How Much Propane Does A Generator Use Per Hour

How Much Propane Does A Generator Use Per Hour

Hey! If you are reading this article, then we know you have a question in your head: How much propane does a generator use?

A portable propane tank of 20 pounds can be used to power your generator, or you can connect your generator to a large in-situ tank set up on your property to meet your needs.

The fact remains the same that fuel is extremely difficult to obtain in an emergency or if there is a crisis. This situation calls for you to use a propane calculator so you can get the following two answers:

  • how much propane does a generator use per day?
  • how much propane does a generator use per hour?

Because this will help you determine how much propane you'll need to store.

The amount of fuel your generator uses will depend on:

  • The generator's running time.
  • The load on the generator from connected appliances.
  • Generator model; old, new, and fuel-efficient.

All Solution To Know How Much Propane Does A Generator Use Per Hour (Easy)

Here is a simple calculation

Here is a simple method that you can use to determine how much power your generator will need or you can call it a propane use calculator.

  1. The first thing to consider is the amount of propane your generator consumes per hour.
  2. Multiply this number by the number of hours you plan on running the generator.
  3. Add a few hours just in case something goes wrong.

Total propane = propane use per hour x plans hour + extra added hours

Calculating how much propane a generator consumes per hour

You need to figure out how much propane your generator uses per hour by considering some numbers.

First, let's first make some assumptions about a generator's efficiency for our calculations.

In general, a 2-horsepower generator produces roughly 1000 watts of electricity.

It takes 10,000 BTU of fuel per hour to produce one horsepower of mechanical energy.

Approximately 92,000 BTU of fuel is contained in each gallon of propane.

A gallon of propane weighs 4.2 pounds.

Here are the three steps below you need to follow:

Step 1

First, we need to figure out how much horsepower we are using

Horsepower = (watts / 1000) x 2

As an example, if you had a 3000-watt baseload, you would require 6 horsepower.

Step 2

The next step is to understand how that relates to BTU.

BTU = horsepower x 10,000

According to the example, a 3000-watt load would consume 60,000 BTU of energy an hour.

Step 3

The last thing you need to do is calculate how much propane it equates to.

Gallons of propane = BTU / 92000

As a result (60000 / 92,000), or 0.65 gallons of propane, will be consumed by a generator with a 3000-watt load for one hour.

Also Read, Best Smallest generator With Electric Start

Now Combine all together

In order to create one equation, we can combine these calculations:

Using propane per hour (gallons) = (watts/3000) * 0.65

The weight of 0.65 gallons of propane is approximately 2.73 pounds. 

Therefore, a 20-pound propane tank has a capacity of 20/2.73 x 0.65 = 4.76 gallons. Around 7 hours of runtime would be possible on your generator.

Please remember that the calculations below are approximate and do not take into account the variability in each individual generator's efficiency. You can use it as a starting point, however, to determine what your generator will use in propane. Keep some extra fuel on hand to avoid running out of fuel.

Cylinders vs Tanks

The majority of portable generators make use of a 20-pound propane cylinder with a holding capacity of 4.7 gallons.

According to the calculation above, one cylinder will probably not supply enough electricity for your house to function for even one day unless you're very conservative regarding the use of electricity.

Multiple cylinders or a propane tank installed in your home is required if you want your propane generator to run continuously for multiple days. So, you need to think before using it regularly.

You still have to shut down your generator for regular maintenance, even if you use a portable cylinder system to connect to the large tank. Keeping your generator from running 24 hours a day will also extend its life. you can give it rest according to your using schedule.

Adding realism to the calculations

There's a possibility that the generator doesn't deliver constant power. If you use the stove, microwave, and laundry machine at the same time, you would have a lower load than if you used the refrigerator, freezer, and sump pump at the same time.

There are limitations to generators, and we know it is not practical to run all appliances simultaneously.

This might be an option for you, but you'll be more accurate if you calculate the amount of propane you'll need for baseload and peak hours separately, then add the two quantities, as it will be helpful if you calculate all the running appliances carefully.

