Have you ever asked yourself or your friend how much does it cost to fill a propane tank for a house? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.
Propane is an affordable and convenient fuel source for a range of household applications. From smaller portable propane tanks used for BBQs and grills to larger propane setups that fuel an entire home.
No matter which size tank you own, there will come a time when you’ll need to refill your propane tank and the cost will vary on a number of factors.
So, how much does it cost to fill a propane tank for a house? The average cost for refilling smaller propane tanks for your house is around $4 per gallon. For larger static tanks that require refilling on-site, the cost can be as low as 40 cents per gallon (plus delivery and refilling fees). However, the cost per gallon will vary on the size of the canister that you are refilling.
Cost of refilling/exchanging propane tanks
Smaller portable tanks that are exchanged often cost more per gallon compared to larger static tanks that must be refilled at home.
- The average cost to exchange a 20 lb tank is $20-30
- The average cost to exchange a 100 lb (25 gallons) tank is $80-100
- Refilling a 100-gallon tank will cost on average $500
- Refilling a 1,000-gallon tank will cost on average $2,500
Another consideration is where you exchange your tank, as there are plenty of refilling stations with an equally varied price. Costco is often considered one of the cheapest places to exchange a 20 lb tank.
For larger propane tanks that require refilling onsite, many refilling companies will charge a delivery and refilling fee per gallon that is often factored into the ‘per gallon’ cost.
‘Auto refill’ services are convenient, however may be more expensive than opting to refill tanks in the spring when propane prices are typically at their lowest.
Do prices vary throughout the year?
Yes, like most commodities based on supply and demand, propane prices do fluctuate throughout the year.
Propane is usually cheaper in the warmer months and gradually becomes more expensive in the winter.
While springtime is usually the time most have long since turned off their heating, it is the perfect time to top up your propane gas supply for your home so you’re ready for next year.
Propane gas prices can be much cheaper in spring compared to peak winter prices.
One word of warning does not run out of gas! Emergency deliveries and refills are considerably more expensive and often will incur surcharges or hiked propane gas prices.
Many gas refilling companies will also do gas canister checks when a tank is completely empty too, and this will add additional charges to refilling your tank.
Propane tank sizes
Propane tanks come in a variety of sizes from smaller portable tanks you’ll be familiar with seeing next to a bbq or grill, to larger static tanks that require refilling on site.
Here’s a list of the most common tank sizes.
20 lb tank:
- 5 gallons of propane
- Exchanged at a refill station for a fresh tank (Costco,
Walmart, gas stations)
33 lb tank:
- 8 gallons of propane
- Exchanged at a refill station for a fresh tank
100 lb tank:
- 25 gallons when full
- At-home exchange service usually available (quite large and too heavy to be portable)
420 lb tank:
- 100 gallons of propane
- Not portable, refilled on-site
- 400 gallons at 80% capacity (standard fill)
- Static tank stored above ground or below ground and refilled on-site
- 800 gallons at 80% capacity (standard fill)
- Static tank stored above ground or below ground and refilled on-site
Propane gas uses in the home
Calculating how much gas you’re likely to use will depend on a few factors. First, house size is important, especially when using a furnace to heat your home.
The hot water system and how much hot water is required per household is also a consideration.
Climate should also be considered as a home that uses far more heating and hot water will consume a lot more propane annually.
Finally, appliances using propane (such as stoves, bbq’s or cooking appliances) should also be considered.
- A furnace uses approx. 1,000 gallons per year
- A hot water heater uses an average of 250 gallons per year
- A gas fireplace uses approx. 200 gallons annually
- Propane stoves use around 35 gallons annually
- A clothes dryer averages 20 gallons annually
Average household consumption
Before working out an average consumption for propane within the home, calculate your square footage and consumption of appliances.
Take into account that many appliances, furnaces, and hot water systems are more energy-efficient than others.
To calculate your (average) propane consumption annually, the following formula applies:
1 square foot = 2.26 gallons (per year)
- 1,000 sq. ft. homes use on average 441 gallons annually
- 1,500 sq. ft. homes use on average 666 gallons annually
- 2,000 sq. ft. homes use on average 888 gallons annually
- 3,000 square feet or larger homes, expect approx. 1300 gallons or more per year
How often to refill propane tanks
There is no one-size-fits-all answer and how often you’ll need to refill propane tanks all depends on the size of your household propane tank and how much gas your home and appliances consume.
On average, most people will fill a 500-gallon tank twice a year.
Larger static tanks will have a gauge that indicates how much gas is remaining, while for smaller portable canisters without a fuel gauge, it is easy to check the weight of a canister.
For portable gas canisters, a fuel gauge meter can be bought at most stores where you purchase, exchange or refill tanks and will provide you with a reasonably accurate indication of when it’s time to refill your propane gas tank.
Where to fill Propane tanks
In the US, there is plenty of designated propane refilling or exchange locations with most retailers displaying large cages with tanks that are ready to be exchanged on-site.
Some common retailers include the following;
- Home Depot
- Tractor Supply Plus
- Gas Stations (Mobile, Shell, Speedway, Circle K)
Propane gas prices fluctuate seasonally and it’s usually better to refill your propane supply in the spring. Depending on tank size, the price you pay per gallon will vary.
You can either exchange the tank or have your tank filled at home for a fee that’s usually priced into the per-gallon price.
One takeaway point is to never run out of gas, as emergency gas refills are often considerably more expensive.
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