How Many BTUs Are in Propane?

How Many BTUs Are in Propane?

Written on: November 15, 2021

Propane BTU-Per-Gallon More Powerful than Electricity

btu use of propane georgiaThere has been a push in recent years to make electricity the energy of choice for Georgia homes–based on the dubious claim that it is the right choice for reducing our carbon footprint.

Fact Check: When you use propane, you’re relying on a fuel that produces 43% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the grid.

Just as important in the propane vs. electricity debate is the topic of energy efficiency, which has a big effect on the environment as well. Because the less energy you use, the greener you are.

Propane generates more Btu 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.

To appreciate propane’s big advantage over electricity in energy efficiency, we have to consider BTU content.

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

BTUs can be used to compare energy sources on an equal basis. To compare propane to electricity, we need to know that:

To make these two energy sources “equal,” divide 91,452 Btus by 3,412 Btu. Your answer will be:

Propane101.com makes this 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.

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 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. You can go here to read more about BTU per hour.

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Propane Usage by the Numbers

Read about the benefits of propane.