Energy Insights

What is LPG?
How does it work and is it right for me?

By Shane Le Beau | 16 May 2016


In New Zealand, we tend to rely on two types of gas for our household energy needs: natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

If you are interested in LPG but are unsure whether it is right for you, read on.

What is LPG?

‘LPG' is actually a catch-all term for a number of different types of gas. The common characteristic of these gases is that they can be compressed into liquid. Butane and Propane are the two most common types of gas in the LPG category.

LPG vs. Natural Gas

LPG and Natural gas generally satisfy many of the same household energy requirements but there are differences between the two.

LPG

Most homes in NZ that use LPG use a Propane-Butane mix.

This type of LPG is supplied in gas bottles and goes by many names: LPG, LPG gas, LP Gas, BBQ Gas and bottled gas. Regardless of the name it goes by, it's all the same gas.

For the most part, people opt for LPG in the home when natural gas is unavailable or too difficult or uneconomical to install.

LPG Bottles


Pros:

  • A cost-effective gas solution for households without access to natural gas.
  • Available in more areas than natural gas.

Cons:

  • Whilst easy to manage, LPG bottles still need to be monitored and refilled/exchanged.

Natural Gas

Natural gas differs from LPG in that it is piped direct to the home via gas mains.

Natural gas is primarily Methane and is often referred to as "Mains gas" or "Piped gas". This is the method by which most NZ households receive their gas.
 

Gas hob


Pros:

  • Gas is via the mains so you don't need to manage your supply.

Cons:

  • Not available in all areas of New Zealand.

 


What size LPG bottle do I need?

LPG bottles come in a variety of sizes based on their weight. The heavier the bottle, the higher volume of gas bottle.

Generally, LPG bottle sizes are:

9kg - 17 litres of gas
This is the standard size of the familiar bbq gas bottle. (arguably the most common bottle size).
45kg - 88 litres of gas
This is the standard size of gas bottle for most residential users (these are the bottle sizes we use for our LPG plans). This is the size of bottle that most people will require.
90kg - 176 litres of gas*
This bottle size is often used for residential customers with higher than usual usage.
210kg - 411 litres of gas*
This bottle size is for home users with particularly high usage.

* At Genesis Energy, we only provide 45kg bottles to LPG customers.

How long does a 45kg gas bottle last?

Take a look at the table below. This is based on the typical average household usage per year.

Application Bottles per year
Home heating only 6-9
Hot water 2 people 4-6
Hot water 4 people 6-9
Hot water 6 people 9-12

How to tell if your LPG bottle is empty?

Most households will run off two LPG bottles at at time so you have a backup when one runs empty offering an uninterrupted supply.

One bottle (primary) provides the main supply and the other (reserve) is a backup that provides extra gas when required. LPG primary tank
When the primary bottle is empty, the regulator changes over to the reserve bottle and the indicator turns red.

LPG secondary tank

You need to check the indicator on a regular basis to see if it is empty.

TIP 1: If you use your LPG for heating, make sure you check every second day during winter.

TIP 2: Sometimes, the indicator will dip into the red but then go back to green or black usually when there are a lot of appliances drawing from the bottle at the same time. So, check the indicator without any appliances on 12 hrs after it turned red.

If it's still red after then you need to order a refill.

How to refill your LPG gas bottle

LPG bottles for household use are too large to take to a refilling station (unlike 9kg bottles used for barbecues etc.) When your gas bottle is empty, you will need to arrange for your LPG gas provider to refill it for you.

Genesis Energy customers can order LPG bottle refills online, via the Genesis Energy Mobile App or by phone. We'll deliver a full bottle in around four working days, excluding weekends and public holidays.

If you require an urgent delivery an extra fee is payable in addition to the standard delivery charge. Please contact us on 0800 300 400 to confirm time and costs for urgent delivery.

 

 

 

Back to Top