Calculating how much propane you’ll use in any season, including summer, can be a challenge.
That’s because there are so many variables involved! Some of your propane appliances, like your water heater, are working hard in the background, and because of that, you may wonder if your increased propane usage is because you have a propane leak.
If you suspect a propane leak, have your system tested immediately. And if you don’t have propane leak detectors installed, we highly recommend you do so. And you should also know propane safety best practices, including what to do if you smell the rotten-egg odor of propane gas.
Most of the time though, the cause of your increased propane bill isn’t a leak. You likely have underestimated how much propane you’ve been using. So we’ve put together a guide that can help you keep better track of your propane usage this summer.
You are probably not running all your propane appliances at 100% 24 hours a day. So we’ve created the example below to estimate propane usage for running them at 25% and 50% capacity for 2 to 6 hours per day.
The estimate for potential propane use can vary a great deal, between 1.2 and 7.2 gallons a day. If you have guests stay over for a few days, those extra loads of laundry and hot showers can have a bigger impact on your propane usage (and bill) than you realize. Here’s an example:
For a gas water heater, clothes dryer, and range run at 25% capacity for 2 hours a day:
220,000 BTU/hours (the total for all the appliances) ÷ 91,547 BTU/gallon of propane = 2.4 gallons per hour
2.4 gallons x .25 (25% capacity) = .6 gallons per hour
.6 gallons x 2 hours = 1.2 gallons
This number can then be used to calculate greater use of propane appliances:
If you have a propane pool heater (at 425,000 BTU/hour) that operates for one hour a day at 75% capacity, which adds about 3.5 gallons to your daily usage:
425,000 BTU/hour ÷ 91,547 = 4.64 gallons/hour
4.65 x .75 = 3.48 gallons
Pool heaters use a lot of propane. We recommend using a swimming pool cover to help retain as much of the pool’s heat as possible so your heater won’t have to run as much.
Another appliance that can mess up your calculations is a propane generator, since you don’t know when or if you’ll be using it in a power outage, or for how long. Keep track of any time your propane whole house generator is in use so you can prepare for any increases in your propane delivery bills.
Make sure you know the size of your propane tank when doing your estimates – it will help you have a good idea of just how much you have left.