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How Much Propane Do I Need to Run My Food Truck?

Friends at food truck

One of the worst nightmares of any food truck owner – especially one just starting out – is to run out of propane in the middle of a busy workday, with a line of people waiting for food. That’s why it’s so important to understand how much propane you need to power all the appliances that keep your business up and running.

Here are some basic steps to calculating propane usage for your food truck.

Step 1: Measure your tank – Measure your propane tank’s height (from the floor to the top of the tank collar) and diameter (around its widest point) to determine its size. A typical 20 lb. tank is 18 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 30 lb. tank is 24 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 40 lb. tank is 29 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 100 lb. tank is 48 inches high and has a diameter of 14.5 inches.

Step 2: Determine your tank’s BTU capacity – When full,

  • A 20 lb. propane tank has a 430,270 BTU capacity
  • A 30 lb. propane tank has a 649,980 BTU capacity
  • A 40 lb. propane tank has a 860,542 BTU capacity
  • A 100 lb. propane tank has a 2,160,509 BTU capacity

Step 3. Add up BTU ratings for all your appliances – You can find the BTU rating on each appliance, or in its owner’s manual. Add the BTU rating of all your appliances together.

Step 4. Divide the BTU output of your tank (or tanks) by the total appliance BTU rating – This will determine how many hours your propane tank(s) will be able to power the appliances in your food truck to run at 100 percent.

That’s it!

Don’t get caught short of propane in your food truck – contact the food truck experts at Irish Propane today for fast, safe propane tank refueling – or any other food truck services, including planning, leak testing, certifications and inspections, and more!

*Please note that any appliance’s BTU rating assumes that the appliance is running at 100 percent – for example, a gas grill running with all burners set on “high” or a water heater set at its maximum temperature setting.

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