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Old 09-23-2010, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
2,299 posts, read 5,022,383 times
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I've never used propane before but am looking at a house in Evergreen that has propane heat. It has a big (maybe 12' long) propane tank. The house is approximately 4000 sq. ft. How does heating a house in mountains with propane compare to regular gas? Thanks!
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:37 AM
 
11,451 posts, read 48,453,400 times
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Delivered propane pricing is generally tied to the current pricing of natural gas.

You need to call the local propane suppliers and get their price/gallon for the season. Typically, they will offer a "spot price" where the tank is filled at your request, or "keep full" type of annual contract where they come by at their convenience and maintain the propane level, generally at a discount over the spot price. Requirements for safe system operation specify that the tank cannot be filled over 80% of it's total capacity, nor allowed to drop below a certain minimum level without checking out the system; these details make a "keep full" contract a real convenience for all concerned. On a keep full contract, you will agree to purchase a minimum amount of propane for the time period. This allows the propane service to forecast their bulk purchase through the season, and those savings are passed through. If you can locate the current supplier, they will have a use history on the property which can give you a fair idea of how much propane the property has used in past winters.

As a "rule of thumb", it's about 20%-40% more expensive to heat with propane than natural gas. But the real number you're looking for is the actual historical consumption on the house, with which you can reasonably forecast what it will cost you this year to operate the house.

FWIW, the Evergreen area is highly variable in it's climate exposure. Depending upon site location, some areas seem to have much colder and snowier winters of longer duration than others ... as the properties sit in very sheltered tree'd locations that don't get much sunshine. If wintertime costs of living there are a concern to you, you need to evaluate the location as part of your purchase decision. Unless you have an exceptionally well insulated and sited 4,000 sq ft house under consideration, it will be a rather expensive place to keep in an average Colorado winter, no matter what the source of heat.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:19 PM
 
1,742 posts, read 2,884,472 times
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We were in the country in Chaffee county at 7,400 ft. We heated 2,500ft primarily with a pellet stove. Now to fill our 500 gal tank to 80% @ $2.70 / gal = $1080 OUCH. I would use a woodburner or pellet stove. If the house is older and not well insulated you can easily burn $350-$500 / mo in a bad winter. It also depends on your exposure. We had glass on the south and west side of the house which helped us pick up a few degrees. The only thing we used propane for was the dryer and hot H20. RP
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:44 PM
 
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RE: Woodburning in Evergreen.

It's in a control area and unless you've got a catalytic type woodbox heater or some sort of clean burning FED certified woodstove, you can't use it in Evergreen.

A pellet stove is legal, but they aren't necessarily that cost effective anymore, either. When there was a lot of forest activity in the region, with local mills providing raw materials for the pellet manufacturers ... woodstove pellets were relatively "cheap" for the BTU they provided. Such is not the case today, however. Most of the wood pellets now come from Canada, and transportation costs added to the value of the pellets have driven that market up to be only competitive with natural gas in energy efficient homes.

I've got friends in Evergreen who heat their houses with pellet stoves ... and they go through about a bag and a half per stove per day over the last several winters. Is this something that you'd want to do the upkeep on? Their heatilator fireplaces sit unused due to the woodburning restrictions now; strictly decorative items in the living room and family rooms of their house. I bought their old Waterford wood burning heaters because they couldn't use those anymore, either ... and they're pretty clean burning units, but not FED certified. Work great in my workshop and office.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
2,299 posts, read 5,022,383 times
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Thanks for all of the info. Sunspirit, are you saying it is illegal to use all woodburning fireplaces in Evergreen? And is this all of the time or just certain days? I was really looking forward to having nice fires in the winter.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:56 PM
 
Location: CO
2,740 posts, read 6,470,037 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoisjongalt View Post
Thanks for all of the info. Sunspirit, are you saying it is illegal to use all woodburning fireplaces in Evergreen? And is this all of the time or just certain days? I was really looking forward to having nice fires in the winter.
Not Sunsprit, but here's a link to the Colorado Department of Publc Health and Environment Residential Burning Information and Regulations Page.

Restrictions apply from November through March.

Quote:
During the winter high pollution season (November through March) the graphic indicates whether an air quality Action Day is currently in effect. During an air quality Action Day, residential burning is restricted in the seven-county Denver-metro area, including Denver, Boulder, Broomfield, Douglas, Jefferson, and areas west of Kiowa Creek in Adams and Arapahoe counties. The only exceptions to the residential burning restrictions are for people living above 7,000 feet; those who use Colorado Phase III (Phase II EPA) certified stoves, Colorado approved pellet stoves, approved masonry heaters or those whose stoves or fireplaces are their primary source of heat. For more information on residential burning restrictions follow the links below.
You'll note that the restrictions do not apply if the home is above 7,000 feet. Most properties in Evergreen are above 7,000 feet, so before you buy any house, find out the elevation; if it's above 7000 feet, wood burning restrictions do not apply.
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