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I just moved to a home where there is natural gas being piped into the garage for a garage heater. I was thinking of re-tooling my burners with jet/orifices that can handle the lower pressure of the natural gas v. the propane tank hook ups I use now.

Does natural gas have more or less BTUs than the propane? Would you expect a longer or shorter "time to boil" if I switch over?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If I'm reading these figures correctly, Natural Gas contains 23,000 BTUs/Lb. vs Propane's 21,000 BTUs/Lb. How the propane council baka references comes up with their numbers likely has more to do with marketing spin (measuring energy density by volume, not mass) than science, I suspect. How effectively you can utilize that and what it's going to cost you is another thing entirely, but as far as I can tell, Natural Gas is more energy dense by weight than Propane.

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Natural gas is pretty darn cheap, from what I've read about 5 times cheaper than propane. It's also supposed to be a little safer. Since it is lighter than air it can't pool up and ignite like propane can. –  Room3 Feb 8 '11 at 17:27
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ha, nice. i didn't catch their method of measurement, but a few other sites i looked at quoted similar numbers. of course, that's why i pointed out that they have an interest in selling propane. –  baka Feb 8 '11 at 18:26
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@Room3 not to mention most folks have the option of piping natural gas in. Propane generally requires either swapping out 20# tanks at the gas station of having someone fill a large on-site tank. –  theraccoonbrew Feb 8 '11 at 18:52
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When you convert a propane burner to natural gas you will loose some heating power. Propane regulators dispense gas from 10-40 psi where your natural gas coming from your home meter is usually at 1 psi sometimes 2 psi in newer developments. –  Northern Brewer Chris Feb 8 '11 at 19:43
    
I'm accepting this answer because its good and the comments really help too. –  brewchez Oct 21 '11 at 3:36
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Brought to you by the propane council

It looks like propane is more than twice as energy dense as natural gas.

I do not know if that means a 100kBTU burner would be a less-than 50kBTU burner when using the different fuel, though.

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