Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to propane questions most commonly asked by construction professionals.
Q. What is propane made from?
A. Propane is a byproduct of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. It is an example of a bridge fuel that, in certain end-use applications, emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, diesel, and electricity. Nearly 97 percent of all propane used in the United States is produced in North America.
Q. How common is the use of propane as a residential energy source?
A. Propane is used by more than 12.6 million U.S. households and by millions of other Americans for transportation, commercial, industrial, and agricultural applications.
Q. What are the risks and dangers associated with propane tanks, especially tank burial?
A. Propane is safe, clean, reliable energy. Propane is insoluble in water. Because it's released as a gas, it doesn't spill, pool, or leave a residue. That means propane is not harmful to soil or water in the unlikely event of a tank leak. Propane also includes an odorant that allows you to easily identify leaks.
Q. How do I know what type or size of tank I need for my project?
A. There are two main types of propane tanks. DOT cylinders, familiar to homeowners with propane grills, are generally used above ground and typically don't contain more than 25 gallons of propane. Horizontal ASME tanks can hold from 250 to 1,000 gallons and are safe to bury underground, out of sight. A 500-gallon tank can hold enough propane to meet the annual energy needs of an average four-bedroom home. Propane tanks are environmentally friendly, low maintenance, and can last up to 40 years if properly maintained. Your propane retailer can help size your project for the right tank.
Q. Is propane compatible with environmentally friendly forms of construction?
A. Using propane produces less than half as many greenhouse gas emissions as using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the U.S. grid. This is because nearly half the electricity in the United States is produced by coal-fired power plants.
Construction professionals who use propane can earn more than 100 points toward the National Green Building Standard. The green building standards incorporate environmental considerations into every phase of the home building process, from lot design and preparation to construction to homeowner education.
The use of propane earns builders and remodelers high points in the categories of indoor environmental quality and resource, energy, and water efficiency. By building with propane, in fact, your project can be halfway to bronze. You can learn more about the green building standards from the National Association of Home Builders green Web site nahbgreen.org.