The Difference Between Propane and Natural Gas

The Difference Between Propane and Natural Gas

Do you know what the difference is between propane and natural gas?

Let’s start with British Thermo Units BTU. A cubic foot of propane generates approximately 2,500 BTU of heat. A cubic foot of natural gas generates approximately 1,000 BTU of heat. Propane is about 1.5 times heavier than air, compared to natural gas which is about .6 times the weight of air. So what does all of this mean to you? It means the gas piping for propane and natural gas will be sized differently. Since propane burns hotter than natural gas, the pipe sizing for a propane system will be of smaller diameter.

A house that has gas piping sized for propane will not be adequately sized for natural gas, when converting from propane to natural gas, the pipe size will most likely need to be upgraded to a larger pipe size diameter to attain the same BTU acquired with propane. When it comes to gas application the orifice on propane application is smaller than those used for natural gas. These orifices will have to be changed along with adjusting jets and pressure regulators.

We recommend using a qualified HVAC contractor to convert your furnace from propane to natural gas. Water heaters are usually not convertible, and will have to be replaced. Gas log fireplaces and gas range stoves are usually convertible with the use of a conversion kit.

All gas piping should be pressure tested to assure there are no leaks. To upgrade, replace, or add a new gas appliance give Eric with Accro Plumbing a call at 417-839-1417. We will make sure it is installed correctly and safe.