May 13, 2021

Difference Between LPG and Natural Gas

In this article, we’re going to be explaining some ways in which you can identify whether your home uses natural gas or LPG and the benefits and drawbacks of both.

Difference Between LPG and Natural Gas

When you receive a quote on a brand new boiler, we ask you a few questions about your home. One of these questions is ‘Which fuel heats your home?’ This helps us to work out how big the job is likely to be and allows our engineers to be better prepared.

If you are looking for more information on the best combi boiler then we have an article here.

How to Find Out Which Fuel Heats Your Home

Natural Gas

If your property uses natural gas, you will have a gas meter and you’ll also be receiving gas bills either every month or every quarter.

What is Natural Gas?

Natural Gas (methane) is a colourless and non-toxic hydrocarbon that is commonly used to provide warmth for cooking and heating. It’s incredibly popular due to its wide availability in most areas, high efficiency and clean burning. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon, producing roughly half the CO2 and one tenth of the air pollutants produced by burning coal.

Pros and Cons of Natural Gas

Pros

Natural Gas has many advantages over LPG and oil, including it’s much higher efficiency, cleaner burning and greater affordability. That’s why if your home is connected to the natural gas grid, switching to an LPG boiler is usually not recommended.

Natural Gas is delivered by pipelines, so there’s no need to purchase and receive deliveries of it in the same way you would with LPG. Methane is much lighter than propane and butane (LPG) and typically disperses in the event of a gas leak, making it advantageous over LPG from a safety perspective.

Cons

One disadvantage of natural gas is that it is not entirely efficient, meaning it still produces greenhouse emissions.

Natural gas also isn’t a renewable energy source meaning it will one day run out. If you’re concerned about reducing your carbon footprint, you might want to take a look at renewable energy heating systems.

LPG

What is LPG?

LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) is a colourless hydrocarbon gas that has been pressured into a liquid form and is commonly used fuel for heat, cookers, barbecues and vehicles. It is a popular alternative to oil heating for homes which aren’t connected to the natural gas network as it is highly efficient and low in carbon.

Normally, LPG is collected as a byproduct of the crude oil refinery process, however, it can also be extracted from natural gas streams or petroleum. LPG holds a greater amount of energy when in a liquified state, therefore making is more efficient. Due to its very low boiling point, it’s essential to store LPG in pressurised bottles and tanks to prevent it from evaporating back to gas at room temperature.

Does My Home Use LPG?

If your home uses LPG, you will usually have bottles of gas delivered to the property periodically depending on your usage.

Types of LPG

There are two different types of LPG: propane and butane. They can both be used to power your home or business’ appliances, though it is worth noting that each type has a different boiling point, so are therefore more suited for different uses.

Propane

Propane has a lower boiling temperature of -42ºC, making it ideal for use in lower temperatures and well suited for powering heating and other appliances for caravans and outdoor heaters.

Butane

Butane has a higher boiling temperature of -2ºC, making it better suited to appliances located in indoor settings. It also provides more energy per cubic metre than propane.

Pros and Cons of LPG

Pros

For off-grid homes, LPG has a number of advantages over oil, coal and electric heating systems. For example, whilst LPG usually costs more than heating oil, it offers a much greater energy return due to its high efficiency, actually saving you money in the long run.

LPG also produces a lot less carbon when burnt, helping us work towards a cleaner environment.

Cons

Whilst LPG is a cleaner burning fuel than oil, it still isn't entirely carbon free. If you’re concerned about reducing your carbon footprint, you might want to take a look at renewable energy heating systems.

LPG is only recommended for off-grid homes as it is a more expensive fuel than natural gas and must be delivered and stored in a tank somewhere on your property. If you run out before your next scheduled delivery, you might have to pay an emergency delivery fee.

How to Store LPG

Usually, homes with LPG heating will purchase BPG bottles in bulk (or one big bulk cylinder) to be stored in tanks outside of the property as this works out to be more cost effective than buying the bottles individually.

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