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How Long Will A 20 lb. Firepit Propane Tank Last?

firepit gas tank manchester, vermont If you’re planning an evening relaxing by the firepit with someone special, or your favorite friends, or just the family, you don’t want the fire to fizzle out because you ran out of propane. So how long will a 20-pound propane tank last on your fire pit?

As with all things, the answer depends on a few variables—such as the Btus of your firepit. Of course, if you’re a math whiz, there’s a formula you can use, plugging in for X and calculating for…why? But you probably aren’t looking to do a lot of arithmetic.

The short answer is that the typical 50,000 Btu firepit will burn for about seven hours on a 20-pound cylinder.

For perspective, the same amount of propane will get you about 18 to 20 hours of grilling time.

No Gauge, No Problem

Even though most of the portable cylinders that you’d hook up to your firepit don’t have a gauge, there are easier ways to make sure you don’t run out than pulling out a stopwatch every time you light the fire.

Here’s three ways to make sure you never run out.

  1. Water Trick: Fill a small bucket with hot tap water and pour it down the side of the cylinder. Then run your hand down the side of the tank and find the point where it turns cool. That’s the level of the gas. (The liquid propane inside the tank absorbs heat from the water, which makes the metal wall of the tank cool to the touch.)
  2. Weight Check: A 20-pound tank usually weighs about 17 pounds when empty (the “tare weight”). To calculate how much propane is in the tank, place the cylinder on a scale (a basic bathroom scale will work) and subtract the tare weight from the amount shown on the scale. So, if your 20-pound cylinder weighs 27 pounds, you have 10 pounds of propane or about half a tank. Or, pick up a digital propane tank scale at your local hardware store. Most come with a digital app to let you know when it’s time for a fill-up. Have a different size tank? Check the cylinder for markings that let you know the “tare weight” or TW.
  3. Add a Gauge: You can buy a gauge to install between the gas line from the grill and the cut-off valve on the tank. It will measure the pressure and show you how full the tank is.
  4. Keep a Spare: The easiest way to make sure you always have enough propane on hand to fire up the grill is to keep an extra tank on hand.

Create a Backyard Oasis

Want to take the early-spring chill off for guests on your patio or to enjoy dinner outside? Try a high-efficiency propane patio heater. They come in many shapes, sizes and styles to match any outdoor décor.

To make the most of spring and fall weather—and your outdoor spaces—contact the pros at Dorr Oil today.