Gas Leak Detection

Natural Gas and Propane Gas Detection: What You Should Know

natural gas pipelines vs propane tanks

Natural gas and propane are two commonly used gases in residential and industrial settings, providing our homes and businesses the power to cook meals and heat our buildings. While these gases play a vital role in powering our lives, it's crucial to recognize the distinctive characteristics that set them apart. This blog will explore the differences between natural gas and propane and the types of gas detectors required for each.

Natural gas vs. propane gas

Natural gas

Natural gas primarily consists of methane and is formed through the decomposition of organic matter over millions of years. It is a fossil fuel that is often found deep underground, and it is extracted using drilling techniques. Natural gas is commonly used for heating, cooking, and generating electricity. Because it is odorless, it often has scent added to help individuals identify a natural gas leak, creating that infamous “rotten egg” smell.

Propane gas

Propane is a hydrocarbon gas derived from natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It is stored in liquid form under pressure and vaporizes into a gas when released from its container. Propane is widely used for grilling, heating homes, and fueling vehicles. Similar to natural gas, propane is odorless in its natural state and often has chemicals added to give it a distinctive scent.

The differences between natural gas and propane

There are many differences between propane and natural gas, including:

Storage and transportation

Natural gas is typically supplied through pipelines, making it a more viable option for areas with established gas networks. Conversely, propane is stored in portable tanks and can be transported to locations without access to natural gas pipelines, making it a more accessible fuel source for rural areas.


Generally, natural gas is more cost-effective than propane, especially when it is readily available through existing infrastructure. Propane tends to be more expensive due to the costs associated with its storage, transportation, and distribution to remote locations.

Installation techniques

Natural gas requires a connection to the existing gas supply infrastructure, necessitating professional installation and often limiting its accessibility in certain regions. Typically, propane systems can be installed more easily as they don’t rely on a dedicated pipeline, making them suitable for a wider range of locations.


Natural gas is known for its high calorific value, making it an efficient fuel for various appliances. Though propane can be very efficient, it sometimes requires more gas to provide the same effect or different equipment to optimize its performance.


While both natural gas and propane are flammable and potentially hazardous, propane is heavier than air, which means it can accumulate in low-lying areas, increasing the risk of ignition. Natural gas, being lighter than air, disperses more rapidly in case of leaks, increasing the risks of its dangerous effects if not properly monitored. This is why installing a comprehensive, smart natural gas alarm system in your home is important in ensuring the safety of yourself, your home, and your loved ones.

Natural gas detector vs. propane gas detector

Equipping your home with suitable detectors is essential for propane and natural gas safety. These devices are somewhat different, and many different options are available on the market.

Propane gas detectors work similarly to natural gas detectors but are specifically calibrated to detect propane gas concentrations. Most propane detectors use a sensor that reacts to the presence of propane, initiating an alarm to warn individuals of a leak. Some detectors are integrated into propane-powered appliances, such as heaters and refrigerators, providing an additional layer of safety.

Denova Detect

Our DeNova Detect natural gas detector is a cutting-edge natural gas detector that epitomizes modern detection technology. Crafted with our proprietary sensor innovation, it remains the ultimate choice for safeguarding your home. It outpaces all competitors by a remarkable 11 minutes when it comes to alerting you to potential gas leaks. Its battery and product service life set an unparalleled standard, lasting between six to ten years— a feat unmatched by any other battery-operated natural gas alarm available in the United States.

Ready to provide your home with the best natural gas safety? We’re here to help.

Email us at or visit the Denova Detect website.


gas leak detection in aging infrastructure
How to Save on Your Natural Gas Bill This Summer (And Still Prevent Natural Gas Leaks)