Is Propane or Natural Gas Better for Heating?
The Important Factors to Know When Comparing Two Popular Options
A chilly, snowy southern Maine winter is no joke! So, when it comes to heating your home throughout the season, gas is a common and popular option for a variety of reasons. But if you have a choice between utilizing propane or natural gas, how do you know the best option for your home? While there are similarities, there are important differences to distinguish. It’s smart to consider the benefits and downsides of both.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the bigger points:
Understanding the Benefits of Propane Heating
- Propane is super-efficient at home heating.
- Propane doesn’t produce significant carbon dioxide emissions; in fact, propane is approved as a “clean fuel” by the US Government.
- Propane heating equipment requires less maintenance and lasts longer than heating oil-fueled equipment.
- Propane is nontoxic and nonpoisonous, so it doesn’t contaminate groundwater or soil if it leaks—which means propane tanks can be safely buried out of sight.
- Propane is super versatile and can be used to power other in-home appliances such as ranges, dishwashers, laundry machines, and water heaters as well as grills and fireplaces. It can also be used to power a generator that will keep your home running when the electric lines are down.
- Propane gas is easy and safe to transport because it gets compressed into a liquid—you may have transported it yourself when you’ve exchanged or refilled a portable cylinder for your grill.
- All the propane used in the U.S. is produced in North America. Nearly every gallon of propane you buy contributes to America’s energy independence.
- Propane produces twice BTUs of natural gas—you need to burn less of it to achieve the same amount of heat.
What are the Cons of Propane Heating?
- Propane-burning equipment often costs more to purchase than heating oil-based systems.
- Propane is combustible in air, so precautions are needed to operate the equipment safely.
Understanding the Benefits of Natural Gas
- Natural gas is very efficient at heating.
- Because natural gas is delivered to your home via a pipeline, you don’t have to worry about scheduling any deliveries.
- Like propane, you can use it to run a range of appliances, including ranges and water heaters, as well as to heat your home.
What are the Cons of Natural Gas Heating?
- Connecting to natural gas can be costly or outright impossible, depending on how far you are from the service line. It also requires excavation that can be destructive to your yard and garden.
- Aging infrastructure can result in leaks that are hard identify and even more challenging to repair, while at the same time utilities and public utility commissions argue over who foots the bill. Most utilities would like to pass the cost on to customers, which is detrimental.
- Leaking natural gas contains methane, a greenhouse gas, and harmful to the environment.
- Old, undersized pipelines result in supply concerns when temperatures plunge, and demand goes up.
- Natural gas is less efficient than propane, which delivers more than twice the BTUs. This means you’d need more volume of natural gas to produce the same heat as propane.
What About Energy Costs?
Both natural gas and propane are subject to market fluctuations that will affect price. In addition, a dollar-for-dollar comparison is tricky, because propane is measured by the gallon while natural gas is measured in cubic feet.
When you convert the units and compare average rates, usually natural gas usually looks less expensive, but the comparison is still misleading. Because propane delivers more energy, you need twice as much natural gas to achieve the same amount of heat.
If You’re Looking for a New Propane Supplier…Call PitStop Today!
The cost of every form of fuel and energy continues to be volatile. The cost of switching out equipment should also play a role in your choice. If your heating system is new and working well, you may be better off sticking with it.
That said, if you are replacing your system or building a new home, PitStop’s team of propane professionals will help you with the installation of everything from your propane storage tank to in-home heating equipment. We’ve also got your back with multiple options to help you manage your costs, including monthly budget plans that give you level payments, as well as pre-buy and fixed price options that can help eliminate price volatility all year long.
We also offer great value! We make it easy to do business with us with convenient automatic delivery service and friendly and responsive customer service reps to take your call.
There’s a reason homeowners and businesses in southern Maine have trusted PitStop Propane and Fuels for over thirty years to keep their homes comfortable all winter long.
We can help you make the right choice! Contact us today to learn more.