Fight the MA Clean Heat Standard Today! LEARN HOW

Is Propane the Same as Natural Gas?

Written on: May 13, 2024

Count on Williams Energy for reliable propane delivery and service

propane vs. natural gas Braintree, MA Propane and natural gas, often clumped together in the category of fuels used in heating and powering homes, have more contrasts than most realize.

For homeowners evaluating their energy options, understanding these distinctions is critical. This comprehensive comparison will break down everything you need to know about these two common household fuels, including their composition, utility, cost, safety considerations, and environmental impact.

What is propane, and where does it come from?

Propane, also known as LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), is a byproduct of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. It is stored under pressure to remain a liquid and becomes gaseous when released. Its most prominent feature is its portability, as it can be transported and stored almost anywhere, making it a popular choice in areas without access to natural gas pipelines.

What is natural gas?

Natural gas, as the name suggests, occurs naturally and is composed primarily of methane. It is a fossil fuel that is found deep beneath the earth’s surface. Often, it is used “as is” after processing to remove impurities and doesn’t require the kind of storage and handling that propane does due to its robust pipeline infrastructure in many parts of the world.

How are propane and natural gas used in homes?

Both propane and natural gas are versatile energy sources used in a variety of residential applications. They are commonly used for space heating, water heating, cooking, and even powering generators during power outages. The shared applications make for an easy and familiar transition between the two for many homeowners.

Comparing propane and natural gas

The composition of these gases drives their differences in heating properties. Propane, for its part, possesses energy efficiencies that are slightly gentler on the environment than natural gas, with about 3% more BTUs than a comparable unit of natural gas. This means that less propane is needed to produce the same amount of energy able to heat your home or water, which equates to potentially lower emission levels.

Evaluating the cost difference between propane and natural gas can be complex, as it involves factors such as regional pricing, energy efficiency of appliances, and even contract terms for propane delivery. Typically, natural gas is less expensive per unit of energy. However, for areas unable to connect to gas pipelines, where propane must be delivered, market competition can sometimes balance out the cost between the two.

With the growing focus on environmental sustainability, the impact of household energy choices is more significant than ever. Propane burns cleaner and produces fewer carbon emissions per BTU than natural gas.

At the end of the day, the decision to use propane or natural gas in your home is a personal one that should take into account your individual circumstances, preferences, and priorities. Whether you value the convenience and cost-effectiveness of natural gas or the energy independence and versatility of propane, making an informed choice will benefit you in the long run.

With dependable propane delivery and expert propane appliance services from Williams Energy, you can enjoy all that propane can do for your South Shore home. Become a Williams Energy customer today!