Posted by: Mark Polk | 2014

RV DIY Q&A – RV LP Gas Tips & Tricks

LP Gas CylindersQuestion: We plan to camp in our RV for  several days at a time, in remote areas, is there any way to calculate how much LP gas we will use?

Mark’s Answer: There is a way to roughly calculate LP gas usage, but you need to know how much LP gas you have on-board when the LP gas cylinders or tank is full. Remember a propane cylinder or tank is full at 80% of its capacity to allow for expansion.

The first step is to multiply your LP gas container capacity using one of these formulas, (gallons or pounds), to determine the container BTU capacity.
• BTUs per gallon = 91,502
• BTUs per pound = 21,548

Next, divide your container BTU capacity by the total BTU demand of the appliances you are using. BTU appliance demand can usually be found on the appliance itself, or in the appliance owner’s manual. This will give you an idea of how long you can expect your LP gas supply to last.

For example, if your RV propane container holds 14 gallons of LP gas when it’s full, multiply 14 X 91,502. The result is 1,281,028. Now divide this number by the total BTU demand of any appliances you will be using. Let’s say, for the sake of an example, the total demand will be 43,800 BTU s.  In this case you would have approximately 29 hours of use.

However, keep in mind that the amount of LP gas in the container and varying temperatures affect these calculations. This is especially true in cold weather. In temperatures below zero degrees the per hour container BTU capacity can be reduced by 50% or more.

Calculating LP gas usage can give you a general idea of how long you can use your LP gas fired appliances before needing to locate a propane filling station.

Happy RV Learning,

Mark Polk

RV training DVDs and products available at: RV Education 101®

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