If you are like many people, you may not know a lot about the fuel you use to cook and heat your home. Maybe you have only heard about propane fuel from watching, “King of the Hill,” the cartoon show about Hank Hill, who sells “propane and propane accessories.” While that is a cute show, propane fuel is a great fuel.
What exactly is propane?
Propane fuel is a versatile and clean energy source that is used for a number of things including cooking and heating. It is used by people in their homes and businesses. It has agricultural and other business applications. Frequently, propane fuel is used after an emergency or natural disaster. It can be very valuable when electricity to an area has been cut off.
Propane is a small hydrocarbon. It has three carbon atoms and eight hydrogen atoms. It combines some characteristics of crude oil and natural gas. It is made through the processing of natural gas or by refining the crude oil.
At room temperature, propane is a gas. When propane fuel is transported, it is put into pressurized canisters and forced into its liquid form. Because it is a volatile substance that does not want to be a liquid, transporting it needs to be done only in containers that are specifically designed and produced for the transport of propane fuel. These propane tanks need to be handled with care and watched for any leaks.
The propane fuel that you buy for your home comes in this liquid state. The volume of propane fuel increased by about 270 times when it makes the transition from liquid to gas. When it is exposed to normal, room temperatures, it will boil and vaporize. This gas will mix with the air in your home but it is heavier than normal air.
When propane gas burns, it gives off a lot of heat. It produces as estimated 92,000 BTUs for every gallon of propane fuel. Because propane is so flammable, you have to take care when you are using it. It takes very little to ignite it. You need to be really careful with the gas and remember that smoking materials, other open flames, sparks can ignite it. Propane manufacturers add substances to the propane to give it a smell. Otherwise, it is tasteless, odorless and colorless. The addition of the smelly substance helps propane customers recognize any leaks from their tanks. If you are not sure what the smell is like, you can get a scratch and sniff sample from your propane services company. Some people describe the smell as being like rotten eggs.
Why use propane fuel?
Propane is a very safe, clean and cost efficient fuel. The American Standards Institute and the National Fire Protection Agency has developed a set of guidelines for the safe use, handling and storage of the fuel. Many states have specific regulations for how it should be used, handled and stored that conform to those guidelines. When there are accidents involving the use of propane fuel, the main reason for them is that people ignore these guidelines and use or handle the propane fuel improperly. If you have questions about how you should handle the propane fuel, you can get guidance from your propane services company.
Using smoke detectors is always a good idea when you are using any kind of gas, even safe ones like propane fuel. Additionally, carbon monoxide detectors are also highly recommended.
Many people really like cooking with propane fuel. There are several reasons:
- Chefs prefer to cook with gas because it gives them a lot more control than an electric stove. The heat from a gas stove is more even and can be switched much faster than can be done with electric stoves.
- There is no waiting with gas stoves. The heat comes on instantly. With electric ranges, you have to wait for burners to heat up. The cool down time is also eliminated.
- Cooking with propane gas is a lot cheaper than cooking with electricity.
- Cooking on a gas stove is much safer. You can see when the heat source is on or not. For some electric ranges, this is totally impossible.
Propane fuel is a very clean and safe energy source that has a number of uses in residences and businesses.