If you are planning to furbish your home with gas appliances such as stovetops, space heaters or tankless water heaters, your two choices are propane and natural gas. In this article, I discuss the differences between these two energy sources.
The two types of fuel are produced in diffrent ways and are made of different chemicals. Natural gas comes out of ground and becomes ready for use after being processed in a refinery while propane itself is produced in refineries as a by-product of petroleum refining. Indian Natural gas is almost completely composed of methane while propane is a different compound with a larger molecule. Both substances are made of carbon and hydrogen elements. Porpane is heavier than natural gas and it sinks to the bottom when it leaks. In contrast, natural gas will rise and accumulate in the ceiling.
Delivery is another area where propane and natural gas differ. Natural gas is sent to homes from a terminal via gas pipes. The supply is incessant. In other words, you can never run out of natural gas while things are not that easy when it comes to propane. There is no propane grid. It must be transported to your home using a delivery truck and must be stored in a large tank buried in your property. The tank can be purchased or leased from the delivery company. The good thing about this system is it allows the use of gas appliances where there is no access to natural gas. The bad thing is it forces you to keep a pressurized flammable liquid in your backyard. I have never heard of any propane tank exploding but not having that in your yard is still more preferrable.
Once delivered to your home, natural gas and propane are used at homes in exactly the same ways. Both are suitable for stovetops, tankless and tank water heaters, space heaters, patio heaters, power generators and any other home appliances. Appliances that use either one of these energy sources look quite similar but usually their internal parts are different. In other words, you cannot use a propane appliance with natural gas and vice versa. That said, some appliances such as water heaters can be converted from one energy source to another.
Finally, what makes natural gas a much better energy source than propane is the price difference. Although actual costs vary from city to city, the price of propane is at least double that of the natural gas with the same energy output. A comparison of propane and electric reveals that propane can even be more expensive that electric power in some places. This alone gives us enough reason to opt for natural gas when it is available. Especially, high-efficiency appliances such as natural gas tankless water heaters can siginificantly reduce the energy costs.