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10 Everyday Uses for Propane and Butane


Heating, fueling, cooking, lighting, and lifting – butane and propane are natural gases produced through oil refining and natural gas processing to perform a number of essential activities. There are subtle differences between the two natural gases. For example, butane is preferable for use in warm climates and indoor use, while propane is preferable for colder climates and outdoor use. There is very little temperature difference between the two – butane burning at 1970 degrees Celsius and propane burning at 1980 degrees Celsius.

Often times the gases can be used interchangeably, but differences in price, cylinder pressure, and storage are important aspects to consider when choosing one over the other. Stored at a pressure 25 percent lower, butane is a bit safer for indoor storage and greater handling. Check out our list below of everyday uses for each of these essential gases.


Everyday Uses for Propane

1. Gas Ranges

Preferred for commercial kitchens, gas ranges fire up a lot of benefits for professional and amateur chefs. Propane-powered ranges heat up and cool down quickly, which is ideal for necessary temperature changes, and they do not require gas lines to function, as tanks will work just fine.

2. Outdoor Heaters

Propane tanks fit nicely inside the basins of outdoor heaters, whether they be lamps or fireplaces. They add ambiance and warmth during the cool winter months or summer nights for a cozier dining experience.

3. Hot Air Balloons

Liquid propane is the gas that fuels hot air balloons for lift off. The liquid propane itself does not fill the balloon but heats the air inside enough to raise the entire gondola. Propane to heat the air is typically more cost-effective than lifting gases like helium and the formerly used hydrogen.

4. Buses

Yellow school buses and other commercial vehicles can use a combination of liquid propane gas (LPG) and diesel for cleaner and more cost-effective fuel. In fact, most gas guzzling vehicles can use LPG as a substitute if needed, cutting carbon dioxide emissions in half compared to gasoline. Unfortunately, it is not used as often due to a lack in fueling stations carrying propane, and buses are not outfitted to run on singular tanks.

5. Gas Lanterns

Late nights after the campfire has been put out or emergency electrical outages require a light source that will not go out. Small camping lanterns can emit up to 1000 lumens for up to 12 hours using a single canister of propane. Also known as hurricane lanterns, it is a good rule of thumb to keep one bottle per day in case of an emergency.

Everyday Uses for Butane

6. Camping Stoves

Sometimes a propane-butane blend, portable camping stoves are easy to set-up and tear-down for year-round outdoor adventures. Butane alone does not burn quite as hot as propane, but is still easy to ignite, even in rainy and snowy weather.

7. Lighters

As a highly flammable liquid gas, butane is also known as lighter fluid.  When you need a light quickly, whether it be for a candle or a campfire, butane lighters offer stable flames and portability.

8. Catering

Off-site catering for conferences, weddings, corporate events, and celebrations relies on butane gas burners similar to camping stoves. Portable butane gas burners are more ideal for cooking than for warming slowly. Since the liquid gas heats so quickly, caterers can heat up food to the desired temperature in half the time.

9. Kitchen Torches

Serious bakers and chefs may have butane in the kitchen in one of their essential small appliances. Refillable butane kitchen torches can caramelize crème brulee, roast bell peppers, melt cheese, and toast meringue. Torches rise up to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit for a quick broil that adds a masterful culinary touch.

10. Aerosol Spray Cans

Butane is used as a propellant in aerosol cans, only occupying three percent of the mixture. For this reason, aerosol cans can be highly flammable and contain hazard warnings. Carbon dioxide has become a more common propellant over the years, but butane is still present in some mixtures.


Distributing Propane and Butane in the Rockies

Rocky Mountain Air Solutions is a resource that offers flawless dependability to partners in the Rocky Mountain region and is able to supply propane and butane for businesses that cater to these everyday uses. Contact your local branch in Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, or Wyoming today to speak to a representative. We look forward to serving you!

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