How long will a 30-pound propane tank last?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “How long will a 30-pound propane tank last?” We will talk about propane consumption in an RV and the appliances that consume the most. We will also discuss a few tips to save propane in an RV while camping and traveling. 

How long will a 30-pound propane tank last?

A 30-pound propane tank can last for up to 16 to 18 hours. This depends on the number of appliances that are used at the same time. A 30-pound propane tank has seven gallons of propane when full. Hence, it can easily run up to 16 hours or more. In some cases, it can last for a longer duration up to 20 or 21 hours.

Propane consumption depends on the type of appliances that are used in an RV. It also depends on how often you use certain appliances. It is also good to have propane in stock in case you run out of propane while camping or traveling. A 40-pound propane tank has 9.4 gallons and it can last longer than a 30-pound propane tank.

Propane consumption in an RV

Although propane consumption varies according to your motorhome, there is a common calculation when it comes to using propane. For example, each gallon of propane produces close to 92,000 BTUs. Hence, a 30-pound propane tank can produce close to 2,760,000 BTUs before it goes empty.

Some of the major appliances that consume propane are furnaces, stoves, ovens, water heaters, and refrigerators. Water heaters and refrigerators might have electrical options but the rest of the appliances use propane. Understanding the consumption of propane for each appliance will give you an idea of how much propane is required.

Water heater propane consumption

  • How water heaters consume plenty of propane, especially since they have a BTU rating of 30 to 50,000. On average, if the water heater consumes 40,000 BTUs, a 30-pound propane tank will last for 16 hours straight.

Refrigerator propane consumption

  • RV refrigerators mostly run on propane, especially when you are not connected to shore power. However, they consume less propane when compared to water heaters. A standard RV refrigerator consumes 2,000 BTUs and it can last up to 300 hours with a 30-pound propane tank if you run only the refrigerator.

Furnace propane consumption

  • A furnace consumes close to 30,000 BTUs and it can easily last up to 22 hours with a 30-pound propane tank. Hence, it is advised not to run the furnace at all times since the propane consumption can be high.

RV stove propane consumption

  • Most RV stoves have three to four burners and run on propane. Usually, these stoves consume close to 6,500 BTUs, which gives you 100 hours with a 30-pound propane tank.

RV oven propane consumption

  • RV ovens might not be used often but they do consume around 7,000 BTUs. A 30-pound propane tank can run up to 92 hours if you only use the RV oven. It is also advised not to use too many appliances that consume propane simultaneously.

Understanding the propane consumption of each appliance will give you an idea of how long propane lasts. Running a heater continuously will consume a lot of propane and you will be required to refill the tank every couple of days. The lifespan of propane depends on how you use it and how often you use it.

Tips to save propane in your RV

Propane is one of the most important sources for your RV and appliances. Without propane, camping is going to be a major hassle. There are a few ways to save propane in your RV and these simple tips will help you while camping for more than a couple of days. Here are a few tips to save propane in your RV.

Insulate the RV windows

  • The RV windows always bring in cold air from the outside. Keeping your RV warm on the inside will help you in many ways. If you have an insulated window, the chances of using the heater are pretty less.
  • You can easily insulate the RV windows by using some shrink plastic. Another option will be to install a Reflectix bubble.
  • Keeping your RV warm on the inside will help you reduce the usage of propane. However, only insulating the RV windows might not be enough.

Insulate an RV roof vent

  • The RV roof vent is a crucial spot since it can easily draw in the cold air from the outside and push it inside the RV. Insulating the roof vent along with the windows will help keep your RV warm.
  • Some RVs might have two or three vents and these vents are usually constructed with thing material. You can use some foam to insulate the RV roof vent and keep the cold air from coming inside.
  • You might need to get a customized RV roof vent insulation piece to match your vehicle. The more you prevent cold air from getting in, the more you can keep your RV warm and save propane.

Install a door cover

  • Just like the windows and the vent in an RV, it is highly important to install a door cover. RV doors might not be efficient in keeping the cold out, an added door cover will help in this situation. RV door covers are cheap and you can get a Reflexit door cover that attaches to the door.

Invest in an electric heater

  • Inventing an electric heater is another option to help you save on propane. An electric heater will have a good balance of heat helping you to save more propane by cutting short on the furnace. You can use the electric heater whenever you want to get some extra heat.

Get RV skirting

  • RV skirting is one of the best options as it provides good results while camping in cold areas. Skirting will close the opening under the RV and prevent the cold from getting in. When the entire RV is heated, there is no need to use excess propane.

Turn out the heat when not in use

  • While camping, you are not going to remain inside the RV at all times. Be sure to turn down the heat when you go outside. This will help you save more propane, especially during the day. Most people forget to do that and it consumes extra propane.

Protect the underbelly

  • The underbelly is the most crucial part of an RV. You will need to protect the underbelly to ensure that there is no cold air getting through. RV skirts will help in this situation, but an insulated underbelly is an ideal way to keep your RV warm during winter.

Refill the propane tanks

  • Many people exchange propane tanks when it becomes empty. Instead of exchanging them, another option would be to replace these propane tanks. 
  • The refilling cost for propane tanks is lesser than exchanging them. This will help you save more money and you can purchase more propane if necessary.

Those were a few tips on how to consume propane while camping and traveling in a motorhome. Be sure to turn off the appliances when you are driving. An RV refrigerator has enough insulation to keep cool, so it is advised to turn off the refrigerator while traveling. Limit the time on your showers since water heaters consume extra propane.

It is also advised to purchase a propane gauge. This will help you monitor the propane usage so you can keep track. Most RVs have a propane gauge but some do not. Investing in a propane gauge will help you plan your trips better and consume propane lesser. Avoid keeping all your appliances on while camping.


In this blog post, we have answered the question: “How long will a 30-pound propane tank last?” We have talked about propane consumption in an RV and the appliances that consume the most. We have also discussed a few tips to save propane in an RV while camping and traveling.


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