If you use gas for cooking, heating your home or to power your hot water system, and you don’t have natural gas connected to your property, there’s a good chance that it’s LPG. Read on to find out more about this gas, why it’s used and how it’s different from other gases.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a flammable gas used primarily in homes and businesses for heating, powering hot water systems and cooking food. You can also use it to fuel barbecues and cars. While LPG is usually a mixture of propane and butane hydrocarbon gases, in Australia, it’s primarily made up of propane.1
LPG can have many uses around the home and fuels an array of gas appliances, including:
Propane gas and LPG are fundamentally the same types of gas, although LPG may contain other hydrocarbon gases, such as butane.3 When pressurised, both propane gas and LPG liquidise, and can be used as a source of fuel or heating. Both are commonly stored in gas cylinders or bottles.
The main difference between LPG and natural gas (which can be a mixture of many different types of gases) comes from how they’re distributed. Natural gas is accessible through pipelines and LPG available via cylinders or gas bottles.4 While both LPG and natural gas are used widely across Australia for similar purposes; they’re also made up of different gases. LPG is essentially propane, while natural gas contains mainly methane.5
Where you live in Australia usually determines whether you have access to natural gas. If you require gas but can’t access natural gas from the mains supply, you’ll typically need to order LPG. Keep in mind that while many household appliances can use either LPG or natural gas, providers usually won’t let you use both. In these cases, ensure your appliance is fitted with the right connections for the type of gas you’re using.
Find out more about the different types of gas energy.
There are several LPG suppliers across Australia, including:
There may also be smaller, local suppliers in your area.
Various factors can impact the amount you pay for LPG, so there’s no single answer. As well as differing costs between retailers and gas bottle sizes, you may incur:
Always compare your options to ensure you’re paying a price you’re comfortable with.
You generally have two options when it comes to refilling your LPG cylinders. Suppliers can fill the cylinders on-site via an automatic tanker delivery if you have 90kg bottles (or anything heavier). They can also arrange a gas bottle exchange if you have 45kg bottles, where empty cylinders are replaced with full ones.
Both options can be organised through your supplier and are designed to keep LPG hooked up to your house. Many households choose to have multiple cylinders installed at one time. When one runs out, you use the other cylinder, and the empty one is replaced.
You’ll usually need to have your LPG bottles delivered by an authorised supplier. If you’re transporting them in a car, the capacity must not exceed 9kg, and there can’t be more than two cylinders at a time. This option is usually for smaller bottles used to power appliances such as barbecues.
As most home gas bottles exceed this weight, you’ll need to organise LPG delivery through an authorised supplier.
There are various LPG gas cylinder sizes available, but the size you’ll require may vary depending on how you use the gas. Most households will require a 45kg gas bottle at a minimum. However, bigger sizes are available and include 90kg, 190kg or 210kg.
Cylinders over 45kg will need to be filled on-site by professionals. Smaller cylinders and gas bottles – including 4kg, 9kg and 13.5kg bottles that are used for barbecues or outdoor heating – can be exchanged.
Generally, it’s not safe to use an LPG cylinder that’s rusted or damaged in any way. If damage or rusting occurs, contact your LPG supplier for a replacement or so they can advise you of what next steps to take.
If one of your LPG cylinders is empty, switching to the full one is a straightforward process. Your cylinders will either be equipped with a manual or automatic changeover system. With automatic systems, your gas supply will automatically switch from the empty to the full cylinder.
For manual changeover systems, always refer to your supplier for instructions on how to change bottles and the safety steps to follow. Some gas bottles may notify you (usually by a colour-coded message on the bottle) when it needs to be replaced.
Always refer to your supplier for instructions.
Storage of LPG cylinders is regulated by Australian Standards: The storage and handling of LP Gas AS/NZS 1596:2014. All LPG cylinders should be stored upright and outside in a ventilated location. The cylinders shouldn’t be exposed to excess heat, as this could cause leaks or explosions. Generally, cylinders are installed in a safely designated location near your home and shouldn’t be moved without professional guidance.
No, you can’t fill your LPG cylinder using an autogas dispenser, and it’s illegal to do so in Australia.5 As well as being extremely dangerous, appliances in Australia only operate with LPG that contains mainly propane. Autogas dispensers primarily contain butane.