How long is the gas cylinder enough: gas flow calculation for typical gas cylinders

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Karen molko
Last update: September 2019

If you often have to deal with gas appliances, then you must have wondered more than once about how long an ordinary bottle lasts in different situations. Agree, it is important to be able to calculate the amount of gas consumed, so as not to get into an extremely awkward situation when blue fuel can run out at the most inopportune moment.

We are talking not only about extreme situations when the question of the presence of a flame source becomes especially acute, but also about the most common use of a gas cylinder in domestic conditions. In order not to encounter such a problem, you will need to independently calculate how much a gas cylinder is available in a particular situation.

Small tourist receivers, which are convenient to take with you on a camping trip, are especially popular today. If at home the lack of gas will bring only minor inconvenience, then during the “outing” the situation can turn into a real disaster. From this article you will learn how fast gas is consumed in cylinders with different volumes, and for how long 220 g, 5 and 50 liters of gas receiver are enough.

Gas consumption from a 50 liter cylinder

Traditionally 50 l gas cylinders used in everyday life and act as the main source of fuel for appliances such as a gas stove, stove or heating boiler.

When buying a household propane cylinder, each buyer thinks about how long the propane will last and how often it will be necessary to refuel it. In this case, it all depends only on the number of gas appliances that will be “powered” by 50 liters of gas bottle.

Using a gas receiver to heat your home
It is possible to calculate how much 50 l of the receiver will last, based on the maximum consumption of the used gas device in 1 hour

In order to find out the maximum flow rate of a particular gas device, you will need to look into its technical document. For example, a gas stove “Hephaestus” PG 900 with 4 burners consumes 486 g / h (0.486 kg / h), and the calculation of propane will have to be carried out in grams.It is worth noting that at the indicated gas flow rate, the stove should work “at full”, that is, all 4 rings should be involved.

Therefore, if a 50 liter cylinder contains 21.5 kg of propane, then this amount of fuel will last for about 44 hours. In this case, we divide the amount of gas in the cylinder by the consumption of the gas stove - 0.486 kg / h, and we get the time to use blue fuel. If you use only 2 burners, then the consumption of gas consumed will be half less.

The same formula is also applied when calculating the consumed propane by other gas appliances, such as a gas boiler or a heating boiler. In the case of a boiler, the gas flow rate will directly depend on the degree of insulation of the house and outdoor temperature, so the calculation may be inaccurate.

Choosing a camping gas bottle

Today, many manufacturers offer special camping gas cylinders that allow not only cooking, but also heating the tent when a person is in nature. On the Internet you can find both small 220 g propane tanks, and 5 l cylinders with a built-in burner.

Single burner gas stove
Unlike a burner, such a gas mini-stove is designed for containers of any size, because it has a stable grid for dishes

Despite the convenience of a camping gas stove, small cylinders with a burner are most suitable for mountain travel, since it will be somewhat impractical to take a mini-stove with you. The amount of gas consumed is calculated depending on the duration of the trip, the purpose of gas use, and the number of gas consumers, depending on which the volume of the vessel will change.

If you don’t know how many days a 220 gram gas bottle lasts, then for a three-day fishing trip such a small cylinder will be enough, but it is only suitable for cooking. However, in this case, you should go fishing by car so that you can spend the night in the cabin, and thereby save on gas.

The required volume of the cylinder will be calculated depending on the rate of gas consumption per day by one person. If you choose camping gas burners, you should understand that they are often used to boil small volumes of water, so when traveling with a company, it is better to give preference to a 5 liter cylinder, to which you can connect a gas stove with one burner.

Gas Consumption Formula

At the time of buying gas burner for hiking, the manufacturer indicates how many grams per hour this burner consumes. Therefore, if you want to clearly calculate how much gas you need on a trip, it is better to purchase just such a gas bottle with a burner.

You can study information regarding burner performance in the product description on the page of any online store.

Gas bottle with burner
Such a marching gas burner can even fit in a small backpack, while its gas consumption is about 30-40 g less than that of a mini-stove

To calculate the volume of gas consumed, you need to know only two parameters: fuel consumption (grams per hour) and the boiling time of 1 liter of water (in minutes). Based on this knowledge, you can roughly calculate how long a 5-liter propane gas cylinder lasts when hiking or fishing.

