How much gas do you need?

The amount of gas you need depends on the ambient temperature, the number of gas appliances in use, the power they are using and how long they are in use at that rate. However, few of us ever bother to work all this out, as we simply use the gas until it runs out and then change the cylinder. As a rough guide, many users find they consume between 0.8 and 1.5kg of gas per day, or say an average of 1.2kg per day. Obviously when the weather is warmer you will use less gas for heating and if you are using an electric hook-up and can use electricity for some heating, cooking and refrigeration, you can make the gas supply last longer.

Cylinders have a habit of running out at inconvenient times, such as in the middle of the night or when it is raining, so it is often wise to know when your gas is running low. Some cylinders have a contents gauge or are translucent, so the contents can be seen. The majority of steel cylinders have no means of revealing the contents, but there are after-market devices such as Truma’s Gas LevelCheck that can provide an indication.

You can also weigh the cylinders on bathroom scales and use the total weight figures in the table to see how full they are. Alternatively you can buy changeover valves as made by Gaslow or Truma that will automatically change cylinders if you are carrying two – but remember they still need monitoring or you will just end up with two empty cylinders.

Perhaps more important though is to be sure the gas you have will supply all the appliances you want to have on at the same time.

A single 6kg propane cylinder will have an available maximum off-take (supply) rate of up to about 0.8kg per hour. This will be sufficient for a cooker, space heater, fridge and water heater, but if you use all these and the grill and four gas rings at the same time you might find the cylinder cannot cope with the demand.

When this happens the appliances may not work efficiently and some may go out. A flame failure device should always be fitted, to prevent any unburnt gas getting into the living area. In practise, this problem rarely happens unless you have chosen a smaller size of cylinder (such as a 3.9kg propane cylinder with a maximum off-take of just 0.5kg/hr) or are using butane gas in near-freezing conditions.

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