We depend on appliances today to keep us cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We also depend on them to keep our food fresh, to heat our water for us, to cook our food, and even to warm our swimming pools.
When you think of all those roles, what comes to mind in terms of energy? Electricity? Natural gas? Solar power? Actually, you should think of propane – America’s most abundant and widely available natural fuel. Not sure about propane or its benefits for your home or business? We’ll break it down in this guide.
What Is Propane?
Propane is a clear, odorless gas produced within the earth. Does that mean it’s the same as natural gas? No, it doesn’t.
Propane is a component of natural gas. However, natural gas also includes methane, butane, and ethane. It is separated from natural gas during processing and then stored as a liquid within tanks, which is where we get its other name: liquified petroleum gas, or LPG.
Is Propane Environmentally Friendly?
Yes, propane is environmentally friendly. It has the lowest emissions of any comparable fuel source, including coal and oil, meaning that it does less harm to the environment than other options. It’s also more efficient because it burns hotter than natural gas. That means you need to burn less fuel to achieve the same output, thereby reducing your demand for resources, but also cutting down on your costs.
It’s also more efficient than electricity because propane heats twice as fast as an electric appliance can. Consider the fact that conventional heat pumps heat air to only 95 degrees, which is several degrees cooler than your body temperature, making it feel as though your home is cooler than it is. In comparison, a propane-powered furnace heats air to 120 degrees using a multi-stage burner to keep your home toasty and warm.
Other Benefits of Propane
We’ve already mentioned that propane is abundant, environmentally friendly, and highly efficient. However, it also offers a host of other benefits, including:
· Safety – While propane must be handled with care and is highly flammable, propane comes in tanks and is not delivered via gas lines that can be faulty and cause major explosions. Yes, propane tanks can explode, but only under very extreme conditions. It’s also not water-soluble. If a leak occurs, it converts back into a gas and will not mix with groundwater or soil, dissipating into the environment, instead.
· Versatility – Propane is an incredibly versatile fuel and can be used for cooking, heating water, operating appliances, and even used in vehicles.
· Longevity – Appliances represent a significant investment, whether we’re talking about a water heater, furnace, air conditioner, stove, or something else. On average, propane-powered appliances last much longer than electric-powered appliances.
· Flexibility – Another big benefit of propane is that because it is packaged in containers, it can easily be shipped almost anywhere, allowing true “off-grid” living. It’s also flexible enough for multiple needs, not just in homes, but on farms and ranches, for camping, and for commercial needs, too. And, unlike electricity in rural settings, propane is dependable. You don’t have to worry about how you’ll use your appliances or heat/cool your home if a thunderstorm knocks out the power, for instance.
Is Propane Really That Abundant?
The biggest problem with fossil fuels, aside from their environment-damaging emissions, is the fact that they are increasingly scarce. In fact, the United States exports over 10 billion gallons of propane every year and is about to begin exporting billions more. The US is the leading producer of propane in the world.
What About Maintenance?
The maintenance of a propane tank is as simple as can be. During the spring and summer growing seasons, make sure there is a clear path to your tank so that it can easily be refilled. It should also be kept clear of flammable materials and debris. It should also be located away from any falling hazards, such as tree limbs.
As a note, it’s important to avoid digging deep holes around your propane tank. The line leading from the tank to the house will be buried under the dirt, so make sure the tank is located in an area where digging won’t be necessary.
What If There’s a Leak?
Propane is odorless and colorless, but the odor is added to it for consumer safety. If you notice a smell like “rotten eggs”, there may be a leak in the gas line. If you notice a leak, first get your family a safe distance from the tank and then call 911 or the local fire department to help repair the tank.
How to Choose Your Propane Tank
Propane tanks come in a wide range of shapes and sizes to fit just about any need. The biggest consideration is going to be volume. You need a tank large enough to hold sufficient propane to power your appliances and furnace. Homes that are around 2,500 square feet with propane-powered appliances and a propane furnace will want at least 500 gallons. If your home is over 4,500 square feet, you’ll want to double that to 1,000 gallons.
Can I Hide My Tank?
Don’t like the idea of a very visible propane tank around your home? There are other options than just tucking it around back. One option is to bury the tank, which puts it completely out of sight. However, you’ll need to maintain access to the fill valve. You can also hide it behind shrubbery, tuck it away in a flower bed, or even use fencing around it to keep it out of sight. The most important consideration is that your camouflaging job does not interfere with safety and access codes.
Where Does My Propane Come From?
We produce our propane in Mont Belvieu, Texas. It’s located right off I-10 east of Houston. With a population of almost 8,000, it’s a thriving city that still manages to maintain its small-town charm.
Propane – A Flexible, Eco-Friendly Fuel Solution
As you can see, propane is one of the best choices when it comes to fuel for today’s homes and businesses. From fueling appliances to keeping homes warm in the winter and even powering vehicles, propane offers flexibility, safety, and environmental friendliness.