If your propane heater uses too much gas, it’s time to check for possible reasons and fix it.
So, I’m going to reveal some of the major causes that are messing with your propane heater and causing it to consume more gas than usual.
I’m also going to highlight some precautions you should take if you want your propane heater to consume less gas.
Quick Answer: Your Propane heater consumes more gas than usual if there is a leakage in the gas tank, hose, or heater itself. Also, a lack of insulation, or using undersized heaters in large rooms can increase gas consumption.
Why is my propane heater using so much gas?
The propane heater is famous for its effective performance when heating your house or room, as it’s a more economical option to heat the room without electricity.
But when it starts consuming more propane than usual, it’s time to troubleshoot your propane gas heater.
Obviously, You don’t want to spend your valuable money on propane gas refills.
Without further ado, let’s dive into this article and see how you can fix your propane heater.
#1 Gas leakage (in the heater, hose, or tank)
One of the significant reasons propane heaters use too much gas is leakage.
Although you should do the leakage test every time you use the heater or at least every new season when you start it again, if it’s using too much gas, you should immediately check for leakage.
Propane gas smells like a rotten egg or a dead animal. If you notice that smell, there is undoubtedly a gas leakage somewhere in the tank, hose, or heater.
( Actually, pure propane gas does not have a smell. But gas companies add the smell so it’s easy to detect leakages )
How to check: The smell of the propane gas is one way of checking the leakage area; simply try to find the area by using your smelling sense. When you find the area, apply soapy water or a leakage-detecting solution and turn on the gas supply valve. If you notice the formation of bubbles, then it’s definitely a leakage.
How to fix: Heaters usually leak when they’re old and worn out. Heaters mostly leak after many years of use, so It is best to replace them instead of fixing them because they might also start leaking from other places.
If you want to buy a new propane heater, I highly recommend checking out the Mr. Heater Buddy heaters. Here’s a review: Best Propane Heater
How to check: The process is the same as checking the heater leakage. Apply a soapy mixture or leakage-detecting solution on the hose. If there is a hose leakage, you will see bubbles.
How to fix: For quick fixing, you can use duct tape or electrical tape, but the hose has 300PSI of pressure, which these tapes usually can’t withstand. The best way is to replace the hose; you can do the replacement by following simple steps:
- Turn off your heater and tighten the valve using a wrench.
- Get a replacement for your hose and attach it using thread or Teflon tape to ensure proper fitting.
- Attach it and check the leakage from the hose again. (With the same procedure I’ve mentioned above)
Tank leakage is also the most common problem in which propane heaters consume more gas than they should. The main reason for tank leakage is rust or corrosion and accidents.
How to check: You can check the tank leakage by thoroughly smelling the tank, as there will be a propane gas smell in case of leakage. You can also use a soapy liquid or a leakage-detecting solution and notice if there is any bubble formation.
How to fix: You can fix your propane gas tank with minimal effort. Simply find the leakage area, clean the surface, and spread the epoxy over it. If you can do welding, then it’s the best solution for the long term.
I don’t recommend messing with your old gas tank because once the corrosion makes its way to the tank, it leaks again and again.
The best solution is to replace the tank!
#2 The hose is not connected correctly
Sometimes we try to find a problem but ignore the small causes.
So, just make sure that your connections are tight or not if your propane heater is using too much gas.
How to check: Check the plastic fitting attached to the hose and propane tank. There should be nuts on the other end of your house. If nuts are loose, you’ve found your problem!
How to fix: Check both ends of the hose and tighten the nut and plastic fitting to ensure no leakage. You will need a wrench to tighten the hose nut, and the plastic fitting can be tightened with your bare hands.
#3 Outside Weather is too Cold
Propane heaters can be used in all weather and won’t affect performance. But, in freezing weather, the heater consumes more gas to heat the room adequately.
Also, when the temperature goes too low, it becomes difficult for the propane gas to reach the burner.
How to fix: Properly insulate your room so that your heater can consume less gas to increase the room temperature. Keep your door and window closed so that no outside air enters the room.
#4 The room is not insulated enough to store heat
As mentioned above, the insulated room tends to remain warm for a long-time, and your heater doesn’t have to put extra effort into heating the room. As a result, there will be less propane usage.
Any crack or gap in the wall, door, or window will also be the reason for poor insulation.
How to fix:
- Before using your heater, keep your door and window closed and ensure no escaping.
- Make sure there are no gaps or cracks in the wall; use duct tape for more proper insulation.
- Use curtains in front of the windows to keep the heat isolated in the room.
#5 Too-Large Room
If you have a small heater, the heat it produces is barely perceptible. So it uses up gas. And you don’t get much out of it.
Heaters should always fit the room size.
