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Old 11-29-2022, 07:33 PM   #1
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Propane tank

So I'm a fairly new rv owner. I bought a Salem FSX a few months ago. I'm staying in it pretty regularly and wondering how long the typical propane tank should last. I know that's kind of a loaded question but wondering because of winter coming and I'll most likely still be in it till Jan/Feb. Say I had the heater running 24/7. It's a single tank also.
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Old 11-29-2022, 07:49 PM   #2
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are you going to be connected to shore power?


use a electric heater instead ... lot less trouble than messing with propane
Mine came with one of them fancy fireplaces with fake flames.. and still haven't had to use it...
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Old 11-29-2022, 07:51 PM   #3
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Does it have a 2-way RV fridge(propane/electric)?
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Old 11-29-2022, 10:17 PM   #4
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Where are you located, what are expected temperatures? Use of furnace and possibly fridge will be your major propane consumer.
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Old 11-29-2022, 10:25 PM   #5
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Where are you located, what are expected temperatures? Use of furnace and possibly fridge will be your major propane consumer.
Fridge uses very little. Furnace is the biggest user followed by water heater if on gas. Cooking with LP would use a good bit but the vast majority of people don’t cook that much with their range.
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Old 11-29-2022, 10:27 PM   #6
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So I'm connected to power at all times. I'm not really worried about temps in say the 40s. It's when they get in the 30s and 20s. 2 weekends ago it got to 25 1 night. It was probably 30s when I 1st got to the rv and not sure how cold it was inside but the electric heater couldn't cut it so I got the propane heater turned on. From what I know only the water heater, the cook top and the heater use the propane. Oh and the flat top grill but I rarely use that.
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Old 11-30-2022, 06:22 AM   #7
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Propane tank

I forgot to mention that we always use electric option for the hot water heater.
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Old 11-30-2022, 08:12 AM   #8
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Fridge uses very little. Furnace is the biggest user followed by water heater if on gas. Cooking with LP would use a good bit but the vast majority of people don’t cook that much with their range.
X2 ! The outside temp, trailer size, and number & size of slides will dictate how quickly you deplete your LP reserve, if you only have a LP furnace as a source of heat.

Also, if Ambient temps are above about 40 deg, then if you have a heat pump on your A/C, you can use that for heat and conserve LP.
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Old 11-30-2022, 09:00 AM   #9
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I'd start by look for drafts / leaks especially around any slides
increase the insulation and seal off stuff as best you can




+ look for a better electric heater
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:02 AM   #10
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The amount of propane you use is entirely up to you.
I have friends that go through a 30lb tank in a few days as they turn up the thermostat to 78 and refuse to use an electric heater. I have other friends that use only electric heaters and never use the propane at full hookups.
We are in between. We live in our RV for 2 months (Dec/Jan) during pecan harvest. Full hookups. Average temp last year at 6am was 18°. At night we set the electric heater and propane onboard heater thermostats (around 55 to 60) so that the electric runs all the time and the propane comes on about once an hour when the electric can't keep up. The propane heater keeps the pipes in the under belly from freezing. We use the pump and fresh tank so we don't have to fiddle with a hose connected to city water.
We use from 1 to 2 30lb propane tanks in 2 months, and that is with a propane only water heater.
I have added extra insulation to problem pipes in RV (too far from heater ducts), and place insulated bags on the low point and drain valves that stick out beyond the bottom covering.
We also use an electric blanket on the bed
It is definitely a learning experience to find what works for you and your RV in freezing temps. Might want to have a few spare 20lb tanks on hand.
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:12 AM   #11
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I'm in Texas which the last couple years has gotten pretty cold in Jan/Feb compared to years past.

Thank you everyone for all the tips. Great info for a newbie. Water lines freezing was 1 of my other worries so I need to see what lines are exposed if any and get them insulated. I think I've seen a a couple sticking out the back and then the fresh water drain. Thanks again everyone.
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:16 AM   #12
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A Salem FSX is a fairly small travel trailer but as Scott (NMWildcat) indicates, LP (propane) usage is entirely up to you.

In your smaller R/V, an electric space heater should do really well at keeping things warm... but... you don't want pipes freezing so you need to run the furnace some. (for the reasons mentioned above)

You also have just a single 20 Lb. LP tank with no switchover to a second tank so you are going to need to have a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) tank handy in case you run out.

You could also think about plumbing in a larger LP tank (40 Lb.) next to your tongue. You may need to have a longer pigtail made but then you could run off the 40 Lb. tank and switch to the 20 Lb. tank while you go get the larger one filled. Then switch back to the 40 Lb. tank and you'd always have some reserve from the smaller tank until you finally deplete it.

