Image of a PepUp propane gas delivery driver filling a home propane tank in Galena.

A more accurate formula to determine your annual propane gas needs in Delaware

Propane gas is a popular fuel for the primary heating of homes in Delaware, Maryland, Delmarva, and all over the PepUp service area. Our local propane delivery and service customers rely on our experienced team to keep their propane tanks from running out using our Automatic Delivery Service and “No Run Out” Guarantee.

Even when we’re making sure your propane tank doesn’t run out, it’s helpful to understand how much propane your home will use in a year. If you’re considering adding propane to your existing home, building a home and using propane heat and appliances, or even just budgeting for a relentlessly wet and cold Mid-Atlantic winter, PepUp is here to help. We’ve put together a few tips and a formula for figuring up your home’s propane gas needs.

What is propane gas?

You may see or hear propane referred to as propane gas or LPG: Liquefied Petroleum Gas. LPG is usually a mixture of propane gas and butane, two liquid natural gas products that are mixed to deliver clean-burning and efficient fuel to meet home heating, cooking, and comfort needs.

Propane gas is compressed and stored as a liquid in tanks outside the home. Tanks usually range in size from 100 gallons to 1000 gallons, and can be placed above ground or below ground. The colorless, non-toxic propane is piped into the home. Propane is naturally almost odorless, so for safety, an odor is added to alert people to propane leaks, which can present a fire hazard if not addressed quickly.

Anytime you suspect a propane leak, call PepUp 24/7 for emergency propane service.

How can I plan for my home’s propane needs?

The amount of propane gas your home will use in a year depends on six (6) primary factors:

  1. What appliances use propane in your home
  2. The efficiency of those appliances
  3. The number of annual heating degree days (below 65 degrees) in your area
  4. Your home’s size and efficiency factors like insulation R-value
  5. The number of people living in your home
  6. Where you like to set the thermostat in the winter

Let’s break these factors down even further so you can take inventory of your home propane needs.

Home use planning: How much propane do I need?

Propane usage depends on the number of BTUs (British Thermal Units) you’ll need to power your home’s furnace and appliances. Propane gas provides 91,547 BTUs per gallon. Each of your propane appliances is labeled with an “input” BTUh (BTUs per hour) that can help you estimate propane usage for every hour that the appliance is running.

Did you know? Every new PepUp customer works with our Energy Specialists to determine their unique home propane needs. Hit the easy button and schedule a call to learn about your home’s propane needs.

Step 1: Determine how much energy your home appliances use

Typical PepUp residential propane customers use LPG as their home’s primary heat source. Based on the average 2,000-square-foot home, you can expect to use about 1,000 gallons of propane per year to keep your home warm. That usage is based on a home furnace that runs at 100,000 BTUh and may increase for larger homes, older homes with less efficient insulation values, and exceptionally cold weather.

Use these average numbers to calculate propane usage if you don’t have easy access to your manufacturer-supplied propane usage information:

  • Propane fireplace inserts used for supplemental heating will use about 50,000 BTUh.
  • Traditional water heaters with a 30- to 40-gallon tank run on about 45,000 BTUh.
  • On-demand water heaters use more propane when actively heating water than traditional water heaters, but don’t require constant heating to keep water hot.
  • Their energy requirements range from 140,000 BTUh to 430,000 BTUh while actively running, depending on the temperature of the water entering the heater, the temperature set for heating, and the gallons per minute of flow. Your water heater settings and household usage will determine how much energy you’ll need for hot water.
  • Gas-powered clothes dryers use about 35,000 BTUh.
  • LPG gas ranges burn about 65,000 BTUh. A propane oven uses about 25,000 BTUh.
  • Swimming pool heaters use a lot of energy, typically around 100,000 to 250,000 BTUh. Keep your pool covered in winter to conserve as much heat as possible.

Consider additional propane users inside and outside your home. Supplemental heaters, outdoor kitchens and fire pits, and standby generators will also need adequate propane and will affect your annual propane consumption.

Step 2: Estimate annual energy needs in gallons of propane

Propane installers generally use a simplified formula to determine a home’s propane tank size and piping requirements. You can do something similar using your list of home appliance BTUs per hour.

  1. Find the BTUh for all your home’s appliances, either using these averages or by looking on the appliance plate.
  2. Multiply BTUh by the average number of hours per day each appliance will run, calculating averages in daily usage from a typical day in each season of the year.
  3. Add up all your daily averages and multiply by 365.
  4. Take that total, and divide by 91,547 to convert your home’s annual propane gas energy needs to gallons of propane.

If you’d rather work with a professional to determine your home’s energy needs, give us a call and speak with a PepUp Energy Specialist about the average home propane use we see in the local area. That’s going to give you a much better high-level estimate than using typical square footage averages, which may not account for home heating or other non-typical propane needs.

PepUp propane delivery driver Joe Travers fills a customer's residential underground propane tank in the Galena District.

Meet Contributor and PepUp Driver, Joe Travers

You might recognize PepUp Delivery Driver Joe Travers if you’re one of our customers in the Galena District. Joe has helped PepUp customers with their home, farm, and business propane needs since 2022.

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