How Long Does A Propane Tank Last On A Patio Heater?

Propane is a popular fuel used in home heating and lighting. It’s comprised of three main components: propane gas, liquid, and vapor. The tank on your patio heater can last up to eight hours depending on the model you choose.

The “how long does a 20lb propane tank last on a patio heater” is not an easy question to answer. There are many factors that go into how long the tank will last. The most important factor is the type of fuel that you use.

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Hanging out on a deck, patio, or in the garden with your friends and loved ones is the best way to spend time with them. Many people use propane-fueled heaters on their patios to lengthen the time they can spend outside.

By transferring the inside atmosphere to your outdoor living areas, these heaters give immediate warmth and ambience in your house.

It’s feasible to spend extended hours on your patio with a propane-fueled heater, especially during the cooler months of the year. If you’re considering buying a patio heater, you probably have one question on your mind: how long does a propane tank last on a patio heater? Here’s everything you need to know:


Contents Table of Contents

  • Propane gas heaters provide heat in a variety of ways.
  • Taking a Look at the Numbers
  • What is the minimum amount of heat required to keep your patio warm?
  • How to Maximize the Use of Your Propane Tank
  • Running Propane Tanks at a Lower Temperature
  • When Using Propane Patio Heaters, There Are Some Safety Concerns
  • Final Thoughts


Propane gas heaters provide heat in a variety of ways.

Heat generation is usually quantified in BTUs (British Thermal Units) (BTUs). Propane patio heaters have a heat output of 30,000 to 40,000 BTUs.

Propane heaters come in a variety of styles, and the quantity of heat they provide is determined by their capacity. You may also choose a propane patio heater based on your space needs.

Propane heaters are designed to provide heat quickly. The gas is kept in a liquid condition by being held in a pressure tank. When you switch on the valve on your propane heater, the liquid propane gas transforms into a highly combustible gas. When you switch on the ignition, the gas is sent to the burner, which produces a flame that creates heat.

Taking a Look at the Numbers

Patio heaters made of propane come in a variety of forms and sizes. Tabletop and portable models, wall and ceiling and hanging models, and standing models are also available. To determine how long a propane tank will last, it’s necessary to understand the chemistry underlying gas heating.


You’ll never run out of propane with this information, especially on those chilly nights when you want to spend as much time as possible on your patio.

Keep three factors in mind when estimating how long a full tank of propane will last:

  • The maximum amount of BTUs a heat source can create.
  • The portion of your outside environment that you wish to warm up
  • The temperature outdoors is

The average propane-fueled patio heater uses 42,300 BTUs. A full 20 pound propane tank, on the other hand, contains around 432,000 BTUs. When you add the BTUs from the tank and the BTUs from the heater, you get around 10.3 hours of heat.

On a frigid winter evening, you will not spend ten hours sitting on your terrace. The length of time your propane tank lasts is determined by the number of hours you use your heater, the trouble you have igniting it, and if the tank was full to begin with.

What is the minimum amount of heat required to keep your patio warm?

The size of your patio is one of the elements that determines how long your propane tank will last. To figure out how many BTUs you’ll need to heat your patio, multiply the height, breadth, and length of your patio by the number of degrees you want to increase the temperature.

For instance, if you have a 50 square-foot patio with 8-foot ceilings, it means you’ll be heating 400 cubic feet of space. Let’s say The temperature outdoors is is 30 degrees Fahrenheit and you want it to be 70 degrees Fahrenheit on your patio, and you’ll need to raise it by 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you multiply these two amounts by.133, you’ll find that maintaining 70 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour requires little more than 42,500 BTUs.

Before determining how long a propane tank will last you, you must first determine your heating requirements. A 20-pound propane tank has a BTU capacity of 432,000. A gallon of propane has around 91,502 BTUs, whereas a pound contains about 21,500 BTUs.

As a result, a full 20-pound propane tank can heat a 1000-square-foot patio for 10 hours.

The amount of hours you can get out of a propane tank is determined on the kind of heating you’re doing and the outside weather. Keep in mind that most patios are not protected from the weather. As a result, the quantity of gas required to heat your patio is likewise determined by the weather.

