Propane Tank

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by chargerpower, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. Hello all,

    Haven't visited here in a while. It's great to be back and see this site as lively as ever.

    I am investing in a new grill (Weber S670) and, after much careful thought and 4 plumber bids (was considering having a natural gas line installed) have made the decision to stick with a liquid propane tank configuration. This is for various reasons, too detailed to list.

    So now my question is this.....the Wber S670 is a huge honkin grill (60,000 BTU capacity). I probably won't use all the burners each cookout (as we are only a family of 3), but I am wondering if anyone here can shed any light on how many uses I will get out of a normal 5-gallon propane tank? I know it depends on weather conditions and time of grilling, but let's say normal weather I'm out there for one-our grill sessions.

    Can I expect to get about 15-20 uses per tank?

    Thanks in advance for your consideration and educated replies.


    P.S. The grill does have a side burner for wood chips, so my post isn't all that inappropriate for this forum.....
  2. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The only accurate way to measure the propane left in a propane tank is to weigh it. Engraved on the side of the tank should be the letters TW then a number. This number is the empty tank weight. For example, the typical 5 gallon propane tank might say TW 17.2. The weight of the empty tank in the example is 17.2 lbs. Next, weigh the tank on a bathroom scale to find the total current weight. Let's say that the current weight of the tank is 24.2 lbs. To find the weight of propane simply subtract the tank weight from the total weight.
    24.2 lbs - 17.2 lbs = 7 lbs
    Each gallon of liquid propane weighs 4.23 lbs. Divide 7 by 4.23 to get the number of gallons currently in the tank.
    7 ÷ 4.23 ≈ 1.66 gallons of propane
    We can go a step further and find out how long 1.66 gallons of propane will take to burn. Each gallon of propane contains 91,690 BTUs. In the example above we were left with approximately 1.66 gallons of propane in the tank. Simply multiply the number of gallons by the number of BTUs contained in each.
    1.66 × 91,690 = 152,205.4 BTUs
    Next, find the BTU output of the appliance in question. These can usually be found on the manufactures website. Let's use 12,000 BTUs for our example. Divide the number of BTUs left in the tank by the number of BTUs that your appliance consumes per hour to get the total running time left for propane in the tank.
    152,205 ÷ 12,000 ≈ 12.68 hours of burn time
    I know this a bit long, but how many uses is hard to determine. It's easier to determine how much time you'll get out of your tank. I hope this can help you.
    sneeferson and eberleb like this.
  3. monty

    monty Master of the Pit Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Awesome post, Rich!

    You should make this a sticky...really!

  4. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Outstanding post! Great info and well formatted. Points to you.
  5. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great post richoso1; I think to answer the time question we should refer this to Walking Dude. He seems to be able to answer time questions best !!!
  6. azrocker

    azrocker Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I had a tank on my chargriller and probably got 40 cooks on it. But that was grilling. Fortunately I had a gas line installed for an out door fireplace and was able to tap into it. I converted to natural gas and will never go back! The conversion was easy (the line install was done by a plumber) I had to switch out the orifices and put new knobs on (they said natural gas on them) . I tapped the gas line and put on a regulator I ordered online. The plumber was great as he installed a couple of T's in various places and capped them for easy access. I love my natural gas grill.
  7. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    BBQ Eng.
  8. I am very grateful for your detailed response! Let me see if I nderstand this correctly. It does not appear that the tank you used in the example was newly refilled, as it only contained 1.66 galons of propane. I believe that a "newly refilled tank" has 5 gallons of propane, correct? So that would be about 450,000 BTUs, right? So my grill, which with ALL burners on is 60,000 BTU per hour (I believe it is an hourly measurement, right?) could be used for about a total of NINE one-hour grill sessions?????

    Is this math correct? I'm not talking exact precise, just ballpark. Let me know, thanks!!!
  9. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You're in the ballpark.
    Upon Monty's advise, I made this thread a sticky for easier access for all interested parties.
  10. graybeard

    graybeard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    You won't have ALL the burners on @ 1 time nor will they be turned up ALL the way. Normal grill times will be about 20 hours. Long smokes will eat up a tank in 2 or 3 uses.

  11. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Wow! Great post, Rich. This is very informative. Points!

Share This Page