024

The Question Should Be How Much Do You Need

propane Menasha, WI If you’ve ever left a car sitting with a tank full of gas for an extended period of time, you may have learned the hard way that, after about six months, its chemical properties change and it won’t burn properly. Diesel only lasts a little longer. Because of their vegetable-based composition, ethanol and bio-based fuels will degrade and evaporate after only a few months. Heating oil can be stored for about 18 months—but unless your tank is full, condensation inside the tank will lead to sludge that will damage your equipment.

Propane, on the other hand, never “goes bad.” That’s why propane is such a smart choice for all kinds of appliances and equipment in your home, like water heaters, home heating systems and laundry machines, which you use regularly, but also for those you use sporadically, like space heaters and fireplaces. Propane is particularly smart for whole-house generators. Hopefully, you don’t need to use it often, but you will have peace of mind knowing that the fuel will work when you need it.

Since propane has no shelf life, you might think having a big supply on hand makes sense. And it might, if you have the space to store it. But a huge tank is not pretty—and putting a huge tank underground is expensive and requires a certain amount of space.

The better solution is finding the sweet spot: the right size tank for your home and your needs so you need a delivery every two or three months. That’s where the team at Dale Gas can help.

How Are You Using Propane?

If you use propane to power an appliance or two, a 500-gallon tank could last as much as 14 months. If you use propane to heat your home, your water and run multiple appliances, you’ll probably need a fill-up every six to eight weeks. That’s based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which finds the average American home uses about 750 gallons each winter.

Of course, different appliances burn propane at different rates, and the age of your heating equipment and appliances will also affect efficiency.

Some appliances use a lot of propane—pool heaters, for example. On the other hand, a propane range only uses about 35 gallons a year. If that’s your only propane appliance, a 500-gallon tank will last 11 years. A propane fireplace uses about 200 gallons a year.

A traditional water heater burns about 1.5 gallons of propane a day, or about 200-300 gallons per year. Since they heat on demand, a tankless water heater will use less: between a half a gallon and two gallons per running hour.

How Big Is You Home?

The size of your home will have a big effect on how much propane required to heat it. A 500-gallon tank is the minimum size you’d need if you plan to heat your 2,000-square-foot home with propane. As your square footage moves toward 3,500-4,000 square feet, you might want a bigger tank.

Another factor is the size of your household: one or two people will use less hot water, run fewer loads of laundry and so on than a family of five.

Propane for Power Outages

One of the many benefits of running your home with propane is that you can also use propane to power a whole house generator. When storms bring down power lines, a stand-by generator goes on automatically, and can run key equipment or everything in your home. And the average 5000-watt stand-by generator will run for 7 to 10 days on a 500-gallon propane tank.

The Bottom Line

At Dale Gas, our pros can help assess your needs and make sure you get a tank that makes sense for your northeast Wisconsin home. We can also set you up with convenient automatic delivery service, so you don’t have to think about scheduling a delivery at all.

Contact us for more information and to become a customer today.