Typically, keeping the proper temperature in outdoor heating places such as patios is a difficulty. Because these places are often open and exposed to the weather, a heater can only raise the temperature of a particular portion of the patio, not the whole space.

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When lighting and using a patio heater, some propane gas is wasted.

When determining how long a full propane tank will last on your heater, keep this in mind. The quantity of propane lost is determined by a variety of variables. If you operate your patio heater for three hours at a time and have difficulties igniting it, you’ll waste 0.5 to 0.75 pounds of propane per tank once or twice.

How to Maximize the Use of Your Propane Tank

It’s best to know How to Maximize the Use of Your Propane Tank to save on utility bills. In this regard, you should know about things that can reduce heating time on your propane-fueled patio heater. These include:

Tank Capacity

A larger propane tank will, without a doubt, provide you with more heating hours than a smaller one. Even if you’re using a regular propane tank that lasts around 10 hours, you should make sure it’s fully charged (20lbs).

It’s important to note that propane tanks are never entirely filled. It’s between 75 and 80 percent full, depending on the weather. Propane will be supplied to your tank until it stops filling in most tank swaps.

After that, remember a few re-fillers to weigh the tank to verify it has 20 pounds of propane in it. When purchasing a new propane tank for your patio heater, be sure it weights a total of 20 pounds. You’ll get the most out of it this way.

Prevailing Weather and Lighting Technique

When lighting patio heaters, a lot of gas is wasted. Aside from that, how full a tank is and the weather play a big part in how a patio heater is lit. For example, starting your gas heater will require extra time and effort if your tank is half-empty and the weather is cold and windy.

Condition of the Machine

It will take some time for the pipes to evacuate the air if you use a new patio heater. As a result, you’ll need extra gas to heat your patio. Similarly, if your heater is too old, the lines are probably dusty or rusted. As a result, turning on the heater or keeping it on will be difficult. As a result, you’ll have to use more gas to heat your patio.

Running Propane Tanks at a Lower Temperature

You may consider using a gas patio heater at a lower heat setting to get a few extra hours out of it. However, one concern remains: would this result in the intended result? Manufacturers don’t usually promote the lower heat setting.

To put this in context, we’ll convert the output of a patio heater into a percentage. For example, if the highest output is 100 percent, a lower setting would be 50 percent. The BTUs will be reduced by half if you set your heater to this setting. As a result, you’ll extend the life of your tank.

Even if you decrease the heater’s settings to save money on heating, keep in mind that dropping below 50% reduces the heater’s performance. The heater will struggle to provide enough heat to adequately warm your patio.

When Using Propane Patio Heaters, There Are Some Safety Concerns

When utilizing propane patio heaters, there are a few safety measures to keep in mind. For starters, propane is a highly flammable gas that should be handled with caution. Make sure there are no leaks in your tank before filling it up.

You should pay special attention to the gas lines, fittings, and hoses while looking for leaks since they are more sensitive to leakage. Propane gas tanks must also be maintained on a regular basis. When utilizing a propane heater, the smell of gas signals a leak. If this occurs, immediately turn off the heater and notify your local fire department.

Propane tanks should be kept at least 20 feet away from the heater for safety reasons. When the tank’s capacity grows, you’ll find it simpler to avoid activating the heater’s safety relief valve.

Propane tanks should also be kept upright and at least five feet away from exits. Use the auto shut-off feature on your patio heater if it accidently starts a fire. When the temperature reaches 30 degrees, most heaters turn off automatically.

Final Thoughts

Homeowners that want to spend more time outside choose propane heaters. These heaters have a hefty price tag attached to them. Nonetheless, they enable you to spend more quality time outside with your friends and family.

If you’re considering purchasing a propane-fueled patio heater, you should first determine how long a full tank of gas will last. This information helps in the planning of your heating budget as well as the development of strategies for lowering your heating expenditures. Make sure you read our post on how to ignite your patio heater manually.


A 20 lb propane tank will last for about 8 hours on a patio heater. Reference: 20 lb propane tank for patio heater.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • how long will a 20lb propane tank last on a heater
  • how long does a propane tank last on a torpedo heater
  • how long does a 1lb propane tank last on a heater
  • what size propane tank for patio heater
  • can i use a 15 lb propane tank instead of 20 patio heater
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