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Everything you need to know about Butane

Butane powered indoor portable heater
As winter creeps in, the days are getting colder and longer leaving us searching for affordable ways to stay toasty through the winter months. What better way to do this than through using butane-powered portable heaters as we hibernate until spring? Learn everything you need to know about butane in our handy FAQ guide:
What is butane?
Butane (C₄H₁₀) is a form of liquefied petroleum gas. It is stored in blue cylinders and is ideal for camping trips, single burner cooking appliances and indoor portable heaters.

What is the difference between propane and butane?
Both butane and propane serve as fuel to power appliances, however, the main differences are their freezing and boiling points: propane freezes at -180ᵒC and burns at -42ᵒC whilst butane freezes at -140ᵒC and has a higher boiling point of -2ᵒC.

These factors serve best for different functions: as propane functions well at lower temperatures, it is an ideal choice for outdoor use. Conversely, butane is a better option for indoor usage due to its higher boiling point. 

Our butane gas bottles are easily identifiable by their blue exterior!

Which burns hotter? Butane vs propane?
Butane burns hotter than propane as it has a higher boiling point of -2ᵒC compared to propane at -42ᵒC. 

Is butane safer than propane indoors?
Yes, butane is much safer than propane for indoor usage. Butane gas cylinders are suitable for indoor use, whereas, propane cylinders should not be used inside domestic dwellings. 

What is butane used for?

Since butane has a boiling point of -2ᵒC, it is a great option for cooking at higher temperatures. It is the ideal fuel for single burner cooking appliances, camping and indoor portable heaters. 

How long does 15kg butane gas last?
This depends on usage but use our estimation guide below:

Butane contains 13.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per Kilogram, therefore, a 15kg butane cylinder contains 205.5kWh. 15kg butane cylinders are mainly used for portable domestic cabinet heaters.

A typical 3 bar cabinet heater has 3 heat settings:
Low (1 bar) – 1.4kW – A 15kg butane cylinder will last approximately 147 hours (205.5kWh/1.4kW.)
Medium (2 bars) – 2.8kW - A 15kg butane cylinder will last approximately 73 hours (205.5kWh/2.8kW.)
High (3 bars) – 4.2kW – A 15kg butane cylinder will last approximately 49 hours (205.5kWh/4.2kW.)

Are butane and propane regulators the same?
No, butane gas regulators use lower pressure regulators than propane. 

4.5kg butane gas bottles use a 29mm bar low-pressure regulator that screws on to the valve outlet. The regulator has a black washer which, when tightened, forms a gas-tight seal. 

7kg, 12kg and 15kg Butane Cylinders have a 21mm valve and must only be used with a 21mm regulator with a clip-on inlet connection.

On the other hand, a 3.9kg Propane cylinder requires a high-pressure adjustable 0.5 – 2bar screw-on regulator, whereas the 6kg, 13kg, 19kg & 47kg propane cylinders all require a high-pressure adjustable 0.5 – 1bar screw-on regulator. 

Our patio propane bottles require a 27mm low pressure clip-on regulator with Gas Trac Indicator. Therefore, it’s crucial to check you have the correct regulator for your cylinder.

Can I use a propane regulator with butane?
No, you must either use a 29mm bar low-pressure screw-on regulator for the 4.5kg butane bottle OR a 21mm regulator with clip-on inlet connection for the 7kg, 12kg & 15kg butane gas cylinders.

How do I remove a regulator from a butane gas cylinder?

Disconnecting a Butane 4.5kg Cylinder
1. Never disconnect the Regulator (or connecting nut) with the valve open
2. Turn the valve hand wheel off (clockwise rotation)
3. Wait until the burner and pilot lights have gone out. If the flame does not go out, turn the valve hand wheel anticlockwise back to on; leave the appliance alight and call your gas supplier
4. Disconnect the Regulator (left hand thread) with a suitable spanner
5. Screw the protective black-cap back on to the cylinder valve

Disconnecting 7kg, 12kg and 15kg Butane cylinders
There are various 21mm regulators available. Please refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for guidance on how to connect and disconnect the regulator.

1. Never disconnect the regulator with the switch in the on position, so turn the regulator switch off 
2. Wait until the burner and pilot lights have gone out. If the flame does not go out, turn the switch back to on; leave the appliance alight and call your gas supplier
3. To remove the regulator from the cylinder valve, please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions
4. Replace the orange safety cap onto the cylinder valve of the empty or part-full cylinder, when not in use

Where to buy butane gas?
You can buy butane gas refills or new bottles, directly from one of our Cylinder Distribution Centres or via a Calor authorised independent retailer. Use our Find a Retailer tool to locate your nearest stockist. 

Now that you know all about butane, we hope you're confident in buying the correct products, gas bottles and regulators that you need.