Pros and Cons of Using Propane Heat at Home

Propane is one of the safest and clean sources that can be used for home heating. If you are planning to buy a house with propane heating, the one question that pops up in your mind is if it is safe to use Propane.

It is important to note that propane is one of the most efficient and affordable sources of home heat that you can have. It not only reduces your energy consumption but also reduces greenhouse emissions. In this article, we have tried to clarify all the doubts that one can have about using propane heating systems for their homes.

What is propane?

Propane, also known as Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a by-product of natural gas. In America, people usually recognize it by the name of propane only.

It is a gas normally compressed and stored as a liquid. It is nontoxic, colorless, and virtually odorless; an identifying odor is added so it can be detected. Propane is commonly used for space and water heating, for cooking, and as fuel for engine applications such as forklifts, farm irrigation engines, fleet vehicles, and buses; however, its applications are rapidly growing due to new technology developments. When used as vehicle fuel, propane is known as propane Autogas.

Where does propane come from?

Propane is primarily a byproduct of domestic natural gas processing. When natural gas is processed, propane is one of the components that is removed, along with butane and ethane. When petroleum is made into gasoline or heating oil, propane is a by-product. Therefore propane comes from either natural gas or petroleum.

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Advantages of Using Propane

Clean source of energy:

Propane is an approved clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act. Substituting propane for other fuels such as gasoline and fuel oil is an economical and viable step toward cleaner air. Using propane reduces the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and air pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.

Affordable:

Despite the fluctuating oil prices, domestic propane production is expected to continue to grow rapidly, keeping downward pressure on average propane prices relative to oil prices.

Reliable:

It is one of the most reliable sources of the energy needs of the people. During extreme weather, the electric grid could fail, but propane can continuously heat and power homes and offices.

Abundant source

It is found in abundance. The amount generated is usually more than the demand. Propane is an abundant “bridge fuel,” making it a clean-burning alternative to gasoline and diesel that can address energy challenges while long-term renewable technologies are developed.

Performance

Some people with electric heat pumps complain that the heat coming from their air return isn’t very warm. Propane heaters create higher heat temperatures, so the heat coming out of the air registers is noticeably warmer, which makes those cold winter months just a little more bearable.

Disadvantages of Using Propane

Availability

Propane is not as widely available as diesel fuel or gasoline. Relatively few gas stations have the large pressurized tanks necessary to store propane in a liquid state, so drivers of propane vehicles have to plan ahead. Home propane systems are generally filled by propane trucks, which also requires more forethought than using electrical heaters.

Safety

Propane gas is very flammable, and if it escapes into a confined space can build up and explode if exposed to a spark or flame. In a domestic setting, this means propane lines must be very carefully inspected to ensure they aren’t leaking. Damaged propane tanks can also be an explosion risk, as their internal pressure could cause them to burst.

Logistics

Most propane requires delivery. It’s not something piped to your home, so you have to wait for a truck to deliver fuel and fill your propane tank.

If you’re using a propane-fueled furnace, you will need a large tank that takes up space. Thus propane works well for rural areas such as acreages and farms with lots of space. But if you’re living on a property with limited space, propane may not be the best option for you.

Health Disadvantage

Propane comes with a downside. In particular, you run the risk of propane poisoning, a condition similar to frostbite. If you inhale or swallow propane, you can die from propane poisoning.

Also, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when you use propane. If you’re not burning propane under optimal conditions, the propane will not combust completely, and your furnace will release carbon monoxide.

Final Thoughts

Even though using propane heating at heat has some disadvantages, you will still find propane as the most affordable, clean and safe source of energy as compared to other sources.

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