The perennial favorite for barbecue grills, propane is also a versatile and convenient fuel with a wide range of applications. Many Americans are turning to propane to serve as the primary energy source in their homes. There are many reasons for switching from electricity, heating oil and natural gas. Let’s drill down on the benefits of using propane as your prime household fuel.
According to the 1990 Clean Air Act, propane is safe, efficient and ecologically friendly. While it is a petroleum byproduct, it burns much cleaner than other fossil fuels. Propane contains less carbon than gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, kerosene or ethanol, thus producing significantly lower greenhouse gas levels than other options.
Propane packs a considerable punch, containing a lot more potential energy than most other burning fuels. A little can go a long way. Although propane is one of the ingredients found in natural gas, pure propane burns slower and hotter than natural gas. Propane can heat a water tank in a third of the time that an electric heat source could take.
Environmentally Friendly and a Hero in an Emergency
Propane is also safer for the environment, as it’s not toxic and won’t contaminate groundwater. If it leaks or gets spilled, it simply dissipates into the air. Since there is a lot of energy concentrated into a small amount of propane, you don’t need to burn as much of it as other hydrocarbon-based fuels, therefore less greenhouse gas gets emitted. Some propane furnaces on the market can operate at very high efficiency.
It’s usually extracted in liquid form, referred to as LPG, liquefied petroleum gas. In its liquid state, it is much easier to store and transport than gas. This makes it the perfect off-grid fuel source, and it takes on hero status when some kind of traumatic event shuts down the entire public power supply. Propane-fuelled generators are reliable and operate quietly.
Users can purchase propane by the truckload, for providing the power to heat and run a house, or in small cylinders to fuel a grill or to keep on standby in an area that is subject to severe seasonal weather events like floods or hurricanes.
Converting Your Home to Propane
If you’re considering converting to propane for heating your home and powering your appliances, first check the prices in your area. While there are myriad benefits to using propane as a primary energy source for your home, it is not the cheapest option on the market. The good news is that prices fluctuate with the cost of other petroleum products.
You will need a tank of considerable size in which to store your propane. On average, a 500-gallon tank will need to be refilled a couple of times per year. Inquire about discount suppliers, and keep in mind that renting a tank usually means you are locked into a single supplier for your propane deliveries. To maintain your ability to shop around for better propane prices, you will want to own your tank.
Before you take the plunge and convert to propane, make sure you are an informed consumer.
Storing your propane supply outdoors is a must. Propane is heavier than natural gas and not as quick to dissipate into the air. While accidents are rare, most of them are due to leakage, often from improperly maintained equipment. In its gaseous state, propane can fill an enclosed space without warning and either ignite from a stray spark or replace the available air, making it difficult to breathe.
If properly combusted, propane emits little carbon monoxide. However, if you have an older furnace that is not thoroughly burning the propane, carbon monoxide could build up to dangerous levels.
Using propane safely is quite simple:
- Store it outdoors.
- Have your tank and equipment inspected regularly.
- Keep and use propane only in a well-ventilated space.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Regardless of which energy source you use, it’s always a good idea to have the professionals from Atlantic Energy come in and perform a home energy audit. Optimize your energy efficiency and talk to us about alternative energy options. Contact us anytime at www.atlanticenergyco.com and ask us about propane conversion or any other energy questions you might have.
We have the power to help you.