Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: tschmidlin on January 14, 2013, 09:05:30 PM

Title: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on January 14, 2013, 09:05:30 PM
I don't have much experience with different types of gas, but this looks like a natural gas burner to me.  And correct me if I'm wrong, but running propane through a natural gas burner will cause it to burn less completely and create extra soot which will build up on the underside of the kettle, further cutting efficiency.  Does that all sounds about right?

Can anyone help me with calculating efficiency so I can figure out the relative value (heating capacity per $) of propane vs. natural gas in my market?  I haven't looked up the prices yet, but I figure there has to be some way to compare the two.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vj7LT1Iltpc/UPRxGXOXR3I/AAAAAAAAAcQ/DXT1hNPIwJE/s640/2013-01-14)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LJH8yujnh5I/UPRxCNRA9dI/AAAAAAAAAcI/0rBjlW7MMCY/s640/2013-01-14)

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-2q2V4MlcUeE/UPRw86s_ckI/AAAAAAAAAcA/x15MdnZ7-EY/s640/2013-01-14)
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: morticaixavier on January 14, 2013, 09:12:37 PM
■100,000 BTU/hr furnace will use about 97 cubic feet of natural gas (100,000 ÷ 1,030 = 97.1) in one hour
■100,000 BTU/hr furnace will use about 40 cubic feet of propane (100,000 ÷ 2516 = 39.7) in one hour

This might be what you are looking for.

http://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm (http://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm)
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: Vin S on January 14, 2013, 09:26:20 PM
Tom does the burner have a regulator or any gas line attached to it? You could use it as propane by changing the jets if it is a gas burner.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: kramerog on January 14, 2013, 09:33:51 PM
I don't have much experience with different types of gas, but this looks like a natural gas burner to me.  And correct me if I'm wrong, but running propane through a natural gas burner will cause it to burn less completely

The pictures aren't from the right perspective for me to tell if you have a natural gas or a propane burner.  The air orifices shown in the pictures are the same size for natural gas and propane.  Take a picture down the burner tip so I can see the size of the gas orifice relative to the burner tip.

Running propane through an NG burner will be tremendously inefficient and produce prodigious amounts of soot, carbon monoxide, and possibly unburned propane. Let's say you use 40 cfh of propane (100,000 BTU/hr per Morticai), the NG burner will only draw in enough air to burn 40 cfh of natural gas (~39,000 BTU/hr). 

Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on January 14, 2013, 09:47:18 PM
The pictures aren't from the right perspective for me to tell if you have a natural gas or a propane burner.  The air orifices shown in the pictures are the same size for natural gas and propane.  Take a picture down the burner tip so I can see the size of the gas orifice relative to the burner tip.
I tried a few perspectives, but guess I missed the important one :)  I'll try to get you the picture you want.

What if I said it burns orange no matter how low the propane is turned?
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: kramerog on January 14, 2013, 09:57:36 PM
The pictures aren't from the right perspective for me to tell if you have a natural gas or a propane burner.  The air orifices shown in the pictures are the same size for natural gas and propane.  Take a picture down the burner tip so I can see the size of the gas orifice relative to the burner tip.
I tried a few perspectives, but guess I missed the important one :)  I'll try to get you the picture you want.

What if I said it burns orange no matter how low the propane is turned?

If the entire flame is orange than it is a natural gas burner.  If only the tip of the flame is orange than it probably is propane.  Still a picture would be helpful to confirm. 
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on January 15, 2013, 06:45:08 AM
Here is the pic I think you want.

It is full orange, all of the time, even when turned really low.  If it is a propane burner, it needs better air flow for sure.  Let me know what other pics would be useful - there are no other air inlets other than at the base of the nozzles.

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-1zW09Clh_u4/UPT5CS2m34I/AAAAAAAAAc0/5Djeg9nKOxQ/s640/2013-01-14)
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: euge on January 15, 2013, 07:53:21 AM
That looks exactly like the smaller of my jet-burners. Natural gas no regulator.

Though I must say that this unit looks very used and with an interesting patina. Exposed to the elements so to speak.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: punatic on January 15, 2013, 08:31:46 AM
Though I must say that this unit looks very used and with an interesting patina. Exposed to the elements so to speak.

+1  I was thinking they look like the video feed from an ROV diving on the Titanic.   :o

These are natural gas jets.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: kramerog on January 15, 2013, 03:46:53 PM
That is exactly the photo I was looking for.  I'm going to look at my natural gas and propane ring burners this evening if I remember.  Without directly comparing to my burners, I thing these are propane burners.

Normally, these types of burners burn yellow and orange when on low and only turn blue at the optimal flowrate.  Any kind of non-optimal conditions tend to make these burners burn blue-orange IME such as not enough spacing above and below and proper ventilation.   
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: dcbc on January 16, 2013, 01:36:56 AM
That is exactly the photo I was looking for.  I'm going to look at my natural gas and propane ring burners this evening if I remember.  Without directly comparing to my burners, I thing these are propane burners.