You can calculate total propane as follows:

Total propane = (propane use per hour base load x hours) + (propane use per hour peak load x hours) + Adding extra

Examples of calculations

Our top pick for propane generators, Champion Power Equipment 100165, illustrates how this calculation works when planning to generate enough energy to last for a three-day power outage.

1- Base Load

For instance, the following appliances are plugged in: frig/freezer (700 watts), deep freezer (500 watts), computer and monitor (800 watts), surveillance camera (500 watts), and a sump pump (800 watts). Three days of 14-hour operation will be completed with a base load of 3300W.

We found that 0.72 gallons of propane per hour are needed for 3300 output according to our calculator.

A total of 30.24 gallons of propane can be calculated by multiplying 0.72 x (14 x 3)

2- Peak Load

In addition to powering lights in the house (6 x 60 watts), an electric stove (2100 watts), and a television (500 watts) during the 14-hour "baseload" period. we will run the washing machine for two hours (1150 watts) during the power outage, as well as the electric water heater for an hour (4000 watts) during the daytime.

We will get three peak loads:

Based on evening peak load = base load + 2960 watts = 3300 watts + 2960 watts = 6260 watts

Amount of extra energy consumption (over base load) = 2960 /3300 * 0.72 = 0.64 gallons per hour

Washing machine load = base load + 1150 watts = 3300 + 1150 = 4450 watts

Fuel consumption (over base load) = 1150 /3300 * 0.72 = 0.25 gallons/hour

Water heater load = base load – computer + 4000 watts = 3300 – 800 + 4000 = 6500 watts

Additional fuel consumption (over base load) = 3200 /3300 * 0.72 = 0.70 gallons per hour

We assume that the computer is turned off when the heater is on to keep it from exceeding the generator's maximum continuous load.

In order to calculate the total amount of propane needed for these peak periods over three days, the following calculations are used:

Evening peak load: 0.64 x (3 x 3) = 5.76 gallons propane

Load from washing machine: 0.25 x (2 x 1) = 0.5 gallons propane

Load from water heater: 0.70 x (1 x 1) = 0.7 gallons propane

Propane requirements total

Adding the figures together with a contingency will help you figure out your total propane requirements. Based on this current situation, a half-day (7 hours) baseload has been added. The additional power draw allows us to start our appliances and use any small additional items.

In order to calculate total propane requirements, you need to add baseload, evening peak load, washing machine load, water heater load, and contingency.

Total propane required = base load + evening peak load + washing machine load + water heater load + contingency (A bit extra)

Total propane required = 30.24 + 5.76 + 0.5 + 0.7 + 5.04 = 42.24 gallons

Frequently asked questions

Do propane generators use a lot of propane?

The average
propane consumption for generators is between 2 and 3 pounds per hour. An average 20-pound (4.6 pounds) tank can run a generator for one to two hours at a moderate load.

Is it cheaper to run a generator on propane or gas?

Generators powered by propane are usually less expensive than generators powered by natural gas. The cost of fuel is normally cheaper for natural gas units, but some might prefer the lower initial price of the unit.

How long will a generator run on a 40 lb propane tank?

The average bottle of propane contains about 5 gallons. Approximately 40 lbs. At a 50% load, the generator will operate for about 20 hours with 10 gallons of propane.

What happens if  generator runs out of propane?

Your generator's coils may lose their magnetism if it runs out of gas. When the load is abruptly terminated, the appliances drain the residual magnetism from the generator. If the coils in your generator don't contain a small amount of magnetism, it will not restart.

Wrap Up

The calculations are still worthwhile even if your home cannot store enough propane. If you participate in the exercise, you will have a realistic idea of how much fuel will be necessary in an emergency and whether you'll need to compromise on your generator use in order to extend your fuel supply.

If you are interested in buying a generator, be sure to look at our post of the best propane generators and our generator, and here's hoping you enjoyed our post on how much propane does a generator use per hour.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

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