Natural Gas or Propane | HVAC Heating Fuels - What is the best for you when choosing between either natural gas or propane for your heating system fuel supply? In some cases you will not have a choice between natural gas or propane since having natural gas supplied to your home or business will require a natural gas pipeline near your home or business. If there is a pipeline near your home and you do not have a meter you can call the company and most of the time they will install the meter next to your home for no cost but it is always good to ask if they are going to charge you for installing a meter for use in your residence or business because every gas company is different.
Natural Gas or Propane
If you do have a meter for your residence or business you also have the choice of using propane instead of using natural gas. The difference is that natural gas is delivered through a pipeline usually underground where propane will require you to have a tank and get propane deliveries from a propane supplier on a schedule. Other differences include the cost of propane and this varies from region to region and company to company. Prices also vary according to market conditions and they price for both and can be volatile. Propane does have more BTU’s per cubic foot.
BTU Values for Natural Gas and Propane
Propane – 2500 BTU per cubic foot
Natural Gas – 1030 BTU per cubic foot
The other difference between propane and natural gas is a safety issue. Natural gas is lighter than air while propane is heavier than air. If there is a small (or even large) leak natural gas will have a tendency to float away while propane can settle in low places under crawl spaces or basements. This is why it is important that proper installation occurs with piping regardless of whether it is propane or natural gas. Specific procedures should be followed according to the Fuel Gas Code for any piping installation whether it is propane or natural gas piping. An inspection of the piping for either type should occur at the time of maintenance checks for the furnace or other gas consuming appliances to ensure the integrity of the piping. Additionally, excessively rusty piping should be replaced and existing piping should have regular rust and corrosion prevention paint applied as needed to prevent rust and corrosion of the piping.
Natural Gas or Propane Ready
Finally, most appliances come ready for natural gas but have a conversion kit with the new appliance so the appliance can easily be converted for propane use. The gas appliance will not function properly unless it has the appropriate kit for the fuel used and the gas appliance can be dangerous if the proper kit is not used for the appropriate fuel that is available. For example, a gas furnace set up for propane will not work and can be dangerous if it uses natural gas for fuel and vice versa.; Additionally, the fuel gas code states that only the manufacture of the gas appliance can provide the appropriate kit for either propane or natural gas. When dealing with natural gas or propane conversions it is always best to call a certified service provider or professional licensed HVAC or plumbing contractor.
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Natural Gas or Propane