8 Culprits Why Your Home Propane Tank Runs Out So Fast

Why is My Home Propane Tank Running Out So Fast

Have you noticed you’re running out of gas than usual? There are possible causes why you run out of propane faster as expected. Here are some of the culprits:

(1) There is a leak on the hose or somewhere in the connection

A gas leak is the most common reason why your tank runs out of gas faster than expected. Minute leak, when remained undetected, can have disastrous consequences on your usage. Not to mention tank leak is dangerous and this is the last thing you want to happen in your home. If you smell rotten eggs or some sort of gas in an area in your house, immediately evacuate and leave the premises, this is a very dangerous situation to be in.

Signs of Gas Leak:

Do you smell rotten eggs? Propane is an odorless gas, but for safety reasons, manufacturers added a chemical called ethyl mercaptan so when a leak or spill happens the presence of propane can easily be detectable. Inside the house, being confined and constricted, propane leak is easily determined because of the foul smell of rotten egg.

Do you hear a tiny hissing sound near the hose or pipe connection of the tank? If so, then, a tiny leak is somewhere in the connection. This is something you have to worry about because propane can easily accumulate and with just a small spark, an explosion could happen. To confirm and determine the exact location of the leak, do a simple soap test (apply soapy water on the entire connection).

If your tank is large and permanently installed, immediately call the dealer and report the problem, a technician will come to inspect the tank.

(2) You installed an appliance with high BTU usage.

If you installed an appliance with a high BTU rating, this is probably one of the reasons why you propane usage goes to the roof. The next time you buy a new propane-powered appliance, take note of its BTU usage. Remember, 1 gallon of propane is equal to 91,452 BTU, this conversion is important so that you have an estimate of how much propane the appliance you’re planning to buy takes up.

Here are some of the home appliances that have high BTU usage:

Pool heater350,000-425,000 BTU/hr.
Water heater (with 50-gallon capacity)25,000-36,000 BT/hr.
Fireplace60,000-90,000 BTU/hr.
Gas stove/range12,000–18,000 BTU/hr.
Clothes dryer10,000-22,000 BTU/hr.
Outdoor fire pit40,000-150,000 BTU/hr.
Generator45,000- 54,000 BTU/hr.

(3) Weather has a direct effect on how much propane you’re using

If cold winter is approaching and the weather is becoming cold day after day, probably one of your family member is using the heating system to keep the home in a comfortable temperature. In addition, during winter months, frequent use of water heater results in increased consumption of gas.

(4) Outdated Appliance can eat up your gas

If you have a 20 year-old furnace or a boiler to warm your home, its gas consumption tends to be not as efficient compared to modern system thus resulting to your tank running out of gas fast. Old system does consume a lot of gas, this might be the right time to get an update to save some gas.

(5) You haven’t clean or maintain your home appliance

Your propane tank is only one part of the overall health of your gas system. The appliance must also receive some good touch in terms of maintenance. It’s time to give your heaters and fireplaces the care and maintenance they require because they have been operating nonstop for the past few months.
While some of those items might need to be turned off once in a while, others, like your grill and fire pit, need to be prepared for the season to come and thus require some cleaning. Keeping your appliances clean will enable them to run efficiently resulting to lower propane consumption.

Use of propane to run appliance does require some obligation in your part as a homeowner. Be sure to do periodic maintenance of the appliances and the overall system as well.

(6) You have a faulty gauge

If the reading in your old and obsolete gauge is inaccurate, this is probably the reason why you notice the tank is halfway empty but in reality the tank still contains a considerable amount of gas.

If the gauge isn’t working or its needle is somewhat stuck, get a small magnet and place it on top and move it back and forth until the needle moves. If the needle doesn’t move, it is the time to replace your defective gauge. Have the gauge be replaced by a professional technician for safety reasons?

