Natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and wood/biomass make up the “home fuels” category, which is all about nonelectrical sources of heat inside the home. For homes with nonelectrical appliances, these fuels are burned on-site to heat interior space and water, cook food, and dry clothes. The carbon dioxide forms when these fuels are burned. Its contribution to your household carbon footprint begins before it arrives at your home.



In-Home Energy Consumption

Across the region of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa, natural gas and propane (50% and 15%, respectively) meet 65%, of the energy demand inside the home, mostly for home heating, water heating, and cooking.

In-Home Energy Form

The 3.9 million households in this region may use more than one home fuel.

  • About 67% of households have a natural gas hookup—nearly all are in urban areas (40% of North Dakota households).

  • About 59% have propane tanks (16% of households in North Dakota use large tanks for more than outdoor grills—nearly all are in rural areas).

  • About 5% of homes burn fuel oil for space heating (9% of North Dakota households).

  • Only 3% of households use kerosene (not typically used in North Dakota).

Virtually every home in the region has electricity, but not all have access to home fuels.

Central furnaces, radiators, baseboard steam, and wood or gas fireplaces are some of the methods used to keep the home warm in the region of North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Natural gas and propane are the main heating source in 77% of homes in our four-state region, with electricity the main heating source in 15% of homes. Electric heat and the electrical components of natural gas and propane systems (for example, the furnace blower that circulates the air) are part of the discussion on the Household Electricity page.

Half of the homes in our region have at least one secondary home heating source. Electricity-based heat is the most popular (mostly portable heaters), but a small percentage of homes use natural gas, wood (typically in a fireplace), or propane.

Residential water heaters consume 4% of the energy used in the home itself in the region of North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

In this four-state region, 56% of the residences have a natural gas water heater, 8% use propane, and the remaining 36% depend on electricity to make hot water.

Appliances in the home include stoves and clothes dryers as well as clothes washers, dishwashers, televisions, computers, small electronic devices, pools, and hot tubs.1 Of all of these, the most likely to be fueled by natural gas or propane are those for cooking food and drying clothes.

In this region, 25% of the residences use natural gas as their main cooking fuel and 10% use propane. The majority, 62%, depend on electricity to cook their meals. Likewise, far more residents in our region depend on electricity to dry their clothing. Only 18% use natural gas or propane, and nearly one-fifth—18%—do not use a clothes dryer at home.

Overall, electricity dominates the appliance category. Taken together, these appliances consume 25% of the energy inside the house in our four-state region (North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota) but only about 4% of the home fuels consumption.

1 Note that these data exclude air conditioners and refrigerators, which have their own regional data discussed in Household Electricity.

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Developed for the North Dakota Department of Commerce Division of Community Services with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy