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Author Topic: Electric vs propane heating  (Read 133119 times)

Jerry W

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Re: Electric vs propane heating
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2010, 09:26:51 AM »
Hello....I was in upper management in the propane industry for over 30 years, for both large domestic propane companies and for natural gas utilities, and have just a few comments. Propane heat, like natural gas heat, is far warmer coming out of the duct than electric can ever be. A heat pump in any climates north of, say, North Carolina, will only provide a home heat that is always chilly, and also quite expensive - on the range of $400-600 per month in a peak winter month. Propane will provide much more pleasant heat, but it is not cheap. With propane approaching $2.50-2.75 per gallon, and the average house in the north using 200-300 gallons in a peak month, the charges can actually exceed electric. Natural gas is by far the most comfortable and the least expensive, but is not available in all areas unless there is an existing distribution system in the area fed by a not-too-distant high pressure transmission line. The best suggestion, whether propane or natural gas, is to us a hybrid system......use the gas in the months when the temperature drops below 42-45 degrees, and use the heat pump for all other days, including for the cooling, for which it is really designed and unmatched. Finally, if one has the funds, getting the most up-to-date and efficient gas furnace and heat pump will be expensive, but will certainly pay for itself in 6-10 year of savings in fuel costs.....of both fuels. And, with the current federal tax credits and the various manufacturers rebates, this could be the best time to make the move.

cold in east tn

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Re: Electric vs propane heating
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 02:39:58 PM »
Thank you"just passing by". We are renovating (10 years now) a 101 year old victorian farm house. We had central air and "heat" installed about 8 years ago, and have been freezing ever since. It does get rather chilly here in east tennessee, and we are considering having a dual fuel system put in. We have 2 units, one upstairs and one downstairs. We are only replacing the downstairs unit. Many people in this area say we don't need propane, however an old home like this just does not warm up well with just a heat pump. Thank you for explaining this so well.

Just Passing by

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Re: Electric vs propane heating
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2010, 09:37:20 PM »
Hello! I stumbled across this while Googling...looking to buy a propane tank because I have been told the gas companies in our area will only "rent" them to you for approx. 50 cents a gallon above the cost of propane. What a scam! (We sold our farm and bought smaller acreage with a newer home. Drawback: we lost our free gas :-( and now will have to deal with propane. However, it is coupled with a Trane high-efficiency heat pump). Those who are blindly recommending propane here are not giving you anywhere near the whole story: What KIND of electric heat? Baseboard? Resistance? Of course those are expensive! But a 12-14 SEER or higher heat pump will destroy every single propane cost model. Not even close. And Geothermal goes well beyond that. A good compromise, if you are in a climate that regularly goes below freezing in winter, would be a "Dual fuel" system: Propane furnace coupled with a good high-efficiency heat pump (which also gives you central air). The heat pump will save you HUGE dollars in the "fringe" heating months of September, October possibly November, and then March/April. On the coldest days the propane may in fact be more efficient at times (see earlier reference to low temps). I state without hesitation that propane by itself is wildly expensive when compared to other alternatives. To be fair, so are electric baseboard and straight resistance heating. But those really are not good alternatives, and are RARELY installed as stand-alone systems today. It simply is not done. As for the guy who was a utility engineer, I would ask: What kind of engineer? I spent 15 years in the electric utility industry and spent a great deal of time on this question. There is simply NO WAY that propane is the most efficient or least expensive home heating method/fuel. Pure, complete nonsense. Mark my words: Propane is used as a primary heating fuel ONLY in areas where natural gas is not available. I used to hear anecdotal stories from field member services reps; they reported that propane salespeople would stop at new construction homesites and ask what type of heating was being installed. When the answer was "geothermal" they would not even get out of their vehicle! Please give strong consideration to a dual fuel system. If you must use propane, this will save you a huge amount of money over the life of the system. Finally, make sure you get a qualified, licensed HVAC person to PROPERLY SIZE whatever system you choose. Many a good home has been badly (and expensively) heated by a botched size and install.


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Electric vs propane heating
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 10:37:56 AM »
Nice article


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