According to the information from the product description, the average burner consumes 110 g / h, while 1 liter of water boils in 4.5 minutes. In this case, we will rely solely on time, since the amount of propane consumed depends on it. Suppose, there is a need to cook porridge, and boil water for tea twice for a group of 10 people.

To make porridge, you must first boil 3.5 liters of water, which you will need to multiply by 4.5 (boiling time 1 liter of water), which is equivalent to 15 minutes. Another 15 minutes are allotted for cooking porridge, while for tea, water should only reach a boil.

One-time cooking will take 30 minutes, and the same time will be required to prepare two tea pots. Total, the total time for preparing a full meal for 10 people is 1 hour, respectively, we spend 110 g of propane.

Example of packaging a gas cylinder
When buying a camping gas cylinder, it is important to pay attention to the information on the package, and especially the total weight of the cylinder with a burner

According to the data taken from the stigma on a regular 5 liter bottle, 2.3 kg of pure propane is inside the tank. To calculate the exact weight of propane, you need to weigh an empty cylinder, and then subtract the resulting number from the total weight of the cylinder with the burner.

With two meals a day, you will need to use 220 g, which means that for a two-day trip 450 grams of balloon will be enough. In the manufacture of such camping cylinders there may be errors, so it is better to choose a cylinder with a large volume, in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Therefore, if a 5 liter cylinder contains 2.3 kg of gas, then for cooking for 10 people this volume of gas will last about 10 days. In this case, the gas flow is only for cooking, without the need to heat a tent or a cabin.

The main factor in calculating the gas used

If, for example, a camping gas cylinder is equipped with a built-in burner that has a set amount of gas consumed per hour, then using a conventional cylinder, a conventional gas mini-stove with one burner will be used.

The gas flow rate of such a device can vary from 130 to 150 g / h, while the boiling time of 1 liter of water will be less than 4.5 minutes.

Gas bottle 220 g
For one person, a 220 gram bottle may be enough for a two-day trip if you use gas exclusively for cooking

Many travelers often take with them a popular model of the Tourist mini-cooker, which is equipped with just one burner for cooking in containers of any volume. Camping gas burners designed only for the capacity of a certain displacement, so in this case, a mini-stove will be much more practical.

The gas flow rate of such a tile is 150 g / h, which means that when connected to a 5 liter cylinder, 2.3 kg of propane is enough for 15 hours of continuous use.

We also recommend that you read our other article, where we described in detail how to refill gas cans for burners. Read more - read Further.

Gas cylinder consumption in the mountains

An ordinary propane cylinder with a burner will be able to heat water twice as much during a strong wind, therefore for traveling in especially difficult conditions cylinders with a mixture of several types of gas are sold. So, the use of gas at an altitude of up to 3,500 meters above the ground implies the purchase of a gas cylinder with a mixture of butane and propane.

If you climb even higher, then the gas will simply freeze, because of which its effectiveness will significantly decrease. In this case, you will need to purchase a cylinder with a mixture of propane, butane and isobutane.

Gas mixtures for winter hiking
The more impurities in propane, the less pure gas is left for cooking, due to which the duration of boiling increases

That is, at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters, it is worthwhile to establish an error coefficient of 50% in the calculations, even if the information on the cylinder itself does not say anything about it.

If 450 g of ordinary propane is enough for exactly 2 days, then the bottle with impurities of butane and isobutane will end after the second cooking for the whole company.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

From this video you can find out how long it will take to boil water, and, therefore, how long a propane cylinder with a burner will last:

Before calculating the time for which a propane cylinder of a certain volume is enough, it is necessary to find out the maximum flow rate of the gas equipment used.Often this information is indicated in the technical documentation of the device, whether it is a gas stove or a heating boiler.

According to the formula, to calculate the time of using a gas cylinder, it is necessary to divide the amount of propane inside the cylinder by the fuel consumption of a particular gas device. Based on this, you can calculate how long it will last, both a camping cylinder for a gas burner and a household 50 liter cylinder for using gas appliances.

If you have repeatedly had to calculate the required volume of gas, please share your experience with our readers, tell us how accurate the calculations turned out to be. You can leave a comment or ask a question to our experts in the appropriate field after the article.

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Visitors Comments
  1. I want to put a gas burner with a small cylinder of 50 liters on the cottage. Judging by your calculations, this is approximately 88 hours of work, right? I think the season will last.