According to the U.S Energy Information Administration about 5% of all U.S. households heat primarily with propane. Propane is also used for lots of applications other than home heating, including:
Propane is used in farms across the United States for burning away weeds, drying crops, fueling farm equipment, heating livestock buildings & greenhouses and irrigating crops.
Millions of homes throughout the US make use of propane to heat their water & homes, fuel their fireplaces, generate electricity, dry their clothing, cook their food, and power their grills.
Businesses use propane as both a product (selling smaller propane bottles or offering refill services) and for it’s wide variety of applications including temporary heating, powering their vehicles and plant machinery, building new homes and landscaping.
What is Propane?
Propane (also called liquefied petroleum gas – LPG) is available throughout the world and has many applications, for most it’s used to heat our homes & water. It’s easily transportable, very safe, affordable and clean. In the US we produce over 1.8 million barrels of propane per day. It’s completely nontoxic, colorless and almost odorless, in fact nearly all propane has an added identifying odor that can easily be detected (this odor is Ethyl Mercaptan otherwise known as Ethanethiol).
Where does propane come from?
Propane is a common byproduct of natural gas processing and whilst there is some production via crude oil refinement the vast majority comes from natural gas as there is a large surplus of natural gas supplies due to shale gas extraction. There has also been an increased demand for greener fuels which results in more natural gas refining and hence more propane.
Why does propane smell?
Propane itself doesn’t smell, in fact propane is virtually odorless and is entirely colorless. The smell of propane comes from Ethanethiol (commonly referred to as Ethyl Mercaptan). Ethanethiol has an odor that is instantly recognisable and helps in detection of gas leaks. Ethanethiol (also known as stench) is also added to Butane and other gasses and in low concentrations is harmless.