Comparing Two Popular Energy Choices
What is the difference between propane and natural gas? Surprisingly, we hear that question quite often—even from people that use one, or both, of these fuels in their homes right now! And to be fair, it’s understandable given that propane- and natural gas-burning equipment work very similarly.
Indeed, propane comes from the same wells that extract natural gas. It’s a coproduct of natural gas production. Some propane comes from crude oil refining, too.
One of the biggest differences between the two is this: Propane is transported and stored under pressure as a liquid, then vaporizes for use in home equipment. Natural gas is delivered through utility pipes in a gaseous form.
Once you understand the physical differences between natural gas and propane, we can begin to figure out which fuel is better for your home:
1. Comparing the Price of Natural Gas and Propane
It’s somewhat challenging to compare natural gas and propane prices for several reasons:
- They are measured differently. Natural gas is measured in cubic feet, and propane is measured in gallons. If you want to do the math, 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas produces about the same amount of energy as 11.2 gallons of propane.
- All energy prices are in flux. Natural gas prices in Southern New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania have increased as much as 25 percent this year. Propane prices have been more stable because it is almost entirely U.S.-made, which helps to keep costs a bit lower.
- Further, to determine affordability, you also need to consider how efficient each fuel is in generating heat.
2. Comparing Heat Production for Natural Gas and Propane
This isn’t ambiguous at all—propane produces much more heat than natural gas. In fact, it produces more than double the Btu’s per cubic foot! 2,516 Btu’s for propane compared to 1,030 Btu’s for natural gas.
For sheer heating power in boilers, furnaces, water heaters, stoves, gas logs and clothes dryers, propane has a clear advantage.
3. Installation Costs for Natural Gas and Propane
Again, propane has a considerable advantage over natural gas when it comes to installation.
Firstly, you need access to a utility to receive natural gas and connecting your home to it can cost $10,000 or more in our part of the country.
Conversely, Blue Flame and other full-service propane companies can install a propane tank on your property quickly—and for less money. Purchasing your own tank can cost less than a natural gas hookup, and leasing from a propane company is even more affordable!
As a bonus, having your own fuel tank means you control your own fuel supply. You don’t need to worry about poor utility infrastructure causing an outage at your home.
4. Environmental Impact of Propane Versus Natural Gas
Natural gas and propane both have incredibly low carbon emissions. But propane is also methane-free. Natural gas is mostly composed of methane, which can be up to 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And propane’s superior energy efficiency further reduces your home’s carbon footprint.
From Cherry Hill, NJ, to Doylestown, PA—and countless other communities—Blue Flame has become the most dependable propane delivery provider in the region! Get in touch with our team to become a customer this season.