Propane Usage Question

BD323March 8, 2012

We recently remodeled our home and put an addition on. At this time we changed from oil heat to propane when we put in a new furnace. I am amazed at how much propane that we seem to be using and wanted to see if you thought this sounded reasonable or that something isn't right especially having a mild winter this year in Ohio. Besides the efficient furnace and new stove, we have all new windows, doors and insulation. Things that use the propane in our home are: furnace, stove and dryer. While the dryer isn't new, it is approx 5-6 years old at most. I will also tell you that the highest the thermostat ever gets set to is 68 degrees and that is rare, 65-66 is the norm. From 7:30am-5:00pm weekdays, we turn the heat down to 60-61 and for sleeping it is set at 62. When we know we are going to be gone for several hours at any time, we also will turn it down. Most days I am cold and we even have an small electric heater running in the family room. One other note is that we live in a ranch that is 1700 square feet.

On about January 10th we got a delivery of 200 gallons to our home. At that point it brought the tank to approx 60%. Already on 3/9 we are down to approx 20% and in need of another delivery. We have used the stove/cooktop maybe 10 times since the delivery and I do approx 3-4 loads of wash per week. Right now we have a temporary line going from the tank to the house.

Does this sound reasonable?

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It would help to know the capacity of the tank, or what the level was when the first 200 gallons was added.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 1:35PM
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If comparing usage gallon-to-gallon with oil, the propane will require more gallons. Depending on which source of information one uses, oil has about 144,00 BTU per gallon and propane has about 91,600. Thus oil has about 1.57 times the number of BTU per gallon as does propane.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 2:57PM
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On cooking, we cook a decent amount and it is the only thing on our NG bill in the summer. It is generally $1 a month.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 3:55PM
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as was mentioned propane has significantly FEWER btu's (heat) per gallon than heating oil. Propane is generally more expensive per btu than heating oil. Even the advantages of a higher efficiency propane condensing furnace don't generally outweigh the cost savings per delivered BTU of heating oil. So, you will use more gallons of propane for heat because of it's lower BTU and generally it will cost you more. Cooking and clothes drying don't use much propane, the big uses are hot water and heat.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Natural gas is much less expensive per BTU than is propane. But the monthly minimum charge imposed by some natural gas suppliers really impacts those who use very little gas. The monthly charge is $10.00 plus the cost of the gas actually used for the gas company serving some nearby areas. My propane supplier has started a $48.00 per year tank rental fee.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 8:11AM
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We have a 500 gallon tank and the last time it was filled it was at 10-15%.

I understand now that we will go thru propane more quickly than the oil, but it just seems that paying approximately $250 per month for propane seems expensive when we don't have a large 2 story home and don't keep the thermostat high when we are home. We can only hope we have another mild winter next year.

We need to upgrade our electric hot water tank. We were going to use propane, but now I wonder if we should just stick with electric.

Thanks for the info that you have given me.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 9:43AM
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"We need to upgrade our electric hot water tank. We were going to use propane, but now I wonder if we should just stick with electric."

If you do decide on electric, I suggest that you give consideration to a Heat Pump Hot Water Heater as a potential huge electric usage money saver, albeit with a larger up-front cost.

For example:

Here is a link that might be useful: Example

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Propane is the most expensive heating fuel in my area with a cost of $28 per Million BTU. $2.05 gallon contract price with 80% furnace. Heat pump is around $5.50 per million BTU with rates at $.055 Kw for separately metered heat pump.

I used 500 gallons of propane from September to February. Very mild winter in a 1650 Sq ft house that is decently insulated. (In Missouri)

Getting ready to install a air HP with propane back up. Hope to cut my propane use by seventy five percent. Additional ducting being done with the install.

80% propane furnace with 10 SEER 2 ton AC (undersized)

3 ton AHRI rated HSPF 9.0/ 17 SEER 2 stage heat pump with new variable speed, modulating 80% propane furnace as back up heat.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Having the propane is a good idea for the gas range, the dryer, and maybe the hot water. I would have a heatpump with the propane for backup/defrost on the furnace side.

You should have a high efficiency heatpump.

Why didn't you get a heat pump when you were exploring replacing oil?

I'm in ohio too, and this has been a mild winter. A heatpump would have handled most of it just fine. Don't expect to get only a $80 electric bill though. You might be approaching $200 for January using the heatpump lots of the time.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:37PM
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I think your usage was mostly linked to the fact that you use propane for heating. What's the usage now, in summer? I'm linking a website will very good examples (only examples though) of propane usage for standard propane-fuelled homes. Hope it helps!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Propane Usage

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:55AM
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