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Posted: 4/23/2018 11:18:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/23/2018 11:19:45 PM EDT by V]
Hi all.

Looking to build new and I'd like propane to cook with propane so am considering it for heat with maybe a wood add on.

How much propane you guys going through a year?

Would it be similar to my current NG usage? ETA: assuming similar size/style home
Link Posted: 4/24/2018 5:28:29 AM EDT
I heat primarily with wood (central wood furnace), but have one added-on room that doesn't have ductwork to it that we heat with a propane fireplace. We spent about $300 on propane and, coincidentally, $300 on firewood this winter - and it was a cold one.

I suspect that normal variations in energy consumption and cost between propane, natural gas, and electric probably even out over time, so it's kind of a six-of-one, half-a-dozen-of-the-other thing. You use whatever's most convenient for your location, and long-term the "utility" sources are pretty much a wash. Wood's as economical as the amount of effort you're willing to put into it.

If I was doing it all over again, starting from scratch, I'd start out by designing the house around an integral, wood-fired masonry heater with a propane backup. Read up on the masonry heaters. It's like using a rocket stove to burn a relatively tiny amount of wood to heat a giant thermal mass, which re-radiates heat to keep the house warm. One of these things in a well-insulated house would be a mighty cheap energy bill.
Link Posted: 4/24/2018 10:03:36 AM EDT
It really depends on facts and circumstances.

LP v electric for instance: https://www.homepower.com/articles/home-efficiency/electricity/ask-experts-propane-vs-electricity

There are other articles and formulae out there in the web-world to figure break-even but energy markets are pretty competitive so all sources of btu will balance to the mean over time, until technology or newly discovered sources disrupt the market.

Where I just bought, the price of LP is about equal to the rural electric co-op when each is converted to BTUs. No surprise.

I've thought about a masonry fireplace and radiant floor heating but much of MO winters are back and forth warmer then colder so aren't easily regulated.

My plans are to use geothermal w/ an energy efficient house and have 2 either fireplaces, soap stoves or a combination.

I'm in the early stages of design right now for build next spring.
Link Posted: 4/24/2018 10:33:58 AM EDT
One thing LP has over electric is if the power goes off you only need a small generator to still have heat.
Link Posted: 4/24/2018 1:26:15 PM EDT
Nat Gas is 103.7k BTUs per cubic foot.

LP is 2,488 BTUs per cubic foot.

So, you're going to use 25 times the amount of LP to natural gas for the same heat output.
Link Posted: 4/24/2018 2:35:53 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brassaholic13:
Nat Gas is 103.7k BTUs per cubic foot.

LP is 2,488 BTUs per cubic foot.

So, you're going to use 25 times the amount of LP to natural gas for the same heat output.
View Quote
natural gas is ~1030 BTUs, not 103.7K. Propane is about twice as energy-dense as natural gas.
Link Posted: 4/24/2018 8:01:27 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By midmo:

natural gas is ~1030 BTUs, not 103.7K. Propane is about twice as energy-dense as natural gas.
View Quote
This is true, however to the OP, propane is more costly and you will incur much higher propane costs than you would with natural gas. My parents heated with propane 40+ years ago and in the worst of winter in Arkansas see $300 months. Now during the summer they went for months w/o having to buy propane. Also don't forget the Oooops forgot to order propane worries. They don't deliver to you just any ole day ya know.
Link Posted: 4/24/2018 9:58:54 PM EDT
Midmo,
I was considering using a wood indoor furnace to augment the propane since I'll have a wooded lot but don't really want to be a full time log splitter. As someone stated it seems the MO temp fluctuations don't seem that conducive to a masonry stove, else I'd be all over that.

Ive also considered an outdoor wood boiler. Any particular dislike on the indoor wood furnace?
Link Posted: 4/24/2018 11:06:36 PM EDT
My parents heated with propane....$300+ per month was not uncommon during the winter.
Link Posted: 4/25/2018 12:03:21 AM EDT
Look at buying your tank then you have options on who you buy you LP from. Bigger tank is better. Renting you buy from who you rent tank from. Price fluctuates during year but peaks in winter. You can also prebuy for discounts. But spot buying in cold winter is not good idea.

You can look at heat pumps as well. To reduce LP usage. LP isn’t big deal vs gas just you need conversion kit or order different model number for appliances. Look into rebates as well.
Link Posted: 4/25/2018 12:35:39 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By midmo:

natural gas is ~1030 BTUs, not 103.7K. Propane is about twice as energy-dense as natural gas.
View Quote
Whoops, I pulled the number off the wrong text line. I knew that sounded like too big of a deviation. Thanks for catching that.
Link Posted: 4/25/2018 2:03:08 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By V:
Midmo,
I was considering using a wood indoor furnace to augment the propane since I'll have a wooded lot but don't really want to be a full time log splitter. As someone stated it seems the MO temp fluctuations don't seem that conducive to a masonry stove, else I'd be all over that.

Ive also considered an outdoor wood boiler. Any particular dislike on the indoor wood furnace?
View Quote
The only thing I really like about the indoor furnace is that it was here when I moved in.

When it finally goes belly-up (have already had to replace a few parts) I'll probably replace it with an outdoor furnace. Indoors is pretty messy... by the end of the winter we've got a pretty good layer of tree bark compost going in the corner of the basement where we stack wood. But the biggest downside for me is just that I'm building a big honkin' fire in an old metal box in the basement of a 80-year-old stick-framed house. I do a little inspection every time I fire it up to make sure everything is in order... stovepipe hasn't rusted through (happened once), etc.

I don't know that I share the concerns about a masonry heater in MO, though. I can tell you there weren't many days this past winter when we didn't have a fire going. A big, stable thermal mass would have prevented some chilly mornings and probably would have improved my wood "mileage" significantly.
Link Posted: 4/25/2018 10:57:28 AM EDT
LP is sold by the gallon.
Nat gas is sold by the therm.
Sometimes hard to make a good energy comparison.

This past winter I burned 300 gallons in a 1700 ft house, including hot water.
I pre-buy lp.

I am dual fuel.
Use heat pump until outdoor temp drops to 27 degrees.
Below that , propane kicks in.
Get to use both fuels at their optimum operating temperatures.

Stay comfortable and don't cut wood anymore.
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