Liquefied petroleum gas, also called propane gas, is used as a fuel for lights and generators, as well as in heating appliances such as barbecue grills. It can also be used as a refrigerant. As a clean burning fuel, propane has the potential to reduce air pollution when used in vehicles, and is often discussed along with natural gas as an alternative – and cheaper – fuel that can help reduce our dependence on crude oil. Here are a few terms to know that are associated with liquefied petroleum.
Butane – a gas that, like propane, is removed from natural gas during purification, but can then also be converted into liquefied petroleum gas.
Tank Hood – A propane storage tank should have a protective cover called a tank hood; it is usually colored blue.
Container Purging – A process of removing all water and air from containers that will be used for propane.
Maximum Permitted Filling Density – The maximum level at which a propane container should be filled, to allow for vapor expansion. This level may be higher or lower depending on the temperature of the propane.
Carbon Monoxide – An odorless gas that can be harmful if inhaled in sufficient quantities. A propane stove or other appliance can produce carbon monoxide if it is improperly adjusted or vented.
Bottle Gas – Another term used to describe liquefied petroleum gas.
Cracking – A process in the production of crude oil that involves the breaking down of heavy hydrocarbon molecules. This process also creates liquefied petroleum.
Propane and liquefied petrol grew in popularity in the early 1900s after its discovery. Evaporating gasoline created vapors that could be converted into a liquid form. This discovery led to the first range and vehicle that could be powered by the liquefied petroleum product. Today, this liquefied petroleum powers fireplaces, grills, and water heaters. Bottled liquid petrol and butane cylinders power camping stoves, generators, and lanterns. Many appliances use this fuel form, but make sure they receive their power from liquid petroleum. If not, have them converted to prevent a fire. The combustion process, while not as clean as natural gas, fires up boilers and burners using electrical lighter systems or constant pilot lights. Distributors deliver liquefied fuel to your home or company in large trucks. A hose system pumps the fuel from the truck to the metal storage tank. The liquefied fuel travels from the tank into your home through piping that travels to each appliance. Most boiler systems, clothes dryers, and stove/ovens use electric ignitions. If the power is out, don't use the appliance. The fuel travels from the regulator that controls the flow into the ignition system where it mixes with oxygen for combustion. This flame travels to the burner orifice of the appliance or grill and creates the heat needed to operate. Order propane from a local company. The closer the distributor, the lower the prices because companies do add trucking costs to the per gallon price. The more fuel you use per year, the cheaper your costs. Because most companies base their prices on how much you use, it pays to shop around.