How Much Propane Does a Generator Use?

As each and every day the need for electricity is rising, therefore, it can be seen that due to the lack of electricity many places often remain out of electricity for a very long time. For this reason, many industries, homes, and working places have to remain off which hampers the productivity and the peace of people.

However, fortunately, people can have their electricity backup now a day. People use generators that can efficiently and reliably store power for those kinds of situations. Generators are available in three types known as gas, diesel, and propane. However, all of them are not able to provide the need of the user.

Therefore, one has to make sure that at the time of emergency, they can have the proper and continuous backup. To confirm the proper backup, many people try to find how much propane does a generator use. Today, we will show you the proper way how you will be able to calculate it.

How much propane does a generator use

One must make sure to have a proper backup of propane at the time of emergency. Because propane is not as easy to find as gas. In the time of disaster or long time power cut, there will be a huge need for backup. If one does not have proper backup then they have to suffer from a long run.

One can easily connect a propane generator with a portable propane tank or even a large in-situ propane tank for an emergency. The amount of backup depends on the usages.

However, normally a propane generator will burn 2 to 3 gallons per hour. So simply multiply the number with your using hours and find the amount of propane uses very easily. But it is an estimated amount.

Also, there is a formula for how one will be able to calculate the amount of propane their generator will use. The formula is:

Total propane = (propane used per hour * hours) + contingency

Basically, a generator with 2 horsepower is able to produce 1000 watts of electricity. And for 1 horsepower of energy, it needs 10,000 BTU per hour of fuel. As we know that a propane generator can produce 92,000 BTU per gallon. And the weight per gallon of propane is 4.2 pounds.

The above information will be needed at the time of calculation. Let’s have a simple mathematical calculation to clear these things.

  • The first step is to calculate the horsepower that you are using. Let’s assume that we have a 4000 watts load. Now with the help of a formula, we will be able to calculate the horsepower with a simple equation.

Horsepower = (watts / 1000) * 2

                        = (4000 / 1000) * 2

                        = 4 * 2

                        = 8

That means if we have 4000 watts of load, then we will need 8 horsepower.

  • Now, we have to find the amount of BTU for the calculated horsepower. There is also a method to find it out.

BTU = Horsepower * 10,000 this formula will help us to find the BTU.


BTU = 8 * 10,000

         = 80,000

That means, the 4000 watts load or generator will consume the amount of fuel that can produce 80,000 BTU per hour.

  • And now, let’s find out the gallons of propane with the help of the below equation,

Gallons of propane per hour = BTU / 92,000

                                                    = 80,000 / 92,000

                                                    = 0.87

That means, to run the 4000 watts generator one will need 0.87 gallons of propane per hour.

However, the above calculation is estimated because we did not measure the load of the generator. Depending on the use of applications, the number can fall down or rise. But with the help of this, one will be able to have the basic knowledge of how much propane their generator will use by simply replacing the value of the watts with their generator wattage.

Important consideration propane does a generator use

As we said before, we did not consider about how many things we are using. Now, the load on the generator is not constant. That means the load can change depending on the user. The morning load is not the same as the evening load. One may use a microwave, AC, refrigerator, lights, fan, security system, and many more at the time of evening. So there is a time when the generator takes peak load. So we have to take account of this.

If we can find the peak load of the generator, then we will be able to find the exact amount of propane used by the generator. Fortunately, we can. There is an equation that can be used to find it. And the formula is,

Total propane = (propane used per hour * hours) + (propane use per hour peak load x hours) + contingency.

Propane Storage

There are two types of storage system that is used with a propane generator. These are Cylinders and Tanks. Basically, the portable generators are designed to attach to a cylinder that can hold 20 pounds of propane. With a cylinder that can hold 20 pounds of propane, one can power their house for 1 day. But it fully depends on the applications.

However, to power a house for more than 1 day or to power a factory one has to use an in-situ tank or attach multiple cylinders together to get the proper amount of propane.

How Much Propane Does a Generator Use

Some advantages of propane

There are a lot of advantages to using a propane power generator. Most home users like to use propane generators for powering their house. Here are some advantages of the propane generator.

  • Propane generators are very durable than diesel or gas generators.
  • Can store a huge amount of power.
  • The propane generator is a very environment friendly generator. These generators do not produce any kind of harmful elements to nature.
  • The propane generators are a lot quieter than gas and diesel generators.
  • The units are available at a reasonable price.

Some disadvantages of propane

Though propane generator has many advantages it has also some disadvantages.

  • The top disadvantage of a propane generator is finding the propane. Propane is not easy to find. So at the time of emergency one will face difficulties. Therefore, one has to always keep backups.
  • The next thing is the price of the propane. Propane is very expensive than natural gas and diesel.
  • Installing a propane generator will cost more than gas and diesel generators.
  • It can be very dangerous if there is a leakage in the line.
  • The system is very complicated to work with.

How much propane a generator needs?

The answer depends on the usages of the generator. Apart from the usages, there are also many things that determine the amount of fuel. Here are some basic things that determine the amount of propane.

  • The first thing is the number of applications. Some people use a generator to power up basic things like a couple of fans, lights, fridge, microwave, etc. These would not consume a lot of fuel. However, if one uses AC, TV, iron, and many things that consume a lot of electricity then the amount of fuel can be raised even higher.
  • The 2nd thing is the model of the generator. There are some generators that can efficiently and reliably use fuel. These types of generators will save a lot of money. So, before buying a generator, one has to check the specifications of the generators to ensure that they are purchasing the efficient one.
  • The next thing is the time of use. As we can see from the above calculation that a 4000 watts generator will use 0.87 pounds of propane per hour. So if one uses a 4000 watts generator for 12 hours then the person will need 10.44 pounds of proper. So increasing the run time will increase the amount of propane.
  • There are some generators that feature dual fuel. That means these types of generators can be used by both propane and gas. Using these generators will decrease the cost of propane. As propane is more costly than gas and hard to find therefore using the dual fuel generator would be great.

How much propane does a generator use per hour?

The amount of propane a generator will need fully depends on the number of power devices and the generator size. Depending on the number and size the amount can vary.

However, most of the propane generators will use about 2 to 3 gallons of propane per hour. And as we know that 1 gallon of propane weight is equal to 4.2 pounds. That means a propane generator will need about 8.4 to 12.6 pounds of propane per hour.The gasless generator is same use per hours.

This is just for our knowledge. This is not approximate. With this, we are just trying to give you a thought on the amount of propane. However, if you measure the amount of power that you need for powering all the elements you have, then you will be able to find the exact amount of propane.

Final Thoughts

Finding out the amount of propane that a generator needs per hour will help one to have the proper backup at the time of emergency. In this article, all the calculations are estimated which will give an idea of the amount of propane that a generator will need. However, with the proper calculation, one will be able to find the exact amount of propane for their generator. But it will take a lot of effort and time. We hope that this article will answer the question of how much propane does a generator use.

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