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What’s the Difference Between Propane and Natural Gas?

February 12, 2019

Many homeowners don’t know the difference between propane and natural gas. Most use the terms interchangeably but propane and natural gas are entirely different types of fuel. While both can be used for many of the same applications – like cooking or heating your home – the two are different in several ways.

Differences Between Propane and Natural Gas

Natural gas and propane provide numerous benefits, but they have certain differences worth noting:

  • Weight – Propane gas has a density of 1.56, which means it’s heavier than air. Natural gas is typically lighter than air. If there’s ever a propane leak, the escaping gas will not rise. Instead, it accumulates at the lowest point in the building – a basement or sewer drain, for example. 
  • Tank Storage – Natural gas is not stored in a tank. It is delivered via a network of connections and pipes. Propane, on the other hand, is stored in a storage container (either a tank or a bottle) to ensure the gas is available anywhere and everywhere you need it.
Propane is an efficient, cost-effective gas with key differences from natural gas.

Image by Charles Knowles for Shutterstock

  • Metered Installation – When it comes to natural gas, a network is a requirement. For a multi-residential area, such as an apartment building, a metered installation of propane is a possibility.
  • Indoor Installation – If you are installing propane for indoor use, the installation process is different from that of natural gas. Installation begins at the exit of the service valve of the tank or bottle. Therefore, a portion of the interior pipework is outside of the home or office.
  • Energy Efficiency – Overall, propane is a more energy efficient option for homeowners, which is becoming quite popular across the country.


Both types of fuel burn relatively cleanly, which makes them energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The downside to both, however, is that they release carbon monoxide. You should never release either in an enclosed space. Furthermore, it is crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home or business to ensure a leak does not cause any permanent harm or illness to those indoors.

Contact Northwest Propane for top-rated propane services, including delivery and installation. You can reach us toll-free by calling 972-247-6121. For more information and updates on propane, follow our blog!