1406 Lake Shore Drive East - Ashland, WI 54806

715-682-4331 Phone    715-682-5559 Fax


Formally “Stove & Upholstery Works


The Area’s Only - FULL SERVICE - Start to Finish Hearth Shop


NG vs LP

Bottom of Form

Natural gas occurs in nature as a mixture of methane and other gases Propane is a byproduct of both petroleum refining and natural gas processing. The difference between propane and natural gas in domestic use comes down to their energy efficiency, cost, compression, storage, and risk factors. However, there is not a lot of difference when it comes to how well they perform in appliances for heating, cooking, or drying.

Propane provides more energy per unit of volume than does natural gas. While propane is usually measured in gallons (or liters), natural gas is found in cubic feet (or cubic meters). Heat is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), which is the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of 1 pound (0.5 kg) of water by 1°F (0.56°C). When the amount of energy each produces is compared, both are measured in their gaseous form.

Natural gas provides just over 1,000 BTUs per cubic foot (0.0283 cubic meters); the same volume of propane in gaseous form provides about 2,500 BTUs. This means that propane contains about 2.5 times more usable energy content. So, less propane is needed to produce the same amount of energy as natural gas.

With that said, natural gas tends to be less expensive depending on the prices of local utility companies and propane companies,

Units that burn Natural Gas may be converted to burn Propane. It depends on the unit and if that unit was designed to be converted to burn Propane. A typical conversion consists of changing the pilot orifice, burner orifice and gas valve regulator.

One difference in the physical properties of propane and natural gas is how easily they liquefy and are transported. Propane turns into a liquid at -46°F (-43°C), but when it's held under pressure, it will stay a liquid even at much higher temperatures, allowing it to be stored and carried in the portable steel tanks that can be purchased at most gas stations. Once the pressure is released, as through a valve on a barbeque grill, the propane immediately becomes a gas as long as the temperature is above -44°F (-42°C). Though most often used with portables stoves or grills, propane also can be used as a fuel for heating elements.

Natural gas can be stored in several forms, including as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquified natural gas (LNG), and in an uncompressed form. In most cases, natural gas is compressed before it can be stored or transported; it is much easier to move and extract in this form, as it can be pushed through pipes and out of valves. While it is most often supplied via a public utility company using pipes, CNG can be put into storage tanks for use in those locations where it cannot be piped in. Gas in this form is under extremely high pressure, so there is a small risk that the storage units could burst if not properly maintained.

To turn natural gas into a liquid (LNG), it must be cooled to -260°F (-162°C). At such low temperatures, it takes up even less space than CNG, so larger amounts can be put into insulated tanks and transported. Although special insulated containers must be used to keep LNG in liquid form, this type of storage is safer because any leaks will evaporate into the air.

Propane is heavier than air, which is heavier than natural gas. Both propane and natural gas will dissipate into the air if they are released in an open environment, and both can pose an explosive risk if they concentrate enough and are ignited. Because propane is heavier, however, it tends to fall to the ground, collect, and pose a greater explosive risk than natural gas, which tends to rise and dissipate into the air.

How do you restart a pilot light?

Pilot lights can go out periodically from wind or other conditions. They are usually easy to relight. Open your lower grill/louver area. There may be a flat metal plate/card laying in the bottom of the fireplace or on the back of the stove. If there is, it will have instructions on it for relighting. If there is no plate follow these simple directions. There is a knob that is marked Off, On, or Pilot. Turn the dial till the word pilot is lined up to the mark on the gas valve. Push and hold the knob in while clicking your igniter 5 to 8 times quickly till the pilot is on making sure the pilot knob is still held in. Wait 30 seconds and then let go of the pilot knob. Make sure the pilot is still on. Then turn the knob back to the on position. You are now ready to use your fireplace. The lighting instructions may vary from unit to unit, and the directions of your unit should always be followed first