This article is your complete guide to knowing the difference between propane vs. natural gas. Both of these methods of heating your home are extremely popular across the US. Which one to use for your home depends completely on your home’s set up and your personal needs. You also may have appliances that use these methods of heating such as a gas stove with propane. Some households have the option to use either method. Making it even more crucial to know if either natural gas vs liquid propane is better for your home. Unfortunately, there isn’t one straight answer. This is why we have created this helpful guide to help you know more about your gas at home.
In this guide, we will break down what is propane, the differences between the two heating methods, and which is cheaper! So continue reading if you’re in the market to save money and make wiser decisions about your heating bill.
Here at The Energy Professor, we want to give you the information you need to not only save money on your energy bill but to also become more energy efficient. We hope find this post helpful! And makes it easier for you to know more about propane the same as natural gas. Be sure to also check out our one-of-a-kind energy savings calculator!
What is Propane?
To fully understand the difference between gas and propane is to know what propane is. While propane is a fossil fuel, it is not a natural gas. It also derives from the opposite source of green energy. So, exactly what is propane? Propane is a gas that is compressed and stored in liquid form. Not to be confused with gasoline, propane is produced from liquid components recovered during natural gas processing. These components include ethane, methane, propane, butane, and heavier hydrocarbons. For homeowners, if you use propane stoves for cooking, you’ll notice that unlike natural gas propane is sold in portable canisters. It can also be delivered to your home and stored in a permanent storage tank.
What is Propane Made From?
- Propane is made of a few different components. The makeup consists of ethane, methane, propane, and butane, and heavier hydrocarbons. While all of these components are made during natural gas processing, propane, and butane are also produced during crude oil refining.
Now that we have covered the basics of propane, we need to cover is propane the same as natural gas.
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Is Propane the Same as Natural Gas?
While propane is a product of fossil fuels like natural gas, they are not the same. As a homeowner, knowing the answer to propane and natural gas the same can help you understand your energy bill more thoroughly! In terms of heating your home, you have a couple of different options. The most popular being electricity, natural gas, and liquid propane. When using propane gas for home, propane furnaces convert propane stored in a tank into a gas. This gas then moves warmth across a heat exchanger. When this element reaches a set point, a blower will then transfer the heat across the heat exchanger before it is distributed through the duct system.
What is the Difference of Propane and Natural Gas?
- The main difference between the two is that propane is compressed into a liquid form and natural gas remains in its gaseous state. Propane is also typically delivered to the home by truck and stored in a permanent storage tank on the property. Natural gas, however, is delivered to the home via a pipeline.
So, what is natural gas used for in homes? Anything you need heat for! Think of hot water, cooking, or drying your clothes. All of these activities require natural gas or propane. This is why one of the biggest debates when buying appliances is whether gas or electricity is better. Unlike propane, natural gas is not stored in tanks. This means there are no natural gas tanks for home. Natural gas is produced from onshore and offshore natural gas oil wells and coal beds.
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Natural Gas Vs Propane Gas – Which is Cheaper?
If your home has the option to support both natural gas and propane, cost is typically the most important concern. In order to find out the difference in propane and natural gas costs, we have to take a look at how they’re priced. Natural gas is priced per cubic foot, while propane is priced per gallon. It is difficult to directly compare prices due to continually fluctuating prices for both methods. But if you were to compare per unit, natural gas is cheaper than propane. Not only is it cheaper, but natural gas is also the preferred method of heating in the US.
Why is Natural Gas a Preferred Method of Heat?
- Safety. Lighter than propane, natural gas dissipates more quickly than propane when released into the atmosphere. So, you could claim that natural gas is a little safer than propane which takes a little longer to dissipate.
Homeowners also look at which burns cleaner propane or natural gas. To find this out, we need to compare the BTU. This stands for British Thermal Units and is the standard measurement for heating efficiency. While you can have more energy-efficient appliances and a lower kWh rate, propane will still burn cleaner. This is another one of the major differences between propane and natural gas. Propane has a BTU of 2490 while natural gas’s BTU is around 1030. That’s almost double BTU for propane! This means that even if you’re paying more for propane per unit, the fuel will still burn cleaner. It will also heat your home more efficiently.
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Is Propane Cheaper Than Gasoline?
Since propane is a liquid, it is often compared to gasoline. This often gets people asking, is propane cheaper than gasoline? The cost of gasoline is typically higher than propane. Propane is also a greener way to heat your home. But when used for the purpose of running your vehicle, gasoline has a better average fuel economy. Some argue that propane’s lower cost per gallon allows for cheaper operating costs overall. But when using propane for a vehicle, you have to consider that any cost savings related to lower fuel pricing need to be evaluated with the cost of the vehicle conversion.
What are the 3 Con’s to Propane?
- Propane produces fewer BTUs per gallon than oil heating.
- Propane-burning equipment often costs more to purchase than heating oil-based systems.
- Propane is combustible in the air, so precautions are needed to operate the equipment safely.
You should also think twice about switching to propane if your house runs on natural gas. Switching from one fuel source to another may require the mass purchasing of new appliances. You would have to invest in a new furnace, stove, grill, and other appliances that need heat. In some cases making expensive infrastructure upgrades is also necessary. Even if natural gas does turn out to be cheaper for your home, this investment can take years to recoup.
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Propane VS Natural Gas FAQ
Q: How do I Know When it’s Time to Refill a Propane Tank?
A: You should change out or refill your tank when the tank feels light, Your Gauge Tells You It’s Low, The Flame Sputters On Your Propane Appliances, It’s Been a Few Months, The Tank Fails the Hot Water Test, Your Grill Won’t Light, or when You’re Thinking About the Changing Seasons.
Q: What is a BTU?
A: BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. This is the standard measurement for heating efficiency. While most appliances are marked as energy efficient, the way to tell how efficient is to know the BTU.
Q: Is Liquid Propane the Same as Natural Gas?
A: No, as the name states, liquid propane is a liquid fuel. Natural gas is a fuel that is burned in its gaseous state. However, both are derivatives of fossil fuels and are used as a heat source.
Q: Are there Natural Gas tanks for homes?
A: No, there are no permanent natural gas tanks allowed on private property. Unlike propane, natural gas is delivered via pipeline from your supplier. There is no need to refill or purchase more natural gas. It is delivered to you upon your use.
Q: What is Propane Gas Used For?
A: Propane is used for an array of heating, cooking, and drying appliances. Anything from your stove and oven, to your dryer or furnace can all run on propane. The most common use for this liquid is grilling.
Do you Need Cheaper Electricity?
If you’ve taken the time to understand the information on your bill and discovered you’re paying more than you’d like for your electricity, have you looked around for a cheaper deal? The Energy Professor has a wealth of information on ways to save on your utilities, including details of top deals that could significantly reduce your monthly or quarterly electricity bills.
We hope you found this article helpful! If you are looking for ways to increase the energy efficiency and sustainability in your home be sure to take a look at all of the latest renewable energy options in your area. The Energy Professor helps residential and small business owners find qualified energy suppliers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts