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Old 08-18-2009, 04:30 PM
 
1,322 posts, read 2,162,294 times
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Just a couple quick questions:

I've been researching ways to heat my house and haven't really got anywhere. I'm not ready for central heat and air, as I will be adding on to the house in the near future - same thing with adding a fireplace or wood burning stoves, I don't want to have to tear them out a year after they were installed. So, I've been looking at either using an electric heater or a propane heater.

From what I understand, electric heaters really don't work that well.

I spoke with someone earlier today about using a propane heater to heat the house. Right now, the house is approx. 800 sq ft, and I will be adding on another 400 sq ft within the next two years. From what I've figured, I need something with 25,000-30,000 btu's. There are a few propane heaters out there that easily cover the space, but I'm worried about the cost of propane.

I figure, if I do get a propane heater, I'll put it in a central location in order to get the best use from it. That is the only thing in the house that will use propane.

So, my question is, how does that work? Should I run it off of those little exchangeable tanks or should I pay for a large tank? How much do you think that'd cost?

I've always lived with central heat/air, and everywhere I've lived everything has always been electric. I'm new to this rural stuff.. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,487 posts, read 38,404,041 times
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Get a large tank.

Our first year out here, we were delighted that we had central propane heat. However, there was an ice storm (VERY rare here) that year, and we were without power for four days. Four days of no heat, because while we had propane, it was CENTRAL propane, which meant that we had no blowers, which meant that the heat wouldn't come on, because there was no electricity.

We now have propane space heaters in a few rooms - that way, we can heat just the rooms we want to. Our kitchen stove and our hot water heater are propane, as well. It costs us about $1200-1500/year in propane to do all that, but we're in Texas and it doesn't stay cold for very long at a time down here.
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Old 08-18-2009, 05:29 PM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,706 posts, read 18,973,929 times
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I'm in Baja where Propane is big.

Houses are made of concrete blocks or brick covered over with cement and hard to heat.

I have a portable electric heater for the upstairs bath/shower only.

Downstairs there is the fireplace in my large living room/dinette/kitchen area. I will put some wood in there or a presoaked fire log for 2-3 hrs at night before going into my TV room that has a portable large propane heater that works real well. Open the door to my bedroom for some of the heat to move into before retiring. Cannot see heating a whole house for no reason when parts are not being used.

Propane here is about $9 for a 5 gal tank depending on the Dollar/Peso exchange rate. One tank will last me over two weeks for the TV room...pretty cheap I think.

Steve
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
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Here, we pay about $300-400 to fill a 250 gallon tank (depending on how low it is and how much propane is per gallon at the time). The last fill-up we had was in April, and we'll likely get it filled up again in a couple of weeks, expect that to last for about 3 months or so, depending on the winter, then fill up again in December to take us through to spring.
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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Thanks for the replies..

So far, I think that I'll get a large tank, and hopefully I won't have to mortgage my house just to pay for it.. From what I understand, propane is a lot more expensive than anything else, but at the same time it has a lot more benefits than other ways of heating..

I'm actually in southeastern Oklahoma, so it's really about the same. There may be a few weeks where it gets real cold, but other than that, it's manageable. I thought about just buying a bunch of electric heaters, but I've been dissuaded from that, so it looks like I'm going with a propane heater for the main part, and then using small heaters where they are needed.

It's a small house, so I would think that it'd be fairly easy to heat.. I just worry about making a decision that'll cost me more in the long run. 300-400 isn't bad for three months, but since I'll only be using it for the heater then I think I can stretch that out quite a bit..

Then again, I'm new to all of this... :|

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,487 posts, read 38,404,041 times
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Now, remember, the house that I have is an early 1900's house, three bedrooms, 1 bath, living, kitchen, and mud room. About 1100 sq. ft. (not counting the attic, which is about the same), and not the best insulated in the world. Plus, we not only heat but do our cooking and heat our water with propane.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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If you go the large tank route, check with the local provider about a couple of things...

Many offer lower rates if you buy in summer...so you may want, if possible to get it now.

Some providers (but fewer and fewer) guarantee summer prices (when cost is usually lower) in the winter if you contract with them now and then you pay for it when it is delivered.

Most also provide a way to pay monthly rather than in one big lump sum, if you need to.

You usually have the option of buying your own tank or having the provider supply one. Some charge basically a monthly rental for the tank, some don't. Be sure to ask.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:45 AM
 
1,322 posts, read 2,162,294 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
Now, remember, the house that I have is an early 1900's house, three bedrooms, 1 bath, living, kitchen, and mud room. About 1100 sq. ft. (not counting the attic, which is about the same), and not the best insulated in the world. Plus, we not only heat but do our cooking and heat our water with propane.
That's basically where I'm at, although my house isn't nearly as big - from what I understand, the house has sat there since the early 1900's.. People lived in it for quite awhile, and did some upkeep on it, but it's still basically a run down shack. I've rebuilt it enough so that it's livable, but this was really about the only thing that I haven't figured out.

780 square foot, no insulation, skunks crawling through the wall.. yeah, you get the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skinem View Post
If you go the large tank route, check with the local provider about a couple of things...

Many offer lower rates if you buy in summer...so you may want, if possible to get it now.

Some providers (but fewer and fewer) guarantee summer prices (when cost is usually lower) in the winter if you contract with them now and then you pay for it when it is delivered.

Most also provide a way to pay monthly rather than in one big lump sum, if you need to.

You usually have the option of buying your own tank or having the provider supply one. Some charge basically a monthly rental for the tank, some don't. Be sure to ask.
I plan on getting all of that information next time I go down.. I guess just knowing which questions to ask will help a lot. Paying by the month makes sense, but I didn't know that they had different rates for the seasons - but that makes sense as well..

I really appreciate everyone's help..
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,719 posts, read 45,824,484 times
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Typically propane is cheaper about now than at any other time of the year, since demand is low. Depending on how sound your electrical system is, at least around here electric heat is more economical than propane, even if you use a non-vented propane heater, which of course opens up the whole can of worms on how well ventilated the house is.

You may want to stick with small "wall unit" type high-efficiency heaters, maybe 1 or 2 of them, rather than the traditional "scorched air" central unit.

Probably getting some insulation onto/into the house would pay off quickly.

There are some tax credits if you put in sufficiently efficient heating appliances.

We mostly depend on a high-efficiency wood stove for our heat, if you have firewood available either that or coal are going to be a good bet.

Something a bit off the wall is the corn-burning stoves you can get now, they are similar to a pellet stove, you can sometimes buy corn that has spoiled for a low price, I have seen one working, it has a blue flame like gas. Goes without saying that the stored corn is going to attract varmints of various sizes, though.
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