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Natural Gas or Liquid Propane?

February 28, 2018

There are no easy answers. The home generator you choose will depend on the unique needs of your home and those who are living in it.

Some homeowners, due to their location, have specific needs when it comes to home generators. At Northside Power we have generators that operate on gasoline, diesel, liquid propane, and natural gas. Which power source is right for you?

Here are a few pros and cons for the two gases:

Natural gas

Pros: Less expensive. Delivered right to your home or place of business through a pipeline.

Cons: Considered a greenhouse gas.

Liquid Propane

Pros: Not considered a greenhouse gas. More portable because of its liquid state. Provides more energy.

Cons: Will contribute to pollution if left unused. Cost more than natural gas. Needs to be refilled.

What is the chemical difference?

Both natural gas and liquid propane are fossil fuels. They are both produced domestically. The list of properties these two gases have in common mostly ends here.

Propane is most conveniently stored in a liquid form. Natural gas is a gas made of several different gases from deep down in the earth. Propane is part of natural gas in its raw state. It is separated during natural gas processing and petroleum refining.

Natural gas is:

  • Methane (CH4),
  • Ethane (C2H6), or
  • Propane (C3H8).

What does that mean for the average user?

A common consideration for both of the gases is during a cookout. Natural gas grills are often restricted to only being used in the backyard where they are hooked up to the gas source. Grills using propane are much more portable. Propane grills are more popular for tailgating and off-grid camping trips.

Another consideration an average person will face these two gases is if they are deciding on which of the home generators is right for their home. Propane provides more energy than natural gas, but, as far as generators are concerned, natural gas is more convenient because it doesn’t need to be refilled.

Natural gas does not need to be refilled. It won’t run out during a power outage. Your generator will still receive regular maintenance because modern generators are equipped with self testing systems that will alert you, and your generator provider, to any issues.

Propane is portable and easy to store in a tank. The most convenient access to natural gas is through a pipeline to your home. For this reason, those looking to generate electricity off-grid prefer propane powered appliances and equipment.