how useful if the last pound of propane in my 20 Lb tank?

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,486
Oakland, California
advanced searching was not getting me an answer.

What happens to my Suburban cooktop burner flame as my propane runs out, especially as I cross the last 1 Lb mark (or maybe its the last 1/2 Lb mark?

We have never run out of propane in our 2 years of using this camper, but I would like to know if there is advance warning in behaviour/appearance of the cooktop flame.

BTW - we carry a digital scale with us on vacation, for weight control of the two occupants, and periodically also weigh the propane tank.

We alos carry a portable camp stove that uses disposable cannisters. So breakfast is assured, even if we hav eno "central heat"


FWIW - our longer term propane usage for spring and fall in the Southwest (or winter in Death Valley) is averaging 5/8" Lb/day in cooler weather (significant number of nights of 44 deg). Likely a lower usage in true summer camping.
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
20,649
Southeastern PA
Based on my propane campfire (connected to the tanks on the camper), the flame just starts getting low until there is not enough pressure and it goes out.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,376
Northern Virginia
What happens to my Suburban cooktop burner flame as my propane runs out, especially as I cross the last 1 Lb mark (or maybe its the last 1/2 Lb mark?
. On mine there is no change up until it is just about to die out the flame may get a little lower before burning out completely a minute later. Little to no advanced warning.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
11,440
Nj
Never noticed it on my BBQ grill at home and I have run out of propane while cooking. So no notice. As steve said, I do notice it on the fire pit. But they use more propane.
 

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,486
Oakland, California
Never noticed it on my BBQ grill at home and I have run out of propane while cooking. So no notice. As steve said, I do notice it on the fire pit. But they use more propane.

.. and that was my wife's recollection of how our propane grill behaved (we now have a natural gas grill hooked up to city gas).

We will therefore operate on the assumption that we can use most of the propane in the tank. The spare portable cooktop and its gas cannisters are inside the camper, so if the cooktop flame goes out we can still have a hot breakfast (and hot coffeee) without stepping outside the camper :) As for lack of central heat, we can always add warm layers.

Thanks for the responses :)
 

tombiasi

Super Active Member
Sep 1, 2012
6,699
Northwestern New Jersey
The pressure in the tank will remain the same until all the liquid is gone. Then the tank pressure will start dropping as you draw from it. At some point your stove will not function properly
 
Last edited:

Phil O'Regan

Member
Sep 4, 2020
32
ATL
Mercaptan gas is added to propane to give it a strong rotten-egg smell. I swear that when a tank is nearly empty, the mercaptan smell gets stronger even if the gas is lit and burning. I used to rent a very small house that had a propane range (stove/oven). It had two 20 lb tanks outside with a manual switch between them. I could tell from the rotten-egg smell of the pilot light when a tank was about to run dry. And no, it wasn't leaking; I could just smell it from the burning pilot light, especially if I had been out of the house for a few hours.
 




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