Normally, these types of burners burn yellow and orange when on low and only turn blue at the optimal flowrate.  Any kind of non-optimal conditions tend to make these burners burn blue-orange IME such as not enough spacing above and below and proper ventilation.

Very true.  Plus, any restriction in the pipe size to them that chokes them down a bit can cause problems.  They need a lot of pressure to offset the opposing burner and get the air to mix properly.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: kramerog on January 16, 2013, 03:59:47 AM
Looks like euge was right; you have propane burners.  Examples of propane and NG burners are below.  The gas orifice of the propane burner is much closer in size to the burner you have.  Another way to tell if you have a propane burner is to connect it to natural gas because it will be very hard to light due to overdilution with air.  You can convert to a NG burner by drilling the gas orifices to the appropriate size. 


Propane burner
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-UdaT0slCX2Q/UPYiJmvIHoI/AAAAAAAADTo/83Mc1LIj5vY/s576/DSCF3805.JPG)

NG burner
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-eQHb-54qmtU/UPYkg4RXC2I/AAAAAAAADUQ/niRYrvHEDRM/s576/DSCF3808.JPG)
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on January 16, 2013, 06:29:02 AM
Wow, those are really close.  I'm not sure I can call it one way or the other.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: kramerog on January 16, 2013, 02:54:54 PM
If all the photos were to the same scale, you would be able to tell the difference.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: euge on January 16, 2013, 02:56:28 PM
I can see the difference in the orifices fairly easily.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on January 16, 2013, 05:02:37 PM
Glad that works for you guys :)  It's still not obvious to me though.  I'll try a test with the burner out in the open, see if I can find a propane flow rate where the flames turn blue.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: punatic on January 16, 2013, 06:42:56 PM
Take one jet down to the gas appliance store and have them give you a definative answer.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on January 17, 2013, 07:32:52 AM
Take one jet down to the gas appliance store and have them give you a definative answer.
Dur.  Great idea :)

■100,000 BTU/hr furnace will use about 97 cubic feet of natural gas (100,000 ÷ 1,030 = 97.1) in one hour
■100,000 BTU/hr furnace will use about 40 cubic feet of propane (100,000 ÷ 2516 = 39.7) in one hour

This might be what you are looking for.

http://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm (http://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm)
I meant to thank you for this advice - I looked it up and it has a bunch of info, which led me to a local page with good info on local price comparisons.  Anyway, belated thanks. :)
http://www.pse.com/savingsandenergycenter/ForHomes/Pages/Natural-Gas-Cost-Comparisons.aspx
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: kramerog on January 17, 2013, 02:51:24 PM
Another possibility is go to your local chinatown and compare it to the wok burners they sell.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: morticaixavier on January 17, 2013, 03:48:05 PM
Take one jet down to the gas appliance store and have them give you a definative answer.
Dur.  Great idea :)

■100,000 BTU/hr furnace will use about 97 cubic feet of natural gas (100,000 ÷ 1,030 = 97.1) in one hour
■100,000 BTU/hr furnace will use about 40 cubic feet of propane (100,000 ÷ 2516 = 39.7) in one hour

This might be what you are looking for.

http://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm (http://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm)
I meant to thank you for this advice - I looked it up and it has a bunch of info, which led me to a local page with good info on local price comparisons.  Anyway, belated thanks. :)
http://www.pse.com/savingsandenergycenter/ForHomes/Pages/Natural-Gas-Cost-Comparisons.aspx

No problem. glad to help.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on February 15, 2013, 01:44:21 AM
I got in touch with the original owner of the burner, and he confirmed it is for propane.  A closer look shows me that the nozzles are not working right, I can see gas (flames) leaking out of the bottom where they screw in.  So I'm thinking they all need to be cleaned up - soaked in something (what?) to remove whatever is clogging them, make sure the threads on the burner and nozzles are clear, etc.

Any suggestions or other ideas?
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: kramerog on February 15, 2013, 03:12:32 AM
If the previous owner was a homebrewer, there was probably a boilover which is clogging the jets.  Try cleaning the pinhole with a pin.  Whatever you do, do not unscrew the nozzles expecting to screw them back in.  I just leave the gas leaks alone, but the gas leaks I have are pretty small.  A good boilover will seal the threads probably.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on February 15, 2013, 06:28:37 AM
Why would i not be able to unscrew them and screw them back in?  I've already done it with two of them.

There was no boilover on the burner, but I'll try the pin idea, thanks.  I don't want to leave the leaks alone because the flames from too many tips are orange instead of blue.  I need to get a better brun out of this or replace it.
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: Slowbrew on February 15, 2013, 11:56:35 AM
It would be better to say don't remove them and reinstall too often.  They are made of a soft metal and the threads are pretty easy to damage. 

I would think a little pipe dope on the threads would seal them up fine.

Paul
Title: Re: propane vs natural gas
Post by: tschmidlin on February 16, 2013, 08:19:48 AM
Ah, I get it.  Thanks, I'll be careful and see about pipe dope.