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Old 08-03-2021, 09:47 AM   #1
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Does Your Propane Run Out Quickly?

Hello to All:

I have a dual-tank 20-lb Propane system with the usual fail-over regulator. I bought two new bottles before my first trip in April--just a weekend and I didn't get to use the trailer until a six-day trip traveling from Michigan to New Hampshire and back three weeks ago in July.

I had the Propane on the entire six days and everything worked perfectly.

Here it is now August 3rd and I drove from Michigan to Watkins Glen, NY yesterday, again with the Propane on as of Sunday for the refrigerator to work.

I checked the tanks this morning--one was completely empty, the other near enough to empty to where I changed both of them out again.

Sorry, this long-winded post is merely to ask the short question: is this normal to have to change Propane so soon with only about 10-12 days of usage? No leaks, no alarms, nothing unusual to indicate a problem anywhere.

Thanks, All and Happy Camping!
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Old 08-03-2021, 09:58 AM   #2
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What was running on propane? If just the refrigerator, then I’d say yes that is unusual. Refrigerator should be able to run on more than that amount of time of one tank.

Did you get the tanks from an exchange place? If so, those tanks are not filled completely. They usually only have 15-17 pounds in a 20 pound tank.
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:04 AM   #3
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Hi Phipps, I was only running the refrigerator and the water heater. Didn't run the furnace and did very minimal cooking using the two stove burners. I may have cooked breakfast one morning but nothing crazy. Hmm, I will have to check the system again from front to end to see if anything is amiss. I appreciate your reply.
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:06 AM   #4
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BTW, I typed "phipps33" but darn auto-correct *fixed* that!
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:11 AM   #5
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Well... several things...
1. Did the place that filled them initially purge them or just fill them. New tanks need purged. May not have been full?
2. Water heaters use more LP than a refrigerator so depending on use, maybe.
3. Cooking... how many burners were in use?
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:16 AM   #6
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Hi 5picker...I do keep the water heater "on" all the time. Perhaps I should turning off and only turn it on prior to when I know I'll be needing hot water. That is a good thought--thanks!

I just exchanged the empty tanks for refills at either Lowe's or Walmart. They are the Blue Rhino brand. Are there any truly reputable, dependable stores to count on getting full replacement tanks?

I only have a two-burner stove and do not really use it all that much.
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:19 AM   #7
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What size fridge do you have?
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PFLOYD75 View Post
Hi 5picker...I do keep the water heater "on" all the time. Perhaps I should turning off and only turn it on prior to when I know I'll be needing hot water. That is a good thought--thanks!

I just exchanged the empty tanks for refills at either Lowe's or Walmart. They are the Blue Rhino brand. Are there any truly reputable, dependable stores to count on getting full replacement tanks?

I only have a two-burner stove and do not really use it all that much.
No need to turn the water heater off between uses. You'll not save much doing that.

Exchange tanks are never really 'full'.
The OPD (overfill protection device) on newer tanks will only allow the tanks to fill to 80%. A 20 Lb. tank takes that into account and when full at 80%, holds 20 Lbs. of propane.

Unfortunately, the exchange tanks don't even get filled to that capacity. They only get filled to about 15 Lbs. That equates to HUGE $$ per gallon. (a 20 lb. LP tank holds approximately 4.6 gallons)

Places like Tractor Supply, U-Haul, local LP gas companies and tool rental places will FILL your tank and you'll pay way less per gallon and I bet you won't run out nearly as quick. It may not be quite as convenient as stopping at an exchange place but you'll get more for your buck.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:11 AM   #9
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@5picker hit it on the head. An exchange tank is never full. Find a local place that fills tanks and you’ll get a full tank. I only use an exchange if I have a tank that needs replaced.

I’ve found that a water heater uses more propane, but once heated tends to hold the heat pretty well with little burning of the burner unless using hot water. If you have a LP/AC water heater, even better.

I’m guessing you’re gonna find your issue was likely the “not completely” full tanks.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:25 AM   #10
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I could go month or more if just fridge on propane
Add water heater and it went quick.
I now just turn on the water heater when needed, it does stay hot a long time. And does not take long to heat it from cold
Get your tanks filled at a place. Dont get the pre filled tanks.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:45 AM   #11
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Unfortunately, the exchange tanks don't even get filled to that capacity. They only get filled to about 15 Lbs. That equates to HUGE $$ per gallon. (a 20 lb. LP tank holds approximately 4.6 gallons)

This is why I refuse to buy "Exchange Tanks".

That 15 lbs of propane is only 3.56 gallons so one only gets 78% of what they think they are. If propane is selling for $3/gallon at a "Fill Your Tank" location, you would be paying $3.85/gallon if they sold propane like the exchange tank locations do.

(Propane weights 4.2 lbs/gallon)
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:17 PM   #12
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I only do a tank exchange refill when my tanks are old and out of date. But to answer OP, that is highly unusual usage. I would be looking for a leak if it happens again with tanks you KNOW were full.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:22 PM   #13
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I only do a tank exchange refill when my tanks are old and out of date. But to answer OP, that is highly unusual usage. I would be looking for a leak if it happens again with tanks you KNOW were full.
Might consider doing it then but they don't have exchange tanks in my size, at least anywhere I've seen.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:29 PM   #14
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Might consider doing it then but they don't have exchange tanks in my size, at least anywhere I've seen.
Did you upsize tanks for your prolonged wilderness expeditions?? The nice thing about 20lb tanks is they are ubiquitous. I'd rather bring along an extra 20 lb tank!
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:52 PM   #15
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Leaving your hot water heater on all the time will use a lot of LP - especially in cooler climates.
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Old 08-03-2021, 02:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PFLOYD75 View Post
Hi 5picker...I do keep the water heater "on" all the time. Perhaps I should turning off and only turn it on prior to when I know I'll be needing hot water. That is a good thought--thanks!

I just exchanged the empty tanks for refills at either Lowe's or Walmart. They are the Blue Rhino brand. Are there any truly reputable, dependable stores to count on getting full replacement tanks?

I only have a two-burner stove and do not really use it all that much.
That's probably the problem. As was said, exchange tanks are the worst way to get propane.
I use a local RV dealership to get my tanks truly full.
There are many different places that fill propane tanks. You just have to look.
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Old 08-03-2021, 03:37 PM   #17
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My last trailer when the propane was turned off for a few days and I would turn it on to start the frig. I would have to fill the lines by turning on the stove burners on till propane arrived then start the frig. My new trailer the lines stay pressurized even when off for a couple weeks. There were no pilot lights on either. Try turning your tank off over night and see how long it takes to get propane to the cook top the next day. Our local minimart here sells propane for $1.99 a gallon and they fill it all the way.
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Old 08-03-2021, 03:49 PM   #18
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My last trailer when the propane was turned off for a few days and I would turn it on to start the frig. I would have to fill the lines by turning on the stove burners on till propane arrived then start the frig. My new trailer the lines stay pressurized even when off for a couple weeks. There were no pilot lights on either. Try turning your tank off over night and see how long it takes to get propane to the cook top the next day. Our local minimart here sells propane for $1.99 a gallon and they fill it all the way.
I would suspect that if you had to purge air from lines without disconnecting and simply turning valve off, you had a leak on your last trailer. That test would be a good indicator if gas was escaping.
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Old 08-03-2021, 05:33 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by dave961 View Post
Leaving your hot water heater on all the time will use a lot of LP - especially in cooler climates.

Not really if the water is already hot then it will not need to be heated. I Never heat Hot Water.
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:30 PM   #20
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You may have a leak.
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