(7) You have a bad regulator

If you’re using a 20-lb or a 33-lb propane tank to power a stove or range, and if its regulator is in good working condition, you will notice a strong blue flame. But if its regulator is bad, a lazy yellow flame is what you’re going to notice instead of the bright blue.

Other signs that the regulator is bad are burners are noisy and the flame coming out is tall. This is a sign the regulator doesn’t do its job – high pressure is coming out. This makes your home propane tank run out of gas so fast.

(8) You have a furnace that has a defective thermostat

If your furnace system is old and outdated, its thermostat may be defective as it no longer regulates indoor temperature as it should. If your home is not getting the correct temperature when the furnace is in operation, its filter may be clogged or its vents are blocked.

Any problem in the thermostat will result in less efficiency and running out of gas in the tank as expected. To check, contact a qualified furnace technician and resolve the issue at the soonest possible time.

How to Save Up on Propane Gas to Cut Costs

To save some gas, you just do the opposite of what you’re doing right now (what is mentioned above). Here are some of the ways you can do to cut costs:

  • Contact a professional to fix the gas leak – contact the company you’re ordering your propane from. They would dispatch their technician at the soonest possible time because they know this issue is an emergency.

  • Do a regular inspection of the heating system is necessary – this requires hiring a professional technician again. Yes, you may have to spend some amount but at the end of the day, your heating system will run smoothly and save you gas significantly.

  • Opt for a digital thermostat – modern thermostat models allow you to save up to 10-15% of your gas bill monthly.

  • Choose a low BTU appliance – when you’re buying a new appliance to be added to your home, choose the one with low BTU consumption. If you’re shopping, inquire which appliance has high efficiency.

  • Use pool heater less often – pool heaters are one of the biggest eater of gas as it has the highest BTU consumption of all home appliances. If you could reduce pool use, you can save gas considerably.

  • Do regular maintenance on your water heater – do you have a relative old heater in your home? I bet you, it is full of sediments and dirt right now. Regular cleaning of the water heater prevents sediments from accumulating thus heating is more efficient.

  • Replace regulators and gauge if they’re a few years old – don’t wait until they become defective. Replace gauges and regulators when they’ve been installed for more than five years.

  • Turn down the heat or air conditioning when you’re not at home – This is common for homeowners to leave AC on even when not at home. Refrain from doing so.

Depending on the particular circumstances, one or more of these may apply to your home.

How can you tell when a propane tank is empty?

If you use a propane tank to heat your home or cook your meals, it’s important to know how to tell when the tank is empty. If you run out of propane, you’ll be left in the cold (literally!) or hungry. Here are a few ways to tell when your propane tank is empty:

-The flame on your propane stove will be very low or will go out entirely

-Your propane-powered appliance will stop working

-You’ll hear a hissing noise coming from the tank

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to refill your propane tank.

Checking the level of propane in a tank

There are a few ways to tell when a propane tank is empty. One way is to simply check the level of propane in the tank reading its gauge. If the gauge reads empty, then the tank is most likely empty. Another way to tell if a propane tank is empty is by listening for a hissing sound coming from the tank.

This sound is caused by the pressure inside the tank equalizing with the atmospheric pressure outside, and is an indication that the tank is empty. Finally, if the burner on a propane-powered appliance is not producing a flame, this is another sign that the propane tank is likely empty.

How to read the gauge of small tanks

The most accurate way to tell if a propane tank is empty is to weigh it. This can be done by using a weighing scale or by using the weight chart that is typically located on the side of the tank. The weight chart will list the empty weight of the tank and the full weight of the tank. By subtracting the two weights, you can determine how much propane is in the tank.

When a propane tank is empty, there are a few ways to tell. One way is to check the gauge on the tank. If the needle is on the “E” then the tank is empty. Another way to tell is by the weight of the tank. A full propane tank is just 80% percent full. Let’s say you have a 100-gallon capacity tank, when full the tank has only 80 gallons of liquid in it. This allows propane to expand inside the tank. This is standard in the industry, they called it the 80/20 rule.

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