Natural Gas vs Propane. What is the difference?

What makes these gas log sets different? This is probably one of our most commonly asked questions and also the first decision that will need to be made before selecting your log set. Gas log burners are made specifically for the type of gas used to fuel the flame. The actual logs will not typically differ dependent upon the fuel type. The difference is hidden in the inner workings of the burner and valves. These valves are not interchangeable. Lets take a look at the differences in the fuel itself. Once you have determined the appropriate fuel type, purchase your gas logs according to the proper fuel requirement.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is more common and frequently used in urban and large residential areas, which makes it the most popular choice for gas logs. Because service is generally provided by the local city or municipality utility company there is no need to refill a tank. Natural gas is also very clean burning as opposed to a wood burning fireplace making it a more environmentally friendly option. Generally speaking, using natural gas in your fireplace is less expensive than wood and provides consistent heat output. If you have natural gas appliances in your home, it will be the best choice to fuel your new gas logs. Many wood burning fireplaces have a gas line already plumbed to the firebox in order to make starting your wood fire easier. If your fireplace has this feature, you can use this existing line for the gas log set. You will need to let your installer, preferably a licensed plumber, know the diameter of line and the BTU output of the new log set so that they will be able to insure it is properly sized to insure that the logs will operate efficiently and at optimum performance. If there is not a gas line plumbed, your plumber will be able to provide an estimate of the cost of installing the gas line and log set. Natural gas is lighter than air and will rise in the event of a gas leak making it possible to install a gas log system that can be lit with simply a match.

Liquid Propane

Liquid Propane Gas, also known as LP gas, is delivered to your home via a propane delivery service and stored in a certified tank on your property. It is typically found in rural areas and places where natural gas service is not provided. Propane is a byproduct of natural gas and burns almost 3 times hotter due to the carbon content, but that does not mean that propane gas logs are warmer than natural gas-fueled log sets. If you have propane appliances in your home, you will want to choose propane as the fuel for your logs as well. As with natural gas, you may have a gas line already plumbed to your fireplace and that line can be used when installing the log set. You will want to let your installer know the size of the pipe that is in your fireplace so they can insure it is properly sized to achieve optimum performance. Also, your propane provider will be able to assist you in determining if your propane tank needs to be larger in order to accommodate the additional gas consumption. All propane gas log sets will require a safety pilot to prevent injury in the event of a gas leak as it is heavier than air and will accumulate closer to the ground.

Neither Gas Available?

What if you don’t have either natural gas service available and there is not a propane tank at your home? If you have space available on your property, you can check with your local municipality to determine if it is possible to place a propane tank at your home. The local propane company should be able to install a tank and run a line to your home making it possible for the installer to run the line to your fireplace.