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Unread 07-03-2009, 04:04 PM
 
47 posts, read 127,732 times
Reputation: 38
Default Heating with Natural Gas vs Propane - Is One Better?

My thread got put in the wrong place some how so I'll try again. We are looking for advice on whether to switch from propane to natural gas. Those of you who have made the switch, are you happy with your decision. Is propane warmer than natural gas? My research that I have looked at on the internet say propane has more BTU's than natural gas. The natural gas company said that natural gas has more BTU. Who do you beleive. Is the cost of heating a home cheaper with natural gas than propane? We just want hear from you all that have made the switch and what your experience is. Thanks
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Unread 07-04-2009, 02:33 PM
 
16,490 posts, read 21,423,139 times
Reputation: 11776
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanic View Post
My thread got put in the wrong place some how so I'll try again. We are looking for advice on whether to switch from propane to natural gas. Those of you who have made the switch, are you happy with your decision. Is propane warmer than natural gas? My research that I have looked at on the internet say propane has more BTU's than natural gas. The natural gas company said that natural gas has more BTU. Who do you beleive. Is the cost of heating a home cheaper with natural gas than propane? We just want hear from you all that have made the switch and what your experience is. Thanks
Here's a calculator that can assist homeowners in figuring out which method of heating a home is more economical:
www.eia.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls
Based on that spreadsheet, here is the rough order, from low cost to higher cost, per million of BTUs:
- Geothermal heat pump $10.14
- Coal $10.47
- Natural Gas $13.24
- Elec Air Source Heat Pump $14.83
- Wood $16.53
- Corn $17.84 (see link for details)
- Wood Pellets $22.28
- Fuel Oil $31.15
- Kerosene $34.54
- Propane $37.48
See the spreadsheet for all the details and notes.

Here's a Federal page for comparing wood to other fuels...
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 12-20-2011 at 02:41 PM..
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Unread 07-04-2009, 05:20 PM
 
7,655 posts, read 13,877,480 times
Reputation: 7464
If natural gas is available, I would go with natural gas--for two reasons. First, propane tends to be more expensive--if for no other reason than it is less efficient to deliver to the home--propane by truck to a tank, natural gas through a pipeline network. Second, is safety. Natural gas is lighter than air, so if there is a leak, it will dissipate fairly readily. Propane is heavier than air, so if there is a leak, it tends to pool in the lowest place in the structure in a concentrated mass. If the propane finds an ignition source, a devastating explosion can occur. This can happen with natural gas, too, but natural gas has a better chance to dissipate rather than pooling. I have used both over the years--when I had a choice, I always used natural gas.
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Unread 07-04-2009, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
2,217 posts, read 3,100,351 times
Reputation: 1607
Neither gas nor propane is "warmer" than the other...that's a layman's fallacy associated with not buying a furnace with sufficient BTU output for the heated space.

Propane is primarily produced as a petroleum by-product, so a spike in oil prices can produce a punishing spike in propane prices. It's also produced in limited quantities according to projected seasonal demand, and a large unanticipated spike in demand from a severe cold spell, or a production/distribution shock (refinery or tank farm explosion, distribution problems from blizzards, hurricanes etc) can send prices spiralling to the heavens.

Last year, when oil hit $147/bbl, propane hit $4/gal in some rural areas of CO. A good rule of thumb for propane use in this area is to divide your house's square footage by two, and that's approximately how many gallons of propane you'll need each year. At $4/gal that averages to $500/month all year long for a 3000 sq ft house...or about $900/month to heat the house during winter, and maybe $50/month throughout the year for hot water, dryer, stove etc.

Natural gas prices tend to be more stable. Most people I know using propane do it because they have no other choice.
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Unread 07-05-2009, 09:09 AM
 
Location: in a mystical land far away from you
222 posts, read 568,113 times
Reputation: 209
Well said Bob. When it comes down to it, fire is hot no mater what is fueling it!
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Unread 07-06-2009, 03:29 PM
 
Location: The 719
7,800 posts, read 11,850,861 times
Reputation: 9066
I get really hot when I get my propane bill. We are on natural gas now and our bill was way lower.

Tell your propane company to come get their 500 gallon yard bomb out of your yard and pay the 200.00 to get the natural gas conversion.

It's cheaper, it's better, no more yard bomb.
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Unread 12-20-2011, 02:45 PM
 
16,490 posts, read 21,423,139 times
Reputation: 11776
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Here's a calculator that can assist homeowners in figuring out which method of heating a home is more economical:
www.eia.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls
Based on that spreadsheet, here is the rough order, from low cost to higher cost, per million of BTUs:
- Geothermal heat pump $10.14
- Coal $10.47
- Natural Gas $13.24
- Elec Air Source Heat Pump $14.83
- Wood $16.53
- Corn $17.84 (see link for details)
- Wood Pellets $22.28
- Fuel Oil $31.15
- Kerosene $34.54
- Propane $37.48
See the spreadsheet for all the details and notes.

Here's a Federal page for comparing wood to other fuels...
I've updated the old figures since the old link no longer worked. Looks like Propane is a huge loser compared to natural gas.

Wood can be pretty close, but most of us don't want to mess with a stove several times a day and night. My sister pretty much heats her home with wood; her husband has a pal in the sheet metal biz who wrapped their wood stove in ductwork so that the forced air system puts the heat throughout the whole house. Works great, and looks pretty ugly, but most basements aren't very photogenic to start with.
__________________
- Please follow our TOS.
- Any Questions about City-Data? See the FAQ list.
- Want some detailed instructions on using the site? See The Guide for plain english explanation.
- Realtors are welcome here but do see our Realtor Advice to avoid infractions.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 11-05-2012 at 10:28 AM..
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Unread 12-20-2011, 03:21 PM
Status: "Tourists UGH" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Western Colorado
5,124 posts, read 3,549,082 times
Reputation: 7705
I have friends in the San Juans that heat their homes with propane, it's their only choice. A buddy spent $3,000 to fill up his tank. That's insane. My home is heated with natural gas, which is going up, but so far the bills have been around $80.00 a month. I also supplement heating by firewood that cost $100.00 for two cords. Of course the thermostat is kept at 66 degrees when I'm here and 62 at night. I don't keep a house 80 degrees, that's dumb. I put on a sweatshirt.
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Unread 12-21-2011, 12:59 AM
 
Location: The 719
7,800 posts, read 11,850,861 times
Reputation: 9066
So you freeze, but it's only costing you $80.00/month? Pretty good deal...... I think.
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Unread 12-21-2011, 08:16 AM
gn3
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
113 posts, read 156,883 times
Reputation: 123
66 isn't freezing. I keep my place at 63 in the morning/evening, 58 when we're gone or at night. To me it feels comfortable with season-appropriate clothes. Anything above 68 is sweltering.
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