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Old 04-03-2013, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Gallatin Valley
494 posts, read 1,182,349 times
Reputation: 426

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Hello. We already live in Mt. The house we are currently in has natural gas. We are looking for a new home to rent as our lease is up soon. Some places say they are on propane. I have never dealt with that before but hubby says he has. We have 4 kids.

We are looking at renting something 1500 sq ft or more. 2500 would be preferable as it is what we have now.

What I am concerned about is what would we be looking at for an average propane bill? I understand you buy it and use it til it runs out and then refill it.

Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,822 posts, read 15,437,707 times
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Propane is pricey! Expect to pay on average 3-4x what you would normally have paid on NG. That's a ballpark but generally close.

We ripped out a propane free standing heater in our basement and went with wood pellets. I only run a shop heater and propane fireplace in the living room. Hopefully next year I wont use any more than 125gal (multiple by 4.2 to get total lb weight).
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:33 AM
 
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I've had natural gas and propane but currently primarily use a woodstove with propane backup. Propane is very expensive. You would be taking a chance letting your tank run out and then refill it as pilots would need to be lighted and you run the risk of being caught with no propane in cold months. Most propane companies will come around on a monthly basis and top off your tank but again, that gets very expensive. I do not even go through one tank a year as I burn wood 24/7 during the winter months. Something you could look for in a rental is a woodstove.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Gallatin Valley
494 posts, read 1,182,349 times
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Thanks for your advice everyone! I figured it would be expensive, but hubby doesn't think so. lol
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,822 posts, read 15,437,707 times
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I've done some price comparisons on pellet heat and for the most part it comes out to be around the same cost as natural gas. Our pellet stove shoulders a lot of our heating load in a 2,600 sq ft house and I use about 3-3.5 tons of pellets a year on average.

I pay about $185-200 per ton, so $600-700 a year on pellets, then we have the increased electric usage for supplemental heat in the winter months, so we are a more than natural gas, but waay less if it were all propane.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:34 PM
 
4,641 posts, read 3,967,018 times
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The price of propane can vary greatly from one part of Montana to another. In some areas especially rural communities the price is punitive. You can save by purchasing in off season at summer rates. But that may not be prudent for a renter.
In most areas of the state having alternative wood heat is cost effective and is also a nice cosy heat to spend winter with.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,523 posts, read 7,782,324 times
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This will give you a pretty fair comparison:
Propane Vs. Natural Gas - A Comparison
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Gallatin Valley
494 posts, read 1,182,349 times
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Thanks for the comments everyone! Raven I'll take a look at that.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: A Very Naughtytown In Northwestern Montanifornia U.S.A.
1,088 posts, read 1,591,410 times
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If one were to build a house from scratch and only had electricity and propane. The cheapest way to heat (I think) would be a hydronic system (hot water, not steam) but these systems are seldom found in rental homes except the old drafty Victorian houses and those boilers made steam and were not as efficient as the new boilers. Heating with a hydronic system fueled with propane would be the best use of propane as opposed to heating the rooms with little propane wall heaters or a central propane furnace.

Why rent when one can buy a place for as little or even less than renting still ? I guess folks have reasons for renting, we do, we own a place that we rent out and we live in a little apartment with no utility bills and we come out ahead somehow. Our one bedroom apartment with great view over town is only $325 and we pay no bills other than phone and web.
I found a few rentals that only have wood for heat and electricity for cooking and hot water. Propane is expensive due to the high cost of production, storage and delivery.
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Old 04-14-2013, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Montana
31 posts, read 40,985 times
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Propane and Natural gas are both commodities and as such are exposed to market swings and demand. Propane is actually a by-product of the refining process of oil and as such one would think it would be somewhat cheap, but it the opposite. In my adult life I have seen the cost of propane skyrocket. For two reasons I believe, one demand is way up as firewood and coal use go down and new more efficient furnaces go into new homes. Plus it is an oil market product and as such, when oil prices go up, so does propane.

What makes propane attractive is that you can put a tank anywhere a truck can get to it to fill it. So its very portable, and Natural Gas is not, you need infrastructure for that.

Personally, If I had my choice, it would be wood or coal with a propane furnace only for backup.
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