To answer your question... that's tough to call for all the reasons mentioned but in close to freezing weather don't expect a single 20 Lb. tank to last more than a few days or maybe a week at very best.
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:30 AM   #13
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I full-time in the Augusta, GA area (similar weather to Dallas, TX - where my home is). I have the cheapest-made trailer out there (for the most part). It is a good trailer in the spring and fall - summers and winters need special attention.

Insulation: What insulation? R-7 in the roof and R-4 elsewhere... Underbelly is exposed.

Windows: Added radiant barrier to the windows from Home Depot. Cut-to-size and velcro'd to the windows. Definitely helps keep the cold out and the heat in. Good for summer, too.

Roof Vents/Skylights: Added the pre-made insulation for both my vent and my skylight. Again, keeps the cold out and the heat in. Good for summer, too.

Heating: I use only my 18k BTU furnace and keep it 55-60*F during the weekdays when I'm gone, about 67-72*F when I'm there. My furnace goes through a 20# propane tank in about 10 days during late Jan. to early Feb. when it is the coldest. No other appliances use propane. Since my stay is somewhat temporary I haven't had a large propane tank brought out, but I would suggest it. I did add a second LP tank with auto-crossover so when the one runs out it switches to the secondary tank (this gives me a few days to go and get a tank filled, instead of running to town right away).

Pipes: The water pipes were not insulated and hang freely under the trailer as the underbelly is not enclosed nor insulated. I added foam pipe insulation to the exposed water pipes (R-3 rating, very simple install, just slip on). I removed all access panels on the cabinets inside to open them up to allow heat to get to pipes.

Water Hose: I originally would fill the fresh water tank so I didn't have to deal with a potential frozen water hose. Then I decided for $135 I'm going to get a heated hose - haven't looked back.

Holding Tanks: Mine are not heated and I don't see the need if you keep them empty or keep them full. On the rare occasion temps stay below freezing for a day or two, I empty them, otherwise they don't have time to freeze if it's just freezing temps overnight. It takes a long time for 20+ gallons of water to freeze. Overnight freezes of tanks don't exist in our climate here.
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by rhayes1256 View Post
So I'm a fairly new rv owner. I bought a Salem FSX a few months ago. I'm staying in it pretty regularly and wondering how long the typical propane tank should last. I know that's kind of a loaded question but wondering because of winter coming and I'll most likely still be in it till Jan/Feb. Say I had the heater running 24/7. It's a single tank also.
If it’s cold, 2-3 days.
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:49 PM   #15
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Do what AussieGuy says: If on shore power, buy a heater to conserve your propane. Use the furnace as a supplemental heat source! If you buy an electric heater, the best ones seem to be the ones that look like an old time radiator. The ones filled with oil work the best! Get one on wheels... that way you can move it around to where you will be.
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Old 12-08-2022, 09:14 PM   #16
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With lows in the 20s and highs in the 40s a 20# tank will last 3 days max if making no modifications to retain heat and running the thermostat at 72 24/7
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Old 12-08-2022, 09:50 PM   #17
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I was boondocking in Colorado. Thirties at night with warm days. I set the thermostat in my Grey Wolf 22RR at 58 degrees at night and a tank lasted 3 or 4 days.
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Old 12-09-2022, 01:25 AM   #18
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I was boondocking in Colorado. Thirties at night with warm days. I set the thermostat in my Grey Wolf 22RR at 58 degrees at night and a tank lasted 3 or 4 days.
Rule of thumb 91,000 btu per gallon of propane
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Old 12-09-2022, 11:05 AM   #19
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This will take the guessibg out of it? It will work off bluetooth on your phone or get the one with the meter.
They have a single or double tank meter.
Get it on Amazon.Click image for larger version

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Old 12-09-2022, 01:04 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rhayes1256 View Post
So I'm a fairly new rv owner. I bought a Salem FSX a few months ago. I'm staying in it pretty regularly and wondering how long the typical propane tank should last. I know that's kind of a loaded question but wondering because of winter coming and I'll most likely still be in it till Jan/Feb. Say I had the heater running 24/7. It's a single tank also.
1 tank only? What size? 20lb? 30lb? 40lb? 100lb?

During colder nights/days a 30lbs tank lasts 2.5-4 days tops with gas heater with it on auto on/off and set to around 70 degrees.

Propane is WAY more efficient than electric and tends to be cheaper than paying for electric.

We live in our 5th wheel full time (wildcat 38mbx / 42' with 4 slides and 2 bedrooms) - this winter is our 2nd time through.

We have two 30lbs tanks and two 100lbs tanks. We have the two 100lbs as our main source and the two 30lbs as backups. The 100lbs on average lasts 8 days each. That's with heat at 69-70 during the day and max at 71 at night when we sleep.

Our propane cost is $2.45/gallon in upstate NY. Electric is spendy here like 19 cents a kilowatt this past month (Nov), for (Oct) it was 30 cents a kilowatt.
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