Why use propane?

Propane is convenient

There are various advantages to using propane. It is convenient and the perfect solution if you are not connected to the natural gas pipelines network: all you need to use propane is road access to your home and enough space on your property to store a propane tank aboveground or underground. With propane, you control your energy supply since the tank is on your property and you arrange when to have it filled yourself (automatically or on request when the level decreases past a certain point).

Underground tank

Propane is a versatile gas

Propane is a versatile source of energy. You can use propane for non-essential appliances, like outdoor grills or lighting, or even for clothes dryers. But you can also use propane for indoor space heating or water heating. A house can run almost entirely on propane.

Illustration of what propane is commonly used for in homes.

Propane is used for outdoor lighting (1), clothes drying (2), water heating (3), indoor heating (4), fireplaces (5), outdoor grilling (6), spas (7), pool heating (8), cooking (9), refrigeration (10) and even cars (11).

Propane is efficient

Propane is an efficient source of energy. It provides more energy per unit of volume (cubic feet, for example) than natural gas. In fact, propane produces more than twice as much energy (BTUs) per cubic foot as natural gas, as seen in the table below.

 

Natural Gas

Propane

BTUs per cubic foot

1,000

2,500

Propane is cost-effective

Propane is a relatively cheap source of energy. Comparing the value for money of different energy sources depends on the price of each energy source at a given time and markets fluctuate depending on supply and demand, companies, and regions. But for simplicity, let us look at how much running a standard 200,000 BTU/hr furnace costs for each source of energy (December 2011 national average prices according to the US Energy Information Agency).

Electricity

Natural Gas

Propane

58.6 kWh required

200 cubic feet required

2.2 gallons required

11.40 cents/kWh

$9.84/1000cf

$2.856/gallon

$6.68

$1.968

$6.28

Propane is safe

Accidents hardly ever happen (34 deaths between 2003 and 2007). Propane companies receive extensive safety training, propane use (including tank installation and maintenance) is subject to federal and state regulations and simple guidelines put you out of risk of accidents.

Propane Gas Association’s manual for their propane emergencies program to train propane company employees.