propane vs electric costs?

miscindySeptember 17, 2009

We are finalizing our new home construction plans. We will have geo-thermal heating/cooling, so no propane is needed for that. We currently have an electic dryer and it takes a lot longer than our previous natural gas dryer took to dry clothes. We also currently have an electric stove, and I much preferred my previous natural gas stove.

Now my choices for dryer and stove are electric and propane. I assumed propane would be just like natural gas. The builder recommends electric for both, saying it's a lot less expensive to run. I'm wondering if it really matters that much. I don't bake a ton, and we use the dryer 1 day each week, all day long.

What are your experiences with propane vs electric?

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You can also ask over in the appliances forum. I am not sure about the dryer issue, but I personally think that cooking with gas (propane or natural) is a non-negotiable issue. Yeah. some people like induction cooktops (electric). Will you have a range or separate cooktop and wall ovens? A dual fuel range gets you and electric oven and gas cooktop. What about a fireplace? If you have a fireplace, do you want a gas starter or gas logs?

If I had to make tough decisions, the cooking issue would be a slam-dunk for me. Does your builder cook or even do the laundry? '-)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 12:43PM
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Electric dryers are more expensive to operate than gas, but the difference between them is not as large as it used to be because of improved design (and because gas prices have gone up). Your current experience with electric dryer might be due to individual issues like -- Is the exhaust partly clogged, Is it an old dryer, etc. I do not know about propane, but I think it is a bit more expensive than natural gas.

FOR COOKING: For the stovetop, gas is better than conventional electric. Oven temperature controls on electric used to be better than gas, but now with hi tech electronic temp controls, they are about equal. I do not have personal experience with induction electric cook tops, but people who have them like them. The one drawback is that they do no work on all types of pots, so you might have to buy a new set of pots and pans to get optimal performance with them. The big advantage with induction is that there is very little ambient heat generated -- the pots and pan and the air around the cooktop do not get hot. The stove does not get hot -- just the food, and of course some heat given off by the food will warm the air immediately around it. So the kitchen stays a little less uncomfortable in the summer. I also think induction is cheaper to run than either conventional electric or gas -- it's very efficient. We considerred induction when we recently switched from electric to gas. We went with gas so we could cook something when there's a power outtage.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 9:50AM
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Gas is certainly cheaper than propane. Most on the forum will agree that for cooking it is much preferred over electricity.

One way to manage costs is to buy (do not rent or lease) your tank and shop around for the lowest prices when you need it filled. If you get a large tank and only have to fill it once or twice a year your can substantially lower your costs. For example, by shopping around I cut the cost per gallon by 46 cents over the large supplier in my areas. Multiply that by my 500 gallon tank and the difference is huge!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 4:22PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

In our area, natural gas is the cheapest, then propane, with electric being the most expensive. If your only applications are the cooktop and dryer, I would probably go with what you prefer, asn it would nto make that much difference. Heating seems to be the biggest offender.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 7:40PM
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If it was me I would probably do electric dryer and propane stove.

You didn't mention your location, but having a backup heat source alone would be worth the added costs to me. One ice storm could knock out electricity for days, having a propane fireplace or even just a stove would save alot of grief.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 10:16AM
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We were faced with the same dilemma several years ago. We also have geo-thermal. My dryer was already gas so we purchased a conversion kit for it. I insisted on a gas (propane) cooktop. (many stoves/cooktops will require a conversion kit for propane btw--I only know of one brand that is manufactured to use propane without a kit) To run the dryer, cook, and use a gas fire place (daily in the winter) it probably costs us less than $85/year. I don't know what the electric cost would be, but the propane is worth it in my opinion.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 6:25PM
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I would never use propane unless I absolutely had to. It is very dangerous. If you have a leak it settles on the ground and does not dissipate like other gases do. That is why I would never use a propane BBQ.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 12:11PM
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