How to test: Check your heater’s BTU rating.
How to fix: Get a heater that fits your room size. A rule of thumb is that you should get a heater with at least 20 BTU of heating power per square foot of room area.
Refer to the table below to know the heater size suitable for your room.
|Heating Capacity (in BTU)||Room Area (in square feet)|
|5000 BTU||100-150 square feet|
|6,000 BTU||150-250 square feet|
|7,000 BTU||250-300 square feet|
|8,000 BTU||300-350 square feet|
|9,000 BTU||350-400 square feet|
|10,000 BTU||400-450 square feet|
|12,000 BTU||450-550 square feet|
|14,000 BTU||550-700 square feet|
|18,000 BTU||700-1,000 square feet|
|21,000 BTU||1,000-1,200 square feet|
|23,000 BTU||1,200-1,400 square feet|
|24,000 BTU||1,400-1,500 square feet|
|30,000 BTU||1,500-2,000 square feet|
|34,000 BTU||2,000-2,500 square feet|
These ratings are recommended by Energy Star Organization
#6 Malfunctioning Thermostat
When a malfunction occurs in a thermostat, the heat cycle gets affected because it senses the room temperature and the heat settings and instructs the gas heater to work accordingly.
If a thermostat is not working fine, it fails to detect the temperature, and your heater keeps running.
How to Fix: Modern thermostats come with a battery or cells; try replacing them. If the issue persists, then it’s time to replace the thermostat. For replacing the thermostat, first, make sure you’re buying the right one for your propane heater. Make connections according to the manual.
#7 Heat Settings are too high
Sometimes we set our heat settings greater than we need to heat the room quickly and then need to remember to lower the settings.
This is also one of the most common issues behind the high gas consumption in propane heaters.
How to Check: The check is simple; all you have to do is to check your heat adjusting knob; if it is set to maximum or higher than your requirements
How to Fix: Keep your heat settings automatic so your heater won’t stay lit. If you want to set the heat according to your requirements, then make sure not to set it too high.
#8 The propane heater is not getting enough oxygen
The Propane heater only burns at its most efficient point (Ideal burn) if it’s getting enough oxygen. When gas is burned, it takes oxygen from the air and reaches it to burn efficiently.
How to Check: Firstly, check if there is dust in the oxygen supply. Secondly, adjust or manipulate oxygen valves and observe the quality of the burn.
Fixing: I recommend cleaning the tube using a stick or wire and poking the dust out to unblock the blocked tube, and setting up the oxygen valve at the proper setting (By adjusting it at the right position)
How to Calculate the Propane Usage of my Propane Heater?
You can find out if your propane tank or heater leaks by just cross-checking with mathematics.
Theoretically, you can calculate how much propane your heater should use up. And then you can compare it to your actual real-life propane consumption.
You can calculate the propane usage of your propane heater by this formula:
Propane Usage In an Hour = Heating Capacity (In BTU) / (BTU/Gallon × Efficiency (%) / 100)
BTU/ Gallon for propane is 91,500
If we assume the burning efficiency to be 90% (so, we already account for suboptimal conditions), then you can calculate propane usage by substituting heating capacity.
I know it’s getting technical, so I’ve done the calculation part myself.
|Heating Capacity (in BTU)||Hourly gas consumption ( in Gallons)||Monthly gas consumption (in Gallons)|
|5000 BTU||0.06 Gallons||21.6 Gallons|
|10,000 BTU||0.12 Gallons||43.2 Gallons|
|15,000 BTU||0.18 Gallons||64.8 Gallons|
|20,000 BTU||0.24 Gallons||86.4 Gallons|
|25,000 BTU||0.30 Gallons||108 Gallons|
|30,000 BTU||0.36 Gallons||129.6 Gallons|
|40,000 BTU||0.49 Gallons||176.4 Gallons|
How can I make my propane heater more efficient?
To make your heater more efficient, you should maintain it properly. You need to clean the heater and ensure no damage occurs.
Replace or clear out the filters of the heaters timely to avoid dust which causes less oxygen reachable to the heater.
Also, you should adjust your heater settings to low temperatures to avoid unnecessary gas consumption.
How can I reduce my propane usage?
Follow a few simple and easy techniques to ensure you do not have to use a lot of propane gas:
- Make sure to clean the heater before using it the first time in a while (in case of seasonal use)
- The rooms and the space should be properly sealed/ isolated.
- Check the leakages and damages.
- Choose the heater size (or settings) according to the space that you want to heat (We’ve added a table above in this article)
Now that you’ve read this detailed guide article, you should be able to optimize your propane gas heater for lower gas consumption. But, in case you’re still struggling with it, you can contact me for guidance.