How to (Safely) Run Gas Appliances From Small Propane Tanks


Are you trying to hook your propane tank to a gas appliance? Then make sure you do the job safely and confidently by following the steps mentioned in this article!

Here’s how to run gas appliances from small propane tanks:

  1. Secure the propane tank
  2. Connect the gas hose firmly to the regulator
  3. Connect the regulator firmly to the valve
  4. Open the valve so the gas flows
  5. Check the connections for leaks
  6. Test your gas appliance

Connecting a propane tank to a gas appliance is quick and easy. But when dealing with gas, it is crucial that you get the job done properly. For help connecting your gas line, propane tank, and regulator, follow the detailed instructions listed below.

Before we get started, we need to note that tank mounted propane heaters should NEVER be used inside a living space, and only in a garage or workshop with adequate ventilation. Propane needs oxygen to burn and emits carbon monoxide, which means the heater can both suffocate and poison you.

How to (Safely) Run Gas Appliances From Small Propane Tanks

Are you planning on using a small propane tank to run your gas appliance? Perhaps you want to connect your tank to one of the following:

  • A wall heater
  • A generator
  • An outdoor grill

Connecting a propane tank is a simple job. But when you’re dealing with gas, there is nothing worse than feeling unsure about what you’re doing. That’s why the following instructions will help you to hook-up your tank with confidence. Find out how to safely connect yours using the steps below!

small propane tank
Secure the tank so it doesn’t topple over or move during bad weather

1.   Secure the Propane Tank

The first thing you need to do is secure your propane tank. Secure it so that it does not topple over or get blown about during inclement weather.

Note that all propane gas grills have two notches on the bottom shelf that accepts the metal ring on the bottom of the tank. This prevents the tank from sliding off the grill, but the tank can still topple over. Most modern grills include a tank retainer of some sort, like a metal bar that snaps over the valve. This allows the grill to be moved without disconnecting the tank.

If you are in an RV, you can easily secure your propane tank to the bar on the back of the RV. Twist the lever to fix your tank into place.

If you are not in an RV, you should place your tank on level ground. You can use other weatherproof materials to fix your propane tank into place.

2.   Connect the Gas Hose Firmly To the Regulator

You will need to connect your gas hose to a regulator. This is a normal gas regulator that you can pick up at any good hardware store. Once you have your hose and regulator to hand, you can follow the steps below.

  • Soften your gas hose. Is your gas hose brand new? If so, then it could be stiff and difficult to work with. You can make it more manageable by warming it up inside or using an electric heat cable. Once it’s warmer, it should be easier for you to connect it to your regulator.
  • Slide the hose clip loosely onto the end of the hose.
  • Push the hose onto the outlet nozzle of the regulator. Slide the hose as far as it will go.
  • Firmly tighten the hose clip. Do this by turning the clip clockwise.

Be aware that most propane tanks and valves have left-hand threads. This is to let you know you’re working with gas. Make sure to twist in a clockwise (instead of the normal counterclockwise) direction. Many users don’t read the tanks instructions and end up using too much force, causing damage.

3.   Connect the Regulator Firmly To the Valve

The next important step is to connect your new regulator to the propane valve. This step is really simple. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Push the regulator’s hose onto the nozzle of the propane tank. Slide it as far as it can go.
  • Screw the nut around clockwise to tighten the propane tank to the valve. Make sure it is nice and secure.

4.   Open the Valve So the Gas Flows

Next, you should open the valve on the propane tank. Open the valve by turning it counter clockwise. Once you have done this, the propane will begin to flow out of the tanks.

5.   Check the Connections for Leaks

Here is the most important step of them all – checking the connections for leaks. But there is no need to fear this step as if it is done properly, your propane tank will be safe to use.

  • Open the packet of liquid that came with the regulator. When you buy a regulator, it should come with a packet of goo. This slimy substance – a lot like dish soap will help you spot any leaks. If your regulator didn’t come with this, you can use ordinary dish soap to conduct the leak test.
    • NOTE. Use dish soap instead of washing up liquid. Washing up liquid doesn’t work as well as dish soap because it is low sudsing.
  • Spread the liquid onto the regulator connection to the propane tank. If the connection begins to bubble, there is a leak.
  • Spread the liquid over the connection from the gas hose to your gas appliance. If the connection begins to bubble, there is a leak.

NOTE. If you see bubbling around the connections then something is wrong. You should turn off the flow of propane from the tank immediately at the valve.

Once you have turned off the flow of gas it will be safe for you to test for a leak. Below is a list of areas where leaks are most commonly found.

  • Connections
  • Rubber O ring or the regulator
  • Gas hose
  • Valve stem
  • Bleed screw

Do you suspect that there is a leak in one of the above-mentioned areas? Then check out the fixes mentioned below.

Safety Check AreaHow to Fix a Leak
ConnectionsCheck the connection of the valve to the regulator and the gas line to your gas appliance. Make sure that you tighten both connections properly before proceeding. You should also ensure that the connections are free from obstructions of dirt.
Rubber O Ring and RegulatorIf your regulator has a rubber O ring, check it is in good working order. The regulator should be free from nicks, chips, and dirt for it to work properly.
Gas HoseThere should not be any cracks or splits in the hose. If it is damaged, replace it.
Valve StemConduct a dish soap test on the valve stem. If it bubbles, the stem may need replacing. It is good practice to replace your valve stem every ten years. But in some cases, the stem may need replacing earlier.
Bleed ScrewHave you been using your propane tank for a while now? Every propane tank has a bleed screw in the valve that has to be opened to refill the tank. This screw can become loose over time. If yours does, you will have to replace it.

6.   Test Your Gas Appliance

Once you are sure there aren’t any leaks, the last thing to do is to test your gas appliance. To test your appliance do the following.

  • Open the valve on the propane tank counterclockwise. This will make the gas start flowing out of the tank
  • Turn on your gas appliance to check that it is working properly.

How Much Propane Does a Gas Cooktop Use?

Are you heading out to buy a propane tank? Or perhaps you’re doing the calculations to see the most economical way to supply your cooktop with gas. Whatever the case, here are all the numbers done for you.

A gas cooktop uses 65,000 BTU per hour. It burns between 5 and 10 gallons of propane a month. This means it burns between 0.007 and 0.014 gallons of propane per hour. NOTE. These numbers will vary depending on how frequently you use your gas cooktop. They will also vary depending on the age and efficiency of your cooktop.

Now I know what you’re thinking, what about my other gas appliances? How much propane will they use? Take a look at the information below to find out.

Gas ApplianceBTU Per HourGallons of Propane Per Hour
Gas Cooktop65,000Between 0.007 and 0.014
Pool Heater425.0004
Tankless Water Heater40,0000.063
Gas Tumble Dryer35,000Approximately 0.038

NOTE. These calculations may vary based on the size, age, and efficiency of your gas appliances.


Running a gas appliance from a small propane tank could seem like a daunting task. Why? Well, you have to get the connections right or you could be in a whole lot of trouble. But don’t let that put you off! I am sure this article has helped you to safely hook-up your gas appliance thanks to its easy instructions.

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Have a great day!


Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more