How big does your propane tank need to be? We help you figure out what’s right for you.
“What size propane tank do I need?”
This question isn’t just for people embarking on their first propane tank installation. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been refilling your tank more (or less) frequently, you may be wondering the same thing. Fortunately, propane tanks can be upgraded or downgraded to a different size, or multiple tanks used for different purposes, so that your heating, cooling, and appliances are working optimally and cost-efficiently. We’ll break down the tank sizes used in most homes, explain factors that may influence your decision about propane tank size, and give you some options for finding the optimal tank (or tanks) for your needs.
Factors that influence the propane tank size you need
Whether you’re starting from scratch or shopping for an upgrade, you’re likely thinking about how quickly you go through a tank of propane. Your propane usage rate comes from a complex mix of these factors:
- Location and climate
It stands to reason: If you live in a region that experiences cold, harsh winters, you will probably use more propane than you would in a warmer climate. And although home insulation plays a significant role in heating efficiency, homes in colder climates typically use more propane on average, regardless of other factors, and this will affect propane tank sizing
- Number and efficiency of appliances
This factor is more nuanced, but the same basic logic applies: The more appliances you use (and the bigger the home you need to heat), the more propane you’ll require. However, using the most energy-efficient furnace and other appliances can noticeably offset the amount of propane you use over time.
- Home size and usage habits
This is the one most in your control: Keeping your thermostat set to an optimal 68 degrees in the winter and limiting your use of other appliances can reduce your propane usage (as well as your propane bill). Still, the size of your home is a major factor in deciding what size propane tank you’ll need.
What you need to know about propane tank sizes
This propane tank size table can help you determine which tank is right for you. Propane tank shapes vary, too, so the dimensions of propane tanks may indicate length (L), height (H), or diameter (D). Also remember, for your safety, propane tanks are filled to 80 percent of capacity to allow room for liquid propane to expand and shrink in the tank. So a 1,000-gallon propane tank holding 800 gallons of propane is considered “full”; a 500-gallon tank is adequately filled with 400 gallons of propane, etc. Keep this in mind when estimating how big your tank needs to be.
| Propane Tank Size
(# of gallons = capacity)
|1000 Gallon||16' 2" L x 41" D||
|500 Gallon||9' 11" L x 37.5" D||
| 9’11” x 30” D
7'10" L x 30" D
5’8” L x 24” D
These midsize propane tanks all work well for supplemental heating or for 1 to 3appliances that use propane, such as:
| 120 Gallon
(aka 420 lb propane tank)
|4'6" H x 30" D||
Vertical tanks are perfect for spaces with smaller footprints, ideal for:
|20 lb (aka grill tank)||18" H x 12” D||
Single freestanding appliances such as propane grills, generators, outdoor fireplaces, and patio heaters
So, what size propane tank do you need?
This table is a great starting point, but your needs are unique. Now, if you need to heat a five-bedroom home and run your entire kitchen, laundry, and hot water on propane, you might start considering the 1,000-gallon option first.
But what if you’re somewhere in the middle? Say your 500-gallon tank doesn’t seem like enough, but a bump up to 1,000 gallons feels like overkill. Adding a 120-gallon tank dedicated to one or two appliances might be the perfect solution. Ultimately, it’s best to consult an AmeriGas expert — and make sure your appliances and heating systems are running as efficiently as possible — before making a final decision about which propane tank size is the best match for you.
Here is some additional reading on the topic: