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Learning the propane basics


Depending on the corner of the world you live in, you might know propane by several different names. The technical term, liquefied petroleum gas, can be used to refer to propane, butane, or a mixture of both these gases. The names of propane in different countries can vary as such:

  • Australia uses LPG as the colloquial term for a 100 percent propane solution
  • In New Zealand, LPG is a propane and butane mix, often a 70:30 split respectively
  • Countries across Europe may refer to it as GLP or GPL, as the acronym is changed to fit the language of a country
  • Most of the U.S. will refer to it as simply propane

Oftentimes, propane is also referred to as what it’s used for, or the way it’s presented. For example, some call it barbecue gas, as that is one of its most well-known functions, while others know it to come in gas bottles and only refer to it as such. You might even hear it called something different in one of our many nationwide offices. But you can rest assured knowing that no matter its name, Ferrellgas has all your propane needs covered.

What role does propane play in our lives?

With all those varying names, it’s only natural that propane has as many varying uses. This versatile gas can be used to fuel heating appliances, vehicles, and cooking equipment. It powers anything from your outdoor grill to the water inside your home. From forklifts for your business, to RVs for that cross-country road trip, propane is a trusted and efficient source of energy.

According to the National Propane Gas Association, propane satisfies approximately four percent of the energy needs of the United States. In comparison, solar energy, another emerging source of power across the country, is responsible for only 1.5 percent of the nation’s energy production. Propane’s rise is due in large part to a recent emphasis on cleaner burning fuels. With the benefits of environmentally-friendly fuels, we’ve seen an increased use in areas like propane autogas to help fulfill the transportation needs of our country.

How to use propane safely

Despite its various names and uses, there’s one word that stands out when it comes to using propane – safety. In its purest form, propane is an odorless, colorless gas. However, in order to detect leaks or spills, manufacturers add a chemical compound to give propane its distinct smell. In the event of a leak or spill, call 911 immediately, then call your local Ferrellgas office to ensure your safety.

Your propane tank is also never to be filled to 100 percent capacity. Propane delivered to the tank at your home or business is stored in a liquid state under pressure. It expands in the presence of heat, creating pressure that can build in a propane tank when it’s hot. The additional space inside the tank is needed to allow for propane to expand into a vapor. That’s why your tank should only be filled to 80 percent of its water capacity.

For additional safety tips, visit the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) website, where you can learn the best ways to use your propane while keeping yourself and others out of harm’s way.

As propane usage grows over time, make sure you’re ready and prepared to use it when called upon. Stop by your local Ferrellgas office or visit our website for details on how you can incorporate propane into your daily routine.