Think Propane For Your Alternative Fuel in Washington DC and Maryland
When people think about powering their homes, they often think of electricity and natural gas as the common power sources. Those are, after all, what power and heat most homes. What they’re often unaware of is that natural gas is not the only gas option. There’s also propane.
Propane has long been used in rural areas where municipal natural gas lines could not be run. By comparison, high-density urban areas rely almost entirely on natural gas, because most buildings (homes, apartments, offices) are connected to the municipal grids that supply natural gas lines. But for anyone with a home that has space to accommodate a propane tank, this wonderful gas is an option.
What Makes Propane Wonderful?
For starters, the price of propane is a lot more stable than the price of natural gas. It’s just as available as natural gas. The only difference is that it has to be delivered to an on-site tank rather than being piped to the home via underground lines. One benefit of this is that, in the event of a major natural gas line being shut down, folks with propane still have a heat source.
If you don’t live in an area already fed by natural gas lines, you can have a propane tank either buried in the yard, which Winthorpe frequently does, or in a larger yard, it can stay above ground, concealed behind a decorative fence.
In recent years, the products that use propane (heaters, stoves, etc.) have gotten a lot more efficient; more efficient, in fact, than the systems and appliances that use natural gas.
What Runs on Propane?
Nowadays, you can get almost any major heating system or appliance in a version that runs on propane, and they’re very efficient. Furnaces and back-up heating systems that run on propane beat out electricity for lower utility bills. It’s the same with water heaters, in both the traditional tanked and the tankless versions. In the kitchen, cooktops can run on propane. Clothes dryers that run on this gas are more efficient and dry the clothes better.
One fun new use for propane heat is for hydronic in-floor heating. When run by electricity, the system works harder to produce enough hot water to heat the floor and still supply the house. But with propane, there are a number of different tankless and tanked water heaters that can be used for a hydronic floor.
Outside, we’ll usually run a line right up to fire pits and grills so that they can be hooked right up to the propane line. That eliminates ever having to worry about running out of gas with a portable fuel-tank gas grill.
Propane burns more efficiently than natural gas, which allows it to put out more heat; propane has a higher heat rating than natural gas. It’s much more effective and much greener than having everything in the home run on electricity. So, despite the cost of having propane trucked out to the property to fill the on-site tank, overall it’s actually a very wallet-friendly fuel source.
Another benefit of propane is that these days there are dual-fuel heating systems that offer 95% cost efficiency. Homes can use the regular heat pump on the outside until, let’s say, the temperature drops to anywhere from 30° to 35° F. Once it gets down below that temperature, the propane kicks in, to create a nice, warm heat all the time in the wintertime, without having to switch to the costly electric backup. But it still permits the use of a heat pump when the temperature outside allows the heat pump to gather warmth from the ambient air. By working together, these systems use nature to their best advantage and keep costs low.
Some folks express concern about creating CO2 by burning gas and emitting that from their home. But what’s happening with electricity is that CO2 is just being created in a different place, at the power plant, and then it’s being transferred to the home, which is very inefficient. So, it actually is more eco-conscious to have propane or natural gas than it is to use electricity.