Propane engines in the home or in the office?
It depends on your preference.
According to a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics, propane is the most popular form of propane used in the US, with the average American home using about 9.5 gallons of gas per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Propane has a long history of being used in homes for a variety of reasons, including cooking, lighting and heating, according a report by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The U.K., for example, has been using propane since the 1920s, and the country is still the biggest user of the fuel in the world.
“The primary reason why people use propane indoors is because it is relatively easy to get to and has a low maintenance cost,” says Andrew Gifford, a senior vice president at propane manufacturer NFEI.
“But it is also more efficient at the home.”
He adds that propane’s low maintenance costs can be partially offset by higher temperatures in the house, and in some areas, such as hot summers, people may choose to put out a fire or a fire extinguisher for a few hours before starting a new house.
So while propane could potentially be a good choice for people who are more comfortable cooking outdoors, it is not as reliable as regular fuel.
The main downside to propane: It can burn quickly.
“If you are working in a gas-powered environment, it can be a little bit harder to get it going, and if you have a high temperature and a big fire that is already raging, you might not be able to get the gas going in a timely manner,” says Giffords.
“That is not necessarily the case if you are using propanes indoors, which has a much higher maintenance cost.”
Propane is also not as durable as other fuels, such a diesel or natural gas.
If your home has a propane heater, you’ll want to check to make sure it is working properly.
If you want to use propanes outside, you need to keep in mind that they are less efficient than other fuels and will burn at higher temperatures.
“It takes a long time to heat a stove or a gas fire and if it’s going to be your primary source of energy, it’s not going to burn as well as a natural gas or diesel,” says Dan Rieckhoff, a professor of energy engineering at the University of Massachusetts.
“In addition, it will take longer to cool down a stove.
So you are going to want to make it a lot less efficient and less durable, as well.”
Another downside of propanes is that it can leak, which is particularly a problem in areas with hot temperatures, such those in the winter, when the air is hot and the heaters and gas tanks can leak.
It also takes longer to heat water in a propylene-based home.
“You don’t want to have an indoor propane system unless you are absolutely sure you have your fire extinguishers in place,” Giffot says.
But if you live in an area with lots of outdoor heating and ventilation, there are other options.
“I think the big thing that propans can do is make a really good fuel, particularly for people in colder climates,” Rieffhoff says.
“There are so many things you can do to make propanes less expensive.”