Propane Cheaper Than Oil

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: rberq On: Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:29 pm

As spiker said, propane price often varies by volume. I use 200 to 300 gallons a year for cooking and some space heating, and my lock-in price this Winter was $2.69. I know people who only use it for cooking and pay almost twice that, because of lower volume. My dealer has a 300-gallon minimum for the contract price, but I'm a long term customer so they have been letting me do the contract even though I come up short many years -- they credit me with the unused money on next year's contract. It's one of those borderline situations where, if I cut my use too much, I will jump into a higher price bracket and end up paying more money for less gas.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: titleist1 On: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:15 pm

When we upgraded a few years ago I compared oil & propane furnaces. I decided on propane since we have a dryer, water heater and cooktop also using propane and figuring it would be cheaper yearly maintainance than an oil burner. We also bought a 1000 gallon tank so we could shop for price. That tank paid for itself by the third fill up due to the price difference we were able to get. Our last delivery gave us 800 gallons in the tank in june of '08 and we still have about 400 gallons left. My goal was to try to make it to 2011 before getting it filled again, I think I'll make it.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: SMITTY On: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:33 pm

Propane is pretty rare out where I live. Some have a tank outside for the kitchen stove & dryer .... always expensive -- no way around that. In the city, natural gas is most common ... also pretty pricey, but not quite as bad as propane. I paid close to $50 to have three 20lb gas grill tanks filled a few years ago. Comes out to about $7/gallon -- not too far off from what people pay for their ovens & dryers around here.
Most people have electric oven/dryers, & oil heat. There are quite a few houses built in the 80's that have 100% electric heat. Even back then I thought that was dumb. They would put an extra 2" of insulation in the walls (2x6 instead of 2x4 construction), but you still couldn't compete with oil on any level. Electric is 5x more expensive any way you slice it.

Oil burners last a minimum of 30 years, to some I've seen 50+ years old. Not sure what they get out of gas ones, but from what I've seen from my buddies places, they seem to break quite a bit more often. My oil burner & boiler are 14 years old & 100% original, with the exception of the nozzle.
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler


Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: steamup On: Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:51 am

Just got my propane automatic delivery. They come every 3 months to fill my 100 gallon tank. It took 35 gallons to top off my tank. I locked in at $1.799 last fall. It beats the $2.799 I paid last year. The only problem is I get a $4.60 delivery charge on every bill regardless of volume delivered.

I use propane for cooking, drying clothes and domestic hot water. In the winter, I have a 3 valve setup to preheat my water with my tankless coil before it goes into the propane water heater. In the summer I bypass the tankless coil. I have a 3 person house hold with 2 other children visiting at least once a month (and they bring their laundry). In the summer my propane use doubles.

I paid $3.499 for oil last fall. I bought 150 gallons to split between the house and workshop. I use it for backup and for the mild days to take the chill off of the house. I still have most of the oil left.

I have a wood boiler in the house and a coal boiler in the workshop. This year the coal system will be tied into the house. These are my primary sources of heat.

I have been monitoring the cost of propane vs oil for some time. If you put in a 90% efficient propane boiler vs. a 80% efficient oil boiler, the cost is close. If you factor in the added maintenance of the oil and the loss of efficiency as soot builds up, the cost between the two is about a wash. In the future, I will probably install a propane boiler in my house for backup purposes so I don't have to worry about the oil going bad or risking a oil leak.

There are a lot of companies in my area that sell propane and/or oil, thus keeping the prices competitive.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: rberq On: Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:35 pm

steamup wrote:I have been monitoring the cost of propane vs oil for some time. If you put in a 90% efficient propane boiler vs. a 80% efficient oil boiler, the cost is close. If you factor in the added maintenance of the oil and the loss of efficiency as soot builds up, the cost between the two is about a wash

Agreed. My space heating (400 square feet) is a 10,000 BTU unvented propane heater, so about 98% efficient, which makes it about a break-even with oil even before the extra maintenance costs of oil. Some people worry about an unvented heater; but running flat out it is only the equivalent of about one medium cooking burner, and most of the time it is not running at maximum output.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: Berlin On: Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:28 pm

I've rarely seen propane begin to compete with oil. There are numerous advantages to oil in addition to cost, such as safety, ease of maintinence and durability of heat exchangers and equiptment. If you're heating with forced air, consider the additional repair costs of a more complex furnace with expensive components when running propane, and consider the lifespan to be at best half of any oil heat exchanger. Vacuuming soot? really? don't let your furnace run unmaintained or in a state of complete misadjustment and you will have NO heat exchanger soot. Maintenance costs? nozzle/filter yearly will run you under $10. Furthermore and perhaps most importantly: almost anyone that can operate a coal stove/ boiler/ etc. is fully capable of maintaining and servicing, and in some cases troubleshooting their oil furnace, that cannot be said of almost any propane furnace on the market with excessively complicated controls and circuit boards. And, worst of all, you have a hideous, giant, relatively unconcealable, white whale full of explosive gas sitting in your yard.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: spiker On: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:49 am

