What is the BTU of Propane?

Posted: May 20, 2024

Look at BTUs to Compare Propane with Electricity

There has been a big push in recent years to make electricity the main energy source for homes and businesses in the Delaware Valley and elsewhere in the country. This is based on the dubious claim that electricity is a clean and efficient energy choice.

First, energy from our electric grid is still far from clean or even dependable. As one example, more than 60% of the electricity generated in Pennsylvania is still sourced from coal and natural gas. What’s more, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the combustion of fossil fuels like natural gas and coal to generate electricity is the second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the nation.

That’s one reason why, when choosing a fuel to power your home, propane is a far better clean energy choice. When you use propane, you’re relying on a fuel that produces 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the U.S. grid.

Just as important in the propane vs. electricity comparison is energy efficiency, which has a big effect on the environment as well. Because the less energy you use, the less impact you have on the environment.

It’s important to know that propane generates more BTUs than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. That’s another reason why propane is better for the environment.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a British thermal unit (Btu) is a measure of the heat content of fuels or energy sources. It’s measured by the quantity of heat that’s required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit–at the temperature in which water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit).

What Propane BTU-Per-Gallon Tells Us

Thanks to BTUs, you can compare energy sources on an equal basis. To compare propane to electricity, you need to know that:

To make these two energy sources “equal,” divide 91,452 Btus by 3,412 Btu. Your answer will be: One gallon of propane = 27 kWh of electricity. In other words, one gallon of propane has the same amount of usable energy as 27 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Here’s one comparison to illustrate the efficiency of propane compared to electricity. A 100-watt light bulb left on for a full day–24 hours–will consume 2.4 kWh. If propane could be used to power the same light bulb. it would only use 9/100th of a gallon of propane. Read more about Propane Vs. Electricity.

BTUs and Your Propane Usage

Thanks to BTU telling us how much heat energy is in a gallon of propane, we can make estimates about how much the average homeowner will use.

But keep in mind that the amount of propane your own appliances will use depends on factors ranging from the size and efficiency of each appliance to how well it was matched to your space, as well as the quality of the installation and the frequency of maintenance.

But the following estimates shown below should give you some idea of how much each propane appliance typically uses to do its job. Please note that these appliance measurements are expressed as BTU per hour. This is a way to represent a measurement of deliverable power applicable to each propane gas appliance. (Think of it like the horsepower rating of a car). As an example, a typical furnace is about 100,000 BTU per hour.

Propane Average Usage by the Numbers

Here is a general idea of how much fuel a propane gas appliance will use per year. Keep in mind these are only estimates for average consumption, which is influenced by various factors.

Propane Delivery in Montgomery County, PA and Beyond

Family-owned and community-focused, Wilson Oil and Propane can help with all your propane needs. We offer competitive prices and would love to share more about how propane would be a great choice for your home, whether you live in Southeastern PA or anywhere else in our Delaware Valley service area.

Reach out today to learn more about propane delivery from Wilson Oil and Propane as well as our other propane services.