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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking of moving house but there's one thing holding me back from signing on the dotted line. This new house only has propane for water and heating. Its 3000+ sq ft and has a 500 gallon tank. I called a local propane company and they said I would most likely go thru a tank a month in the winter (Oct - March) and two during the summer which would be about $500 a month on a payment plan...thats $300 more (not to mention an electric bill on top of that for lights, appliances, etc) than I pay now in a slightly smaller house with electric everything .

Does anyone here heat with strictly propane? If so, do these figure sound right? Its a nice house but the $300+ more in utilities may put it out of my price range.

Thanks.
 

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Big E,
I have friends who built a home about 5 years ago, and thought that heating with propane would be: Efficient, economical and clean. They spend about $850 a month from Oct-April to heat their VERY well insulated house.

THey are actually looking into putting in an electric system...as it will be much cheaper to operate. Your fears are founded, and finally propane prices are not stable these days!

I would look into if the home might be capable of utilizing a different primary heating source...if yes, go for it!

Griswald
Vashon Is.
 

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Most modern electric furnaces & boilers are 100% efficient, however the cost of electricity when measured in btu's has been running about 30% more than the cost of propane, per btu. The best a modern propane boiler can do is 94%-98% efficiency.

I just switched from an 80% efficient oil boiler (oil is even less expensive per btu than propane) to a 94% efficient modulating propane boiler. The boiler supplies hot water and also the radient floor heating. I supplement heat with a wood stove, mostly for the cozy factor... and for the exercise. My house is very well insulated, about 2500 sq ft. Because of the efficiency of the propane boiler and the (historically) lower cost of propane compared to No 2 diesel my heating cost has gone down by *about* 25% with propane, compared to oil - equates to a savings of about $100 per month in the winter. An electric boiler would cost me much more to run.

That's just my experience. It's always good to run the numbers though, understand the cost of btu's and how your system will use them.

Here's some comparative costs per btu: http://www.npga.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=914

Good Luck!
 

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that's His Lordship, to you.....
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Even when we heat the indoor workout pool in the basement (seriously, we do have one!) our electric bill's only a couple hundred a month in winter. Chelan and Douglas have the cheapest electric power in the nation I'm told, and nobody has gas for anything here. That expense would be a deal-breaker for me!!
 

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we use propane for the furnace, water heater and cooking range. i had a 500 gallon underground tank put in place of the 225 gallon original a couple years ago. my consistent pattern is to fill sept/oct and then again feb/mar. thats it for the entire year. prices per gallon vary quite a bit so it really pays to shop by phone to see who has the best rate when the need comes up. i find that ferrell gas consistently has the highest prices of all the suppliers, fill up after fill up. on an annual basis, we spend about $150/mo for these 3 propane uses.

the best investment you can make is a programable thermostat. figure out your comfort range, set it and don't mess around. i have dropped our consumption by 10%/year with this simple change. our heated floor space is about 2,500 sqft so in a similar range and the house is 15 years old so not of the latest insulation standards.
 

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A friend of mine recently bought an older place with only propane and old-style electric baseboard heating. Faced with the same high costs, he had his place retrofitted. He got rid of the baseboard heating, and had a local contractor (a friend) install radiant heating in his floor. This is a network of tubes with hot water running through them. This network of tubes was laid down over the existing floor base, after the carpet was removed. A false floor was built over it. Propane heats the water.
Aside from the installation cost, its relatively cheap, efficient, effective, and really feels great on bare feet.
With propane, you can also get an "on demand" tankless hot water heater. I haven't heard of any electric ones, yet.
 

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Yeah, I have 2 250's for heating / water / stove / fireplace. Similar sized house. Those number sound about right. If you have a well insulated home with a good furnace system. A pellet or wood burner would be a good investment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
we use propane for the furnace, water heater and cooking range. i had a 500 gallon underground tank put in place of the 225 gallon original a couple years ago. my consistent pattern is to fill sept/oct and then again feb/mar. thats it for the entire year. prices per gallon vary quite a bit so it really pays to shop by phone to see who has the best rate when the need comes up. i find that ferrell gas consistently has the highest prices of all the suppliers, fill up after fill up. on an annual basis, we spend about $150/mo for these 3 propane uses.

the best investment you can make is a programable thermostat. figure out your comfort range, set it and don't mess around. i have dropped our consumption by 10%/year with this simple change. our heated floor space is about 2,500 sqft so in a similar range and the house is 15 years old so not of the latest insulation standards.
hmmm...see this was what I was afraid of...your experience is the exact opposite from what the propane place told me. The place has a programmable thermostat with zones. We keep our place now at 67 degrees. Is that about what you heat at gt? I'd be interested to find out how you pay so little when theres people like Griswald's friends that go through $850 of propane a month in winter.

