Natural Gas Vs Propane-What Are The Advantages?
Natural gas and propane are two of the most well-known choices for heating your home or office. You should get the pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, of each before picking one or switching to one. Which best fits your home and life?
When deciding on a fuel for your home, safety, availability, cost, efficiency and the environment are some of the factors to weigh.
Key Comparisons of Natural Gas and Propane
- Both fuels are fossil fuels. Propane is part of natural gas. It is separated out of natural gas in processing.
- Natural gas is delivered, in large quantities and into a home, in pipelines. Propane is stored in canisters or storage tanks. With natural gas, once your home is set up with the right infrastructure, the fuel is effectively automatic. With propane, you will need to purchase and bring in, or have delivered, propane on a regular basis.
- Natural gas is clean burning and gives off low emissions, especially compared to oil or coal, but it is a greenhouse gas when released into the environment. Propane has no toxicity to the environment.
- More than 95% of propane used in the U.S. is produced in North America.
Safety Concerns of Natural Gas and Propane
First, propane and natural gas are both highly flammable fuels. Anything to do with installation, new parts, new appliances, fuel lines, leaks or construction and propane or natural gas should be done by professionals or utility companies.
Natural gas accidents are typically more dangerous and create a larger scope of damage than propane. Natural gas lines can span whole neighborhoods, towns or run for miles. A propane tank or unit on a property is a self-contained piece of equipment. Propane is highly flammable and can cause an explosion and fire, though.
Natural gas dissipates into the air and atmosphere quicker than propane so a leak or open fuel is safer with natural gas in that instance.
Cost Calculations of Natural Gas and Propane
The first item on the checklist here is, do you live in an area where natural gas and/or propane are options? Then, you’ll want to consider this, are the heating and cooking appliances in your home plumbed in to use it? If your home, and all the appliances, are not compatible with natural gas, running a new pipeline to your property, converting appliances and any other construction could cost you thousands depending on the options.
Once converted and in use, natural gas is great because it’s very convenient and you pay for exactly what you use. With propane, delivery is going to be part of the cost. This will vary by area of the country and companies which can provide service, along with the price of propane itself.
As of Oct. 2021, natural gas cost $5.57 per 1,000 cubic feet and propane cost $2.66 per gallon.
Power and Efficiency
Propane is scientifically speaking, the more powerful and efficient fuel between the two. One cubic foot or propane gives 2,516 BTUs of energy compared to a cubic foot of natural gas providing 1,030 BTUs. So apples to apples, propane is more energy-efficient and less expensive.
However, if natural gas prices are cheaper at any given time, or for any given location, those factors can make natural gas less expensive.
For instance, if natural gas costs $15 per 1,000 cubic feet – meaning it powers a little more than 1,000,000 BTUs, then this is equal to about 11.2 gallons of propane. If propane costs $2.50 or more a gallon in this example, it will cost more than natural gas.
Both natural gas and propane are considered cleaner and eco-friendly fuels. Natural gas is a greenhouse gas. It gives off far fewer emissions than coal. It’s toxicity is higher than propane.
Propane is a “green fuel” and is not toxic to the environment. A propane leak does not harm local ground or water.
Either natural gas or propane could be a smarter, more economic and more convenient choice for your home or business property.
Propane delivers more BTUs, is even cleaner than natural gas and is able to be a portable, flexible fuel source.
What is readily available in your area or neighborhood could help you make up your mind. Knowing the positives of each, knowing the extent of what a conversion project will be, and contacting experts, will help you make up your mind.
At South End Heating & Air we specialize in gas connection and fire place install for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your thermostat’s settings. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? give us a call 704-684-5339