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Propane usage question


Bballance

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Newbie here. I have a 2013 Allegro 36LA and am curious about expected propane usage. I have heard others say that their propane lasts for months. I understand everything depends on usage, climate, etc. I filled my tank Dec 1, parked it where it's been ever since and set the thermostat at 50 as I am not living in it yet, though will be in another week. I live in Savannah, GA, where nighttime temps have rarely gone below the mid 40's, and I estimate that the heater is not working 2 hrs all night. The coach gets full sun exposure all day, so it's running interior daytime temps of high 60's to low 70's. Last night the temp fell to the low 20's. In preparation I checked fuel and it was at 1/4 tank.

 

Does that seem reasonable to have used that much from Dec 1 to Jan 7? Oh, and the furnace is the only thing using gas. I'm on electric for everything else. Thanks so much.

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Well, kinda have to know the tank size for one thing. The heater is probably working more than you think. And if the average night temp is in the 40's, why would you heat it? 20's OK, time to heat if it's not winterized, but 40's, I wouldn't heat it.

 

Coming from the northern climes, water went in the day before the trip and then the heat started. Until there was something to freeze, water added or canned goods, just a waste.

 

And there is that big glass window in the front. Most folks put something over that window to help insulate it. Is that covered? Any roof vents open?

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The standard forced air propane furnace in RV's consume a lot of propane. So yes, a month of use will take you down to 1/4 tank left. Keep in mind the tank is only filled to 80% for safety purposes. You can't fill it more than that.

 

As mentioned above, unless the outside temps drop down into the mid to upper 20's for several hours, you don't need to heat the MH. Now it the temp was to get down to say 28 degrees and stay there for 12 or more hours then yes you need to heat the MH. If it was to get really cold, say down to 15* to 20* and stay that way for 12-24 hours you will want to not only have the heat on, but to open the cabinet doors by the kitchen sink and bathroom. The pipes under the counters near the outside wall will freeze with the cabinet doors closed.

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As Bill said, you really haven't given us enough to determine very much but off of the top of my head, I can make a few guesses. The 2015 version of your RV has a 24 gallon propane tank, which can only be filled to 80% or roughly 19/20 gallons. If you now have 1/4 tank than that would be 6 gallons remaining and 14 gallons consumed.

 

There is no definitive length of time that any amount of fuel will last because consumption rates vary all over. Through in that it may also be used by the water heater or some other appliance. With the weather reports of cold we see in the news, I'm wondering if your furnace has not run more than you think that it has?

 

Anything that we say will only be a guess, but unless it is leaking out, you must have burned it. Propane has a pretty strong odor so I would expect that you could smell it if very much had leaked out.

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Yes, 24 gal capacity. Sorry I forgot that. I have supplied you with the information that I have at this point; I apologize if it was not enough. Answers to why I am running the heat:

 

1. First two words of post: Newbie here. :-)

2. In all I have learned and been told, I was concerned--and admittedly maybe too much so--about letting the coach get too cold. I've had a lot of problems and didn't want to add cold, leaking pipes to the mix.

 

If, as you say, I can safely turn off the heat till it gets to lower temps then I will take your advice. Thank you very much.

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Yes if temps were in 40s and you had thermostat set at 50* I would say you burnt it up for example

 

Our temps ranged from 20s to high 40s for Dec.

Two 1500 watt electric heaters set at comfort level ran almost steady at night. plus an electric blanket The Bill $200.

One Olympian Wave 2-4-6K BTU plus above heaters during the day.

The big forced air turned on in the morning to get us up into comfort zone, very little cooking the restaurant down the street was good and we still went through 4-6 bottles of propane ( 7 gal bottles )

Oh forgot the thermostat was set at 50* and it still kicked on several times at night with the electric heaters going

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Guest Pensauncola

In all I have learned and been told, I was concerned--and admittedly maybe too much so--about letting the coach get too cold. I've had a lot of problems and didn't want to add cold, leaking pipes to the mix.

 

If, as you say, I can safely turn off the heat till it gets to lower temps then I will take your advice. Thank you very much.

 

Breaking pipes is a result of water expanding within those pipes with nowhere for the expansion to go. This happens when water freezes.

 

Water getting colder actually causes it to contract. Heat is nothing more than molecular action. Heating water causes the molecules to move and interact with each other. They need more space to do this, so water expands as it heats up.

 

This is not a problem in an RV because the water heater has an air pocket in the top of the tank which allows expansion. You notice this when you first turn on the faucet after the water heater has run, you get a sudden burst of pressure released. As long as there is an air pocket in the water heater and the heater is shutting off properly, this does not result in burst pipes.

 

Ironically, water also expands when it freezes and solidifies. This is where you have a chance of pipes bursting in your RV. As the water freezes and expands, it has no place to execute that expansion. The piping will not stretch enough to accommodate the expanding water, thus the pipes can burst. The good news is that this only happens when the temperature goes below 32F.

 

Summary, no need to worry about pipes bursting above 32F.....................unless you are subjecting them to high pressures, but that's a subject for another day.

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Some things you need to check - is there a heating duct in the basement area and/or one that helps heat the wet bay. Those are important to keep lines from freezing. And normally that is why when temperatures start to dip you will hear the need for keeping heat going - but only because people are worried about freezing temperatures. In reality, unless you are living in it, you don't need to worry about heat unless it is going to freeze at night (and not just hit 32, but into the 20s). As said above, if the temp is about 32, don't worry. And once you are living in the coach, then you all set things to make sure it is comfortable for you - - that will be more than enough to keep water lines from freezing if you have basement heat - - that's why it is important to make sure you have a vent in the basement.

 

Barb

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Guest ticat900

Now lets get back to what the OP asked. (should he have consumed that much LPG in 5 weeks)

Yes I can see u burning 14 gallons of LPG in 5 weeks set at 50 when temps drop to below 40 all nite.The insulation factor in reality in most MH is

suspect at best. set it to 45 if your worried but if its not below 32 there is no point in heating the unit

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Guest Pensauncola

Now lets get back to what the OP asked. (should he have consumed that much LPG in 5 weeks)

Yes I can see u burning 14 gallons of LPG in 5 weeks set at 50 when temps drop to below 40 all nite.The insulation factor in reality in most MH is

suspect at best. set it to 45 if your worried but if its not below 32 there is no point in heating the unit

 

Thank goodness you came along and got everyone straight. What would we do without you?

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And often when you ask a question, you will get some helpful hints about other things to think about that might affect how you use whatever you are asking about or other items to be aware of that might malfunction at the same time. Plus, your question is often one that someone else is thinking about asking - - or never thought about until you raised the question.

 

My daughter use to complain that I would never just give her an answer to a problem but would work with her until she understood how to get the question, what other things to think about and why it was important.

 

Barb

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Here is an article explaining how to know if your propane tank was filled to the 80% capacity: http://web.archive.org/web/20071204044705/http://www.metrology.burtini.ca/calc_lpg.html

Propane has 91,690 BTU/gallon at 60 deg F., less as temperature declines. For a rough estimate of your propane useage, locate the input BTU for the appliance in question. Divide input BTU into BTU/gal., multiply that X run hours of the appliance. RV furnaces are around 70% efficient, so that must be factored into the equasion.. The result approximates the amount of time your propane supply might last. IMO there are far too many influencing factors to arrive at a exact figure.

 

This is not what you asked about, but may be useful when parked for extended periods: How to determine cost of fuel comparison pdf

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Agree with what everyone has said and welcome to the forum.

 

One additional thing to consider is the gauge on the tank. On my coach with a 39 gallon tank, the 80% level is about 31 gallons. The first time the gauge got down to less than 1/4 I rushed to the propane filling stations only to discover it took less than 10 gallons to fill it. I was still over half full! Now I don't worry until it is reading nearly empty.

 

So, don't calculate your usage until you refill the tank!

 

Lenp

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One additional thing to consider is the gauge on the tank. On my coach with a 39 gallon tank, the 80% level is about 31 gallons. The first time the gauge got down to less than 1/4 I rushed to the propane filling stations only to discover it took less than 10 gallons to fill it. I was still over half full! Now I don't worry until it is reading nearly empty.

This is a very good point. The level gauge in your propane tank is a float and it simply indicates the level of liquid. The tank is probably on it's side and length wise to the length of the RV so the angle that it happens to be sitting at can make several gallons difference in what the level shows, just as would be true for a gasoline or diesel tank.

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The gauge on our tank is spot on - the reading on the panel inside the coach is something else. When we first got the coach, we refilled according to what the panel indicator said and we were always filling to soon. I learned that it reads (just idiot lights) 1/4 of a tank less that what we actually have. So when it gets to reading 1/4 left, I look underneath at the tank to decide when to refill.

 

Barb

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Yes, I am watching the gauges. The inside gauge doesn't match the tank gauge, for sure. This evening I seem to be completely out of gas even though 2 nights ago I had 1/4 according to the gauge on the tank, but the heat has been running some because of other issues I've had that precluded me from getting in and shutting it off. So I will closely monitor how much I put in tomorrow and check gauges. Fortunately, it's above freezing here a little, so I have turned off the heat altogether (meaning no elec heat). I was strongly advised by the dealer NOT to run the heat pump below 40 degrees. There is a strong smell in the coach, but I'm not sure what it is. It's been there since I bought it in July, though not as strong as it is now. Since I've never used propane before, I'm not sure if what I'm smelling is propane or some other smell. I'm headed to the factory a week from Monday with a list of issues and will add that to the list. Again, thanks for all the ideas.

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There is a strong smell in the coach, but I'm not sure what it is. It's been there since I bought it in July, though not as strong as it is now. Since I've never used propane before, I'm not sure if what I'm smelling is propane or some other smell.

I highly doubt you have had a propane smell even without using it, but it is remotely possible. As Barb has mentioned the RV must have a propane detector which will alarm if you get any significant leakage. I suspect that your odor is one of a new RV which has odors from the adhesives and materials used in manufacturing it. It is similar to the "new car smell" from the automotive world. When you get propane, if you tell the person who fills the tank that you don't know what it smells like, I'd bet that he will point out the odor for you as there is always some small amount that vents from the tank in filling it.

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Go out to the tank and shut off the valve and unscrew the propane hose Take a sniff at the hose after unhooked If it smells the same as whats inside then leave it shut off until you find and repair the leak. You might check to see if a stove top burner is partly turned on. Or turn one on without lighting it and you will know what propane smells like. Are batteries in your alarms good ?

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