What is an LPG Boiler?
LPG or “Liquified Petroleum Gas” is a natural hydrocarbon fuel composed of propane and butane gases produced by the refinement of crude oil.
It is so called because the gases liquify at only moderate pressure, which means that the fuel can be stored and transported conveniently in concentrated liquid form. LPG is also 250 times denser as a liquid than as a gas, so a relatively large quantity of fuel can be stored in a small space.
LPG is renowned for its cleaner burning characteristics; fewer components mean that it is easier to achieve the fuel to air ratio that allows LPG to burn completely. The presence of allowable unsaturated hydrocarbons in the mixture may, however, affect other characteristics such as corrosiveness.
LPG is used in many properties that are not connected to the grid as an alternative to traditional mains gas. It is also a popular choice with many households in combination with renewable energy sources like solar panels.
What are LPG Boilers?
LPG boilers are available ready built or can be adapted from standard natural gas boilers by installing an LPG conversion kit. They require smaller main burner jets than a gas boiler because LPG is supplied at higher pressure that the standard mains supply.
LPG boilers can be supplied by a central or individual bulk storage tank – typically with a capacity of between 1,000 and 2,000 litres and refilled periodically by tanker – or from smaller cylinders or bottles which can be taken away and replaced when empty.
Due to the fact that you need to replace an empty LPG tank it’s important to consider when you will need a new tank so that you are not left without fuel.
How Much do LPG Boilers Cost to Run?
The running costs of LPG boilers are not hugely dissimilar to those of oil boilers and, like oil boilers, LPG boilers require a storage tank and a fuel feed. The cost of installing and running an LPG system will vary depending on several factors:
- If you choose to rent or buy a storage tank
- The size of your home
- How many radiators you have
- How you use your heating
The Pros and Cons of LPG Boilers
Liquefied Petroleum Gas and is a fuel used by consumers to provide home heating.
This type of fuel is made up of a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases. The most common mixes include propane and butane.
About 60 per cent of the world supply of LPG comes from the separation of natural gas products, and 40 per cent is a by-product from the distillation of the crude oil.
LPG is recognised as a secure fuel supply and is produced in vast quantities in the UK. It is also a low carbon and low polluting fossil fuel.
LPG has the advantage of becoming liquid when under pressure, and reverting to gases at atmospheric pressure. As a result it can be stored conveniently as a liquid. This provides an advantage over natural gas. Another is that LPG is 250 times denser as a liquid than as a gas mix, meaning large amounts of fuel can be stored in a relatively small space.
LPG is normally used as an alternative to gas for homes not connected to a mains supply. It is typically used in a ‘wet’ heating system with an LPG fired boiler. This heats water which in turn provides central heating.
The Advantages of LPG
If your home isn’t connected to the mains gas grid, there are many advantages to installing an LPG boiler over a unit fuelled by oil:
- LPG is a highly efficient fuel.
- It produces very low sulphur emissions.
- Combustion is virtually odourless compared to oil.
- By law anyone carrying out work on your boiler is required to be on the Gas Safe Register.
The Disadvantages of LPG
Even though there are many advantages to LPG boilers, before commiting to a new boiler it’s always important to consider the possible downsides:
- New installations can be costly.
- Prices for this type of fuel are on the rise.
- LPG is not considered to be a clean source of energy as it produces carbon dioxide when burnt.
- LPG boilers need to be serviced annually to maintain efficiency.