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Old 12-27-2010, 12:28 PM
 
13 posts, read 57,315 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi All ~ Sharing my experience, so that maybe we can give share tips on how to stay warm, cheaply, when you have to use propane in a rural area.

This is my 1st time renting an apt. in a rural area (I'm in Rhode Island) and I had NO idea that it was 150% more in cost compared to natural gas. In addition, I've read that the reason propane is such a rip-off is because it's tied into oil prices...ugh, just what we need...we're already getting raked-over-the-coals at the gas-pump...now this!!??

I'm paying about 2.99 per gallon and apparently it can go up anytime, with no notice at all, and I have to just pay it. Plus, if I get locked into a contract for a set price, and the price goes down, then I'm between a rock and hard place once again.

This is my plan thus far:

1) I've told the propane company to switch my account to "will call for delivery" instead of "automatic". Why? Because every time they come to deliver, they LEAK propane, which YOU have to pay for. They had me on delivery every 3 weeks, which undoubtedly benefited their wallets a lot more than mine!

2) I'm keeping all my thermostats on 50, keeping two big rooms closed off and using a Honeywell space heater, which is keeping my bedroom toasty from about 7pm to 8am and periodically throughout the day. Apparently it's quite energy efficient - it's a 1500 watt heater...You can figure what it will cost you to run using this formula:

How to Calculate the Energy Usage of a Space Heater | eHow.com

I calculated it will cost me about 40 bucks a month to run it at 900 watts for 12 hours per day. (even if it were $80 per month, I'd be thrilled!)

Now, I know that not everyone will be happy with one heated room, but it's working great for me. I dress warm all day and sometimes the Sun warms my house, plus it's easy to stay warm bundled up & by eating warm foods and moving around a lot.

It keeps my bedroom (with the door closed) so toasty and I'm able to go the whole day and night, so far, without using any propane at all....Just the space heater.

My last electric bill was about 39.00, so I will let you know what the increase is using this heater for the month.

This is the one I bought:

Amazon.com: Honeywell HZ-7200 Cool Touch Oscillating Heater w/ Smart Energy Digital Control Plus: Kitchen & Dining


3) I've set the water heater to *vacation* and will only turn it up before showers and then back down after showers...also, using any leftover hot water in the tank to run the dishwasher.
Hot water is the ONLY propane I'll be forced to use, unless I heat big pots of water on my electric stove-top burner and pour myself a bath...ha! Unlikely!

4) Lastly, I'll be using a counter-top one-burner range for stove-top cooking, also electric, and I already use a small Cuisineart convection oven for other baking.


Okay...can anyone add to my list to reduce the hellish propane experience?

Or, if you see any holes in my plan, let me know!

By the way, in less than 2 months, I'm out over 600 bucks and I'm just one person living here >> Now, do you see why I'm obsessed?
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:44 PM
 
28,143 posts, read 39,759,063 times
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Shop Heating & Cooling : Water Heaters : Electric Tankless Water Heaters at Lowes.com
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:47 PM
 
13 posts, read 57,315 times
Reputation: 15
Default hi--

Hi Tek-Freek...Yes, I thought about a portable tank-less water heater...but I don't know where to buy one that would be suitable to keep in my bathroom -- since I'm a tenant here, I can't make any change to the heater in the basement.

Thanks for responding
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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Shop Plumbing : Water Heaters : Point of Use Water Heaters at Lowes.com

Place under a sink in the counter. Wait, it's for the shower? A bit more difficult... and requires more plumbing.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:53 PM
 
13 posts, read 57,315 times
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I looked at your link...those are ones I can install myself? Is there just a hose I connect to my bathroom faucet etc?
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:55 PM
 
28,143 posts, read 39,759,063 times
Reputation: 36604
I recommend some Google research, but the connections may or may not require copper piping.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:57 PM
 
28,143 posts, read 39,759,063 times
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Rheem Richmond Rp20013/Uv20013 Electric Water Heater Connect Kit

http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CC0Q8wIwBA#
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:59 PM
 
28,143 posts, read 39,759,063 times
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Read the reviews here. Some good tips and experiences:

Amazon.com: Bosch GL6 Ariston 6-Gallon Point-of-Use Indoor Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater: Home Improvement
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:02 PM
 
13 posts, read 57,315 times
Reputation: 15
MUCH appreciated...I will read all you sent. Thank You
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,753 posts, read 53,902,796 times
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You are focusing on one thing, propane cost, to the exclusion of other factors. (Forest for trees, and all that rot.)

First, $3 per gallon is not terrible. If your furnace is 85% efficient, that means your electric cost has to be less than 13 cents per kilowatt hour for you to save money heating the same space with your electric heater. Heating just a room and keeping temps down does save money, no matter what you use for fuel.

Second, you say there is a propane water heater in the basement. Are you somehow heating water for another tenant or the landlord? Pipes can mysteriously get tapped. There should be a valve on the OUTLET of the heater. Cut this valve off for a couple of days and then come back. If it is not still off, or another tenant is complaining that they have no hot water, you have company. Better yet, the propane tank has an emergency shut-off valve on it. Turn it off for a couple of days. (When you turn it back on, the pilot for the water heater may need to be re-lit.)

The propane company should have bills for the other tenants. Find out if you can get a bill comparison. If yours is the only high bill, suspect foul play.

Once you are sure that only you are the one using the propane, then look for ways hot water can be wasted. Heating water takes a lot of energy, and water coming into a building in winter is often colder than in summer and fall.

As for venting gas, the amount vented in a proper fill operation is minuscule. If the tank is releasing gas after the fill because it was over-filled, then there could be a problem. Propane tanks should only be filled to about 80% capacity to allow for expansion on hot days.
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