Switching to another heating source is not possible as I'm only renting.
 

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We have 2500 feet and is primarily heated with an electric furnace that is 3 years old and runs like crazy on the coldest days. We purchased a wood stove to use on the coldest days and in two years it has paid for it self. Fortunately I live on a good size property with pleanty of trees to harvest and only costs me the fuel to run the saw. If you have access to low cost wood this might be a the way to go.
 

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M-F, am and pm heating up to 68. during the daylight hours, its set to drop to 62 but rarely goes below 65. weekends, 68. $850/month would basically mean running a 500 gallon tank dry in 30 days!!!!! what are they heating that takes that much propane?? BTW, i keep detailed expense reports on this exact topic so the numbers i posted are accurate for the last 4 years. i don't have zones on the thermostat as there is only one for the entire house.

and as i said, shop for propane, the pricing is all over the map. if you friend has a 'keep fill' contract with one of the more expensive suppliers, he needs to drop it and shop. this is no different than seeing the various prices/gallon at the various gass stations.
 

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Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
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Even when we heat the indoor workout pool in the basement (seriously, we do have one!) our electric bill's only a couple hundred a month in winter. Chelan and Douglas have the cheapest electric power in the nation I'm told, and nobody has gas for anything here. That expense would be a deal-breaker for me!!
Douglas has the lowest rates in the country. Chelan is rather expensive at three cents a kilo-watt hour. That is 33% higher than Douglas!!

The Chelan County PUD is "owned by the people they serve". If they don't serve you good luck.

I have propane at my vacation rental solar house in Chelan County.

It costs us somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 a year for hot water, heat, refrigeration, stove, and the generator for cloudy days. Propane is expensive and when the price went to $4 a gallon it was tough. That said propane is the environmental fuel of choice for heating and cooking. Using electricity for heat and cooking is just wasteful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Do the previous owners have records of their propane purchases that they would be willing to share? The best way to find out what it will cost to heat next year is to look at what it cost last year.
Been trying that route. Its a struggle to get anything out of the rental management company. The people who were in it before were also renters, have asked for their name and phone as well as asking them to ask the owner. So far no figures have been given and its been three days since I asked. The only thing I got was that they would address the issue AFTER I signed and gave them my deposit. Kinda what got me concerned in the first place...like they know its an issue and don't wish to discuss until after I've been roped in.

Told them I wasn't signing anything nor giving them any money until I got the figures.

Just got off the phone with another propane place and they said that they would base their monthly plan on 1200 gallons used for the year...I told them the other place said I'd use more than double that and they said that was unheard of. Said I would be looking at about $225 a month.
 

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when i need propane i call multiple suppliers and get it delivered on demand. you don't need a contract with a supplier which is what your last post sounds like. i have a local friend who signed up on a 'keep full' and he is paying way more than i have when i needed a fill. only thing a contract does is spread the cost over the 12 months. i just budget for this each month which allows me to shop price. everyone has their own way to approach this so simply consider my approach as one avenue, nothing more.

i just pulled up the spread sheet. for the past 13 months, my average was $105/mo. you obviously burn lots more in the winter months and way less the remainder of the year. hope these ACTUAL numbers help'yah.
 

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I'll pull my exact numbers when I get home. Of course I have a wife and 3 kids so my hot water tank pretty much never stops running. My numbers may be a bit higher than most. My water tank pretty much runs non stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sure do GT. I'm just unsure. I finally got info that the tank is leased from a company here in Poulsbo. Called them up and they wouldn't give me any figures. I then called their headquarters and got figures from them. Seems that in 2008 they had 3 deliveries for 630 gallons and only one delivery in 2009 (July) for 250 gallons. I was told by the PM the tank is full. When talking to the woman at HQ she said that 250 gallons from July wouldn't last the winter. She started mentioning something about they were probably buying propane somewhere else and they should look into pulling the tank. Ummm...did I say the house was vacated in Jan 10...I really meant Jan 09.

She said 1200 gallons seemed low and 2700 gallons seemed high and should shoot for somewhere on the high side of middle to estimate usage.

I just hope they don't delve too deep into this and go reposess the tank...that would be a fine way to start a tenant/owner relationship.
 

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We have a tank we "rent" from Pacer Propane, so we have a contract with them to supply our LP. If I wanted to cancel the contract and buy my own tank, then I could shop around and get the best price per gallon. But that's one more pain in the arse I don't want to deal with, and it would take years before I'd recover the cost of buying my own tank. Last year in Feb we used $245 worth of LP- this Feb we used $215 worth. Our hot water heaters and all our appliances are LP, but we have a heat pump with backup electric furnace as our main source of heat so we don't use near as much LP as if it were our main source of heat. Heat pump is great because it's also a cooling unit. But they're spendy, and really spendy to retrofit in a pre-built house.
 
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