image of 4 propane tanks lined up against a house

Whether you are using propane for your BBQ or to heat your home, you may have a lot of questions about this fuel source. Managing propane tanks requires a focus on safety, and you don’t want to end up using expired propane or missing that your tank is empty. Here are the answers to the questions you need to handle propane.

1. What Does Propane Smell Like?

While propane is odourless, suppliers add ethyl mercaptan to the gas, which smells like rotten eggs. It’s not a pleasant smell but the idea is to make the gas safer. If there is a leak, you should be able to smell it, and then evacuate.

2. Does Propane Go Bad?

While many gases degrade and become unusable, including the gas in your vehicle, propane is different. When it is stored, propane cannot go bad or expire. However, the tank that propane is stored in can degrade and does have an expiration date.

3. How Long Do Propane Tanks Last Before They Expire?

A propane tank made for a BBQ may last a decade after it was manufactured, or it may last less. You don’t need to guess how long your specific tank will last. Somewhere on the collar, you should find an expiration date printed on it. That is exactly when your tank will expire, and you should aim to replace it before that.

4. How Long Does a Propane Tank Last for a House?

A propane tank meant to fuel a home is a different matter and lasts longer than one meant for your barbeque. These high-quality cylinders should be protected from the weather and should be made of high-quality steel. In these conditions, and with regular maintenance, a home’s propane tank can upwards of twenty-five years.

You may also be able to find propane tanks made of aluminum or a composite material, both of which have the potential to last more than twenty-five years when well-constructed, maintained, and protected from the elements.

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5. How to Refill a Propane Tank?

Refilling a propane tank is not a job you can tackle yourself. Take your tank to your local hardware store or whatever local company offers propane and they will fill it back up for you.

6. How Many BTUs in a Gallon of Propane?

One gallon of propane has 91,452 BTU.

7. How Long Does Propane Last for BBQ?

A small propane tank designed for use in a full-sized barbeque should last 18-20 hours of continuous use (although you will use it in a few hour spurts at a time.)

8. How Long Does Propane Last for Heating?

For heating, the math on how long your propane will last is a little complicated. It depends on which kind and size of heating appliance you’re using (furnace, fireplace) and how often you’re running it. The size of your propane tank will matter too, of course. If you’re trying to assess your propane needs for heating it is best to reach out to a professional to get help and ensure you’ll be warm all winter.


If you’re considering switching to propane and want to learn more, contact the team at Ultimate Home Comfort. We will provide you with recommendations to suit your specific needs.