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Old 17-03-2014, 08:28   #1
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Size of Propane Locker?

We are in the process of building a propane locker and are trying to figure how much propane we should carry? We (wife and I) will be living aboard full time and will be using propane for cooking only. My original thoughts were two 20 lbs thanks (same tanks as typical gas grill but not sure yet if we will go with steel or aluminum). Space on boat would rather see one 20lbs or two 10 lbs but not sure if that would be enough for cooking two or three meals a day? We will be spending most of the year in the US and maybe three months in the Bahamas.
Appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 17-03-2014, 08:56   #2
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

We live aboard and have 2 of the 2.3 gallon aluminum tanks. If I were designing it I would have gone with the 5 gallon size, we cook and use it for heat occasionally and I have to refill one about every 2-3 weeks. Don't get steel tanks unless you just like the color of rust. There can be some problem refilling the fiberglass tanks also, and I've heard there can be an issue with different fittings in foreign ports .
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:34   #3
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

We use our two-burner propane cooktop (no oven, no heating) 2-4 times a day, to boil water for coffee and tea, and cook dinner (and sometimes lunch) for 2-3 people. Fairly often we boil a large pot of water for Dungies, and run the burner at full power for another 12 minutes or so per crab. One 10lb (2.3 gallon?) short squatty aluminum tank lasts us about 6 weeks cruising SE Alaska.
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:58   #4
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

Go with two 10s. Else with one tank you will run out at the most inconvenient hour (fresh seafood just on the skillet) and so you will have a backup tank to finish dinner and a hard reminder to refill.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:06   #5
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

On Terra Nova I have built in a self-draining propane locker, in the very stern, which accepts three 20# vertical aluminum tanks. This is accessed through a round, aluminum deck hatch, like you see on commercial boats.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:09   #6
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

We had 2 20# tanks and liked the quantity we had. But they were a pain to lug around to refill. Use aluminum though - for the rust issue. 2 10# tanks would be OK for most but that depends on how you cook, heat, etc.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:31   #7
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

I use my oven far more than most people and the stove about the normal amount I would guess. 20# lasts us about 45 days. I think 2 x 10# would be plenty if you only use for propane for cooking. If you had 2 x 20#, I am confident you would never need to refill during your three month trips. So the tradeoff is more space vs. not having to refill while cruising. Even with 2 x 10# you could probably make it 2-3 months unless you use your oven a lot.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:54   #8
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

If you're going to be mostly in the US, rust on a 20 lb. steel tank won't be a problem because you can simply trade the tank in for an exchange once it gets rusty. I had a steel tank on my old boat and didn't have rust issues. I kept it dry and put some Dri-dek under it to keep the base elevated. The locker was large enough to fit 4 or 5 additional camping bottles that could be used for the grill or adapted for use on the main system when the big tank went empty. I'd love to have two 20 lb. tanks but it's a lot of space to sacrifice. The two 10 lb. aluminum tanks with additional camping bottles I have now are adequate.
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Old 17-03-2014, 15:09   #9
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

Thanks for all the responses. Thinking we have a better gauge on how much propane usage we will use because of them. Since we will not have a car while cruising two smaller tanks makes a lot of sense.
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Old 17-03-2014, 15:34   #10
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

As someone else pointed out earlier, if you will be mostly in the US, for sure consider the 20lb tanks. You can swap them out almost anywhere. Because these are so popular, it is getting much harder to find a place the fills tanks. The only downside is they are steel, so a bit heavier.
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Old 17-03-2014, 15:58   #11
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

Now that we decided on a ~ 10lb tank it seems aluminum sizes are all taller then steel. A height of < 12" would work nice but it seems all the aluminum ones are over 13".
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Old 17-03-2014, 16:05   #12
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

Thanks, I agree Raindog that having a steel 20lb is the way to go because of the exchange move these days. But after going to the boat today to measure spaces something with a height of ~12" will make building the locker so much easier.
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Old 17-03-2014, 16:23   #13
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

20yr. liveaboards. two 20lb. tanks used for cooking only last close to 5 months.
We switched to steel tanks many years ago as re-filling on our cruising routes became more difficult each year. Tank exchanges are now much more common than filling stations.
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Old 17-03-2014, 17:09   #14
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

We carry two home size bottles and two Camping gaz ones. The Camping gaz can be swapped anywhere (nearly) but it only lasts us 20 days or so. This comes up very expensive.

Hence the two home bottles along.

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Old 17-03-2014, 19:01   #15
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Re: Size of Propane Locker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noreastern View Post
...A height of < 12" would work nice but it seems all the aluminum ones are over 13".
You can get either vertical or horizontal; the horizontal lowers the height to ~12" IIRC
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