After natural gas propane is the most common fuel for home heating in the United States today. Propane is a kind of gas made from petroleum which is also called LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) that can be burned in furnaces and boilers much natural gas.
The reason why propane gas is so widely used is that it can easily be transported. In areas where people live beyond the reach of natural gas lines most homes are heated by propane. The propane is stored in a big metal tank that sits out behind the house.
Propane usually costs quite a bit more than natural gas because it has to be delivered by truck. Since the cost of truck transport is added to the cost of propane, the cost will usually be much higher. Most people will find it cheaper to switch to natural gas when given the chance.
Propane Fired Boiler
A propane fired boiler will work just like a natural gas fired boiler, expect that is heated by propane rather than natural gas. The main difference the average person will notice will be a higher heating bill.
A person will also have to watch the propane supply and order more whenever it starts getting low. In very cold climates this can mean several visits from the propane truck every winter.
Not surprisingly many residents of rural areas will try to augment propane with other cheaper sources of heat such as wood and solar. Unfortunately these sources of heat are not as cheap or as reliable as propane.
Saving Money with Propane
There are several ways that a person who relies upon a propane boiler can save money on heat. Switching to a more modern energy efficient boiler can help a person save quite a bit of money because such boilers use much less propane.
If you are using a hot water boiler hooking up an aquastat, a device that adjusts water temperature to match the temperature outside can save money. Another good way to save money is to install an intermittent ignition device on the pilot light. The pilot lights on many older boilers stay on all the time which can cost a fortune if you are using propane.
Installing a smaller gas burner on a boiler will also save money because it will burn less gas. If you are using a steam boiler, a vent damper can also save a person quite a bit of money.
Converting to Natural Gas
Not surprisingly the way to save the most money would be to convert a propane fired boiler to natural gas. The problem with this is that natural gas still is not available in many rural areas and quite a few small towns.
Even if it is available, a home could be too far from the gas line to be connected to it economically. Having a gas line extended to your home can often cost much more than burning propane.
A person can find out if natural gas is available at their home by calling the natural gas utility for their area. The utility’s representatives should be able to tell a homeowner if natural gas is available and how to get it.