I bought a 120 gal tank from AmeriGas last Spring so that I am not locked into one supplier and can get the lower customer owned rates. After installation, cost around $700. Shopped around yesterday and got a great rate from AmeriGas: $1.92/gal. A co-worker just paid over $3/gal to fill a rented (not customer owned) tank from Ostermans, my old supplier who I suspected was not giving me a good deal.

In the past I have used 350 gal/yr, but expect that to drop now that I have the coal stove. So my payback will probably be around 3 years. I am very happy that I made the investment.

The risk to me is that I am responsible for any repairs to the propane setup. I fixed one leaky joint in the past, so that task does not bother me.
spiker
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Salvo
Stove/Furnace Model: Citation

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: Josh H On: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:06 pm

Buy your own tank so you can use whatever supplier is cheaper when you need it. My last fillup (Summer 2010) was $1.59 per gallon plus tax. I pay $1 less per gallon than my neighbors because I can price shop.
My family of 4 used 335 gallons to make dhw, cook, and run the propane furnace as a supplement less than 10 days.
Josh H
 
Stove/Furnace Make: dutch west medium Hitzer 354
Stove/Furnace Model: Farm & Fleet style wood

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: medukonis On: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:37 pm

traderfjp wrote:A guy I know claims his friend installed a propane tank and effecient heating unit and is only spending 60.00 a month for heat/hot water.



Is this home in Florida? I'm kidding. My home is a 1 story 1750 sq/ft with a 1750 sq/ft finished (heated) walkout basement in Northern VA. Our first year in that house we spent $3000 on propane. That was the last time that happened because we filled our useless fireplace upstairs with a harman pellet insert and then filled the useless fireplace in the basement with a harman coal insert. Propane for hot water and backup heat. We haven't filled our tank since the end of last winter and it was $2-$3 per gallon. With this experience I can not see how $60 worth of dinosaur gas can heat a home for a month especially in the northeast.
medukonis
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Magnafire Elite Insert
Other Heating: Heat pump, wood pellets
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnafire Elite Insert

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: robb On: Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:26 pm

if he is on a budget plan he could be spending $60 a month...problem is when or if that catches up with him he will be out a boat load of dough when the fiscal yr ends or they will forward it and raise his monthly fee next yr....I have a 100 gallon tank for a propane fireplace...got filled at $6 a gallon. They said it cost that much because I dont use enough..so much for conservation, I guess they cll it going green because it costs so stinkin much??!!
robb
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 608 stoker

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: samhill On: Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:57 am

I keep lying to my porpain supplier, saying I`m not here year round. I know sooner or later I`ll have to get my own tank & shop around. I`d do it now but still have a surplus with them from when I paid monthly, even before the coal furnace I was paying more than what I should but they wouldn`t recalculate.
samhill
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 160
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 75 in garage
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker/hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: koker 160/ hitzer 75

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: spiker On: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:52 pm

Got the tank topped up yesterday from AmeriGas for 2.07 $/gal. I called just to see what prices were doing, and when I got the good quote went ahead and had it filled. Now I have the comfort of knowing I will not need gas again until Spring, and will not be forced to buy during the Winter when prices can sometimes spike.

Over the summer, our use averaged 1.5 gal/wk for hot water and cooking. During the recent bitter cold weather, we averaged 4 gal/wk. The increase is caused by turning up the hot water setting slightly, lighting the furnace pilot light, holiday cooking, kids home on school break, and the furnace kicking on occasionally. Not bad, though I got used to the summer numbers.

I love the price I get for owning my own tank. Sorta wish I had a bigger tank, but that would have cost more up front.

My coworker just mentioned that Osetermans charged him 3.70 recently. He rents the tank. He asked me about Amerigas and plans to call them to discuss switching suppliers. I realize that different suppliers may be the low-cost supplier in different regions, but I shopped around extensively in SE CT and RI and AmeriGas consistently quoted the best price.
Last edited by spiker on Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
spiker
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Salvo
Stove/Furnace Model: Citation

Re: Propane Cheaper Than Oil

PostBy: SMITTY On: Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:07 pm

My buddy just filled his 100 gallon tank at his shop. $2.80/gallon (lock in price :shock: ) .. cost him about $225 for 80 gallons ... and that heater will probably piss through that in a month. :o
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler