How Long Does a 500-gal. Propane Tank Last? All Nuances Explained.

Rodney Nestor
Rodney Nestor
Research Writer
Rodney holds a Master’s degree in Arts and apart from working as a freelance writer, is a rather successful author of science fiction stories published in several literary read more
Last updated: August 24, 2023
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A 500-gallon propane tank is the standard size used by most homeowners. Its longevity depends on home usage variables such as the amount of cooking, drying, and heating. Comprehending how long a 500-gallon propane tank lasts aids in coming up with precise usage statistics within your home.

Different home sizes also directly affect how long a 500-gallon tank can last. Therefore, to deter an abrupt running out of propane, we’ve scrutinized everything you need to know about a 500-gallon propane tank in the article.

How Long Will 500 Gallons of Propane Last

It is usually challenging to predict the exact lifespan for a 500-gallon propane tank. However, most 500-gallon tanks can last for a couple of months depending on the time of year and usage. Ideally, any homeowner should be ready to refill the 500-gallon tank at least twice during the winter.

A 500-gallon tank is usually filled with 80% propane as per the safety rule. That means a 500-gallon tank holds a maximum of 400 gallons of propane. Filling the 500-gallon propane tank to the brim could create pressure on the outer section, which is dangerous. On the positive side, propane gas has no expiration date, unlike other fuels. Propane doesn’t go rancid or lose potency after time; thus, you can use it for as long as it is available in your tank.

Despite the existing variables in various homes, you can use some elements to calculate propane usage. We can estimate the lifetime of 500 gallons of propane by interrelating it with household footage ranging from 500 square feet to 4,000 square feet.

How Long Will a 500 lb. Propane Tank Last for Heating a House?

How Long Does a 500-gal. Propane Tank Last? All Nuances Explained.

During cold seasons propane consumption is nearly doubled because most households use propane to heat their houses during the winter. Residential houses are designed in varying sizes and integrate a varying number of people and in-use appliances. Thus, 500-gallon propane tank longevity will differ in given houses.

Various home appliances are likely to consume extra propane during the colder months. A roughly 2,300-square-foot US household consumes about 700-750 gallons of propane during the winter. That translates to 2 full refills of 500-gallon propane per winter season.

Factors affecting a propane tank lifespan

Depending on the below factors, a 500-gallon propane cylinder can last for 1 month and 23 days to about 14 months and 4 days. Some of these factors include:

Size of the house: Bigger houses require more propane to heat up. The consumption of 500-gallon propane will run out faster than in smaller houses.

Location and heating needs: Homes in the northern US require higher BTU heating output than households in the southern region. Residents in Chicago will require more 500-gallon propane than residents in Texas.

Extreme weather conditions: Harsh winter conditions require more propane than mild winter conditions. A standard winter condition requires approximately 750 gallons of propane, whereas harsh conditions may need over 830 gallons.

The energy efficiency of the appliances: Propane-powered appliances directly impact propane consumption. Propane furnaces with over 90 AFUE ratings will consume less propane compared to a propane furnace with a 70 AFUE rating. The higher the rating means that a 500-gallon propane tank will last longer. More so, the number of appliances relying on propane can lower the 500-gallon propane longevity. For instance, the 90 AFUE appliances can prolong the life of a 500-gallon propane tank by 25%.

How Long Do 500-Gallon Propane Tanks Last For Different Home Sizes?

Home sizes integrate varying usage statistics per a 500-gallon propane tank. Propane fuels furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters, and kitchen cooktops.

The amount of gallons consumed per square foot amounts to; 750 gallons x 1sq ft. divided by 2200 sq. ft. = 0.34 gallons. The number of gallons isn’t 100% correct; however, it gives a rough estimate. From the rough estimates, we can deduce approximate propane consumption for different home sizes, as shown below;

If on average, a1 sq. ft. requires 0.34 gallons, what about 500 sq. ft. 500 x 0.34 = 170 gallons.

Home size in square footage Propane consumption in gallons
500 sq. ft. 170 gallons
1000 sq. ft. 340 gallons
1500 sq. ft. 510 gallons
2000 sq. ft. 680 gallons
2500 sq. ft. 850 gallons
3000 sq. ft. 1020 gallons
35000 sq. ft. 1190 gallons
4000 sq. ft. 1360 gallons

We can calculate how long 500-gallon propane will last for different house sizes based on the average estimations. For instance, if 500 sq. ft. requires 170 gallons of propane in 6 months of winter, then a 500-gallon tank containing 400 gallons of propane will last for 14 months and 1 day in the 500 sq. ft. home.

170 gallons=6 months. What about 400 gallons?

400 gallons x 6 months divide by 170 gallons = 14.117 months

Using the above principle, here is a table showing 500-gallon tank longevity per different square footage;

Home size in square footage Longevity of 500-gallon propane cylinder
500 sq. ft. 14 months and 1 day
1000 sq. ft. 7 months and 2 days
1500 sq. ft. 4 months and 6 days
2000 sq. ft. 3 months and 25 days
2500 sq. ft. 2 months 25 days
3000 sq. ft. 2  months and 4 days
35000 sq. ft. 2  months and 1 day
4000 sq. ft. 1 month and 7 days

Common Propane-Powered Appliances and Their Propane Consumption


Furnaces are known to consume a large amount of propane. Thus, consider limiting furnace usage if you want to cut down propane usage.


Fireplaces can contribute to consuming one gallon of propane every three hours.

Water heaters

They consume less amount of propane compared to furnaces and fireplaces. Water heaters consume one and a half-gallon of propane per 24 hours.

Kitchen cooktops

Propane cooktops consume a gallon of propane every week.

Propane-powered appliance Monthly propane usage (in gallons)
Propane furnace 80
Propane fireplace 16
Hot water heater 20
Propane cooktop/ stove 3

When to Schedule a Refill

The refilling frequency is determined by the speed of propane consumption in the house. Abrupt exhaustion of propane could lead to poor functionality of appliances. Before the abrupt exhaustion of propane from your tank, you should track the fuel levels in the 500-gallon propane tank.

Inspect the built-in gauge and upon noticing low levels (below 30%), get in touch with your propane to provide a refill. Propane tanks exhibiting below 5% require tests for possible leaks, thus incurring additional costs.

When propane tanks run dry, yet are still connected to appliances, they are prone to becoming dry and cracking. Thus, it’s recommended to refill the cylinder at the right time. Consider a refill when the level ranges 25% to 50%.

Alternatively, you can seek monitoring help from propane monitoring services to alert you when the levels run low. As much as propane gas can get you through months of winter, don’t forget the lifespan of your propane tank. Some of the factors impacting on tank’s lifespan include;

  • The position where the tank is placed; either above the ground or underground
  • Prevailing climatic conditions in the area. Extreme temperature and storms increase wear and tear.
  • Propane tank maintenance. Regular maintenance prolongs the longevity of the tank.

If one gallon of propane costs $1.50 to $2, refilling a 500-gallon propane tank can cost you about $600 and $800 on average. A household with approximately 2,500 square feet consumes almost 100 gallons per 30 to 40 days. Thus with 3 to 5 refills per year, it will cost $1800 to $3000 annually.

How Long Does a 500-gal. Propane Tank Last? All Nuances Explained.


As most residential homes use a 500-gallon propane tank, it is critical to understand how long does a 500-gallon propane tank last? 500-gallon propane can take you through several months, depending on usage statistics and the prevailing climatic conditions. We hope you found the article helpful!

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