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Electric vs propane heating

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John Taylor:
It's funny to read all the lofty pronouncements, without any consideration of up-to-date, local prices. Here in upstate S. Carolina, electricity is only 8.5 cents/kWh, but propane is $3.66 gallon, about the highest in the nation, plus we have to pay to rent their tank! Oil is the same per gallon as propane, but has about 45% more energy. Natural gas is 40% of the cost of propane, but it's 700 ft away for us. Because the wholesale price of propane is only $1.75/gallon, the propane business seems to be rather profitable, I'd say, due to inadequate compeapplesion. My forecast is for heating oil, which is so similar to diesel fuel, to become more expensive as China grows. There's more new discoveries of natural gas than oil, so that would be my first choice.

Joe Befumo:
I live in a 1500 sq ft, 1960s vintage ranch home, upgraded insulation & reasonably tight - area is Northeastern PA. Have a relatively new forced hot water oil furnace but with the cost of oil, it's still prohibitive. I installed a 60,000 btu coal burner in the center of my basement, and have used that exclusively for the past three years. With the addition of a reciprocating fan and registers cut in the floor of each room, it is adequate, but a pain to keep up with, and, of course, I can't GO anywhere lest the fire go out. I'm thinking about putting some propane units in the basement. My first thought was to use two or three, 30,000 BTU, blue-flame, wall-mount, ventless units, strategically placed, but wonder if this is the best/safest/most efficient approach. Cost is definitely a factor - I need to keep the installation cost under $1k. Something that will operate without electricity is also preferable, since we often lose power during the winter, though I can always supplement with the coal/wood burner. Speaking of which - I do have a double-wall, stainless steel chimney in place for the coal burner, which might or might not be usable for some kind of propane unit. Thanks in advance. Joe

Rebecca Q:
I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread. I'm going to see a house for rent this Friday in North Jersey (Morris County). I've lived in apartments in the city most of my life so I've never had to choose one type of heating over the other and have never had to pay for heat/hot water directly. The house I'm going to see has an electric water heater and propane gas for everything else. I was surfing around for an average cost and usage of propane in this area. I don't know that I could pay this much ($500-$800 a month or even for just 4 months) for just one utility. That's just nuts. If it has an electric water heater, will it help the situation by much? The house has dishwasher, washer/dryer, and one bathroom. I wanted to get a practice run before I purchased a home, but now I don't know that it would be worth it.

bethany Brown:
This is all so confusing. I live in the Poconos and we freeze in the winter because of our electric heat. The reason, the cost! When we moved here the previous homeowners told us heating was about $300-400 per month, what a lie! We had family here for the holidays and our electric bill was $1600 for the month of December! The average bill, is about $850/month. At this point, we only heat the area that we're in, then before we go to bed we turn on the heat to our bedroom about half hour before so that it is warm. Then we shut it off when it gets comfortable, sleep with two goose down comforters, then whoever gets up first will turn the heat back on so that the room is toasty again. In other words if we're not in a room, then there is no heat in that room so of course the entire house is freezing. The only exception to this is that the heaters in the rooms where water pipes are have to be kept on to prevent those pipes from freezing. We don't encourage company to visit during the winter because of this. This electric heating is just not an efficient way of heating a home. I am confused about propane, radiant heating and all the other things. Just don't know what to do. But I do know that this is no way to live and enjoy your house. Forgot to mention that each room has its own thermostat and individual heater.

lance anderman:
Wish I had seen these comments 5 years ago when we had a new 2800 sq. ft. house built in SE Pennsylvania and made the mistake of installing propane heat. The house is dual zoned and we normally keep the upstairs at 60 and downstairs at 65 with setback thermostats at night and when we're not home during the day. I spend a minimum of $3,500 per winter (Nov - Mar) for a house with 2x6 walls and extra insulation in walls and ceilings. I also made the mistake of leasing the propane tank from a propane dealer so I cannot purchase propane from anyone else. I'm already looking at alternative heating systems so I can get rid of propane heat. STAY AWAY FROM PROPANE!


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