If you're adding a new stove in your kitchen or if you are considering switching your entire home or water heating system to propane, you might be trying to decide between propane, natural gas or electric range. There are benefits and drawbacks to each choice, and it's important to understand how much propane a range will use before you install one. This can help you to determine whether a propane range is truly within your budget.
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Propane Kitchen Stove Costs
On average, you might expect to use about 35 gallons of propane or more to operate a propane range throughout the course of a year. Again, this is all dependent on your use of your range, which may be impacted by the size of your family.
You can calculate your propane usage on a particular range burner by determining the BTU (British thermal unit) for that burner, which is its gas energy consumption rather than the heat output of the propane.
You can then measure the gas output of your range using the following conversions, which are provided as example figures to help with your calculations.
1 liter = 25 megajoules of energy
1 kilogram = 49 megajoules of energy
1 gallon = 91,502 BTU of energy from propane
1 pound = 21,594 BTU of energy from propane
You'll then need to divide the energy consumption by the appliance consumption rate. For instance, a gallon of propane has 91,502 BTU. If you divide that 91,502 BTU by the BTU per hour rating of your range, you will be able to determine how many hours that gallon of propane will last. According to this formula, a 23,700 BTU heater would last for 3.86 hours (calculated by dividing 91,502 by 23,700).
Calculating Propane Costs
To figure out what the cost of your propane bill might be, you'll need to break things down on a granular level. The easiest way to do this is to research a particular appliance you hope to buy and call local distributors to see what propane costs are in your area.
Keep in mind that your area's climate will impact the cost of propane, since supply and demand during the heating season in a cold area may drive up costs. You can calculate average propane usage per square foot to help estimate your costs. If you will be heating your home with propane in addition to using it for your range, expect that a 1,500-foot home in a mild climate would require about 1.5 million BTUs of propane per month, a home in a moderate climate would use 3 million BTUs of propane per month and a home in a severe climate would use around 5 million BTUs per month.
Cost of Electricity vs. Propane Stoves
To compare the cost of electricity to propane, you first have to understand how the measurements differ. Propane is measured in gallons, while electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours. One gallon of propane is roughly equivalent to 27 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
To determine the cost of an electric versus a propane stove, you would need to then calculate the cost based on each energy measurement. This will differ depending on the area where you live and the average costs for each source of energy. Additionally, the specific stove or range you choose will also determine how expensive (or inexpensive) your utility bills will be.
Electricity Vs. Propane Ranges
Cooktops, ovens, heaters and water heaters are typically very energy efficient when compared with electric because energy from electricity is converted into heat, whereas propane loses heat through unburned fuel and gases. Propane ranges and ovens provide instantaneous heat and temperature control. In fact, most professional chefs prefer to use a propane range over an electric cooktop. An electric range just doesn't offer the freedom to cook as comes naturally, plus it can take a lot longer to heat up pots and pans.
Natural Gas Vs. Propane
If you're making a choice between gas and propane ranges, it's important to clearly understand the difference between the two. Natural gas is methane that's been pressurized into a liquid. While natural gas contains propane, it's also been cleaned for the sake of efficiency.
Alternatively, propane is found in natural gas and petroleum and is the end result of the refining process of both materials. While propane and natural gas are different, they also have some similarities, such as the fact that both can be stored as liquids, they can produce carbon monoxide and they are both low-emissions fuels. Because they can both be used interchangeably, they are also stored in similar ways, such as in tanks and portable bottles.
Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Propane and natural gas may release carbon monoxide when they're burned. With that in mind, you'll want to make sure you don't put your range in an area where it will be too confined. In addition, you should educate yourself and family members or roommates about how to identify carbon monoxide leaks and poisoning.
Natural gas is lighter than air, meaning that the dangerous gases contained within it will rise to the top of the room. Propane, which is heavier, tends to drop dangerous carbon monoxide gas to the bottom of the room.
Which Is Cleaner?
While natural gas is a bit cleaner than propane, propane is actually more energy efficient. As such, natural gas will most likely be the cheaper option for you when you consider straight per-unit cost. Propane might cost less overall, however, due to its efficiency.
Propane Vs. Electricity
Anything in your home that currently runs on electricity can almost always be run on propane instead. Even better, it is likely that a home run on propane would save you money compared to electrical costs. In fact, research from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that prices of electricity are almost twice as much as propane, based on current data. A water heater run by propane instead of electricity can cost 1/3 less and will even be more efficient, providing hot water twice as quickly as its electric-run counterpart.
Propane can also offer warmer temperatures than electricity, as it can heat the air to between 130 degrees and 140 degrees in short bursts. A propane furnace will most likely outlast an electric furnace by between five and 10 years, according to Petro.
Additionally, propane is known to be much more reliable than electricity, since there isn't a risk of a power outage taking out the propane range. You'll have better luck getting in touch with a customer service representative from a local petrol station versus a big-name electric company when you require service.
Propane Is a Clean Resource
As mentioned above, propane is a cleaner resource than electricity, long seen as the green alternative in households. Therefore, this is an excellent option for environmentally-minded consumers, allowing you to cut down on emissions.
In addition, the use of natural gas risks spills or residue deposits, neither of which are an issue with propane. Since there are no residues left behind in the case of propane, it isn't as dangerous to the water or soil, and it won't ignite automatically if it makes contact with the air (the temperature would have to exceed 900 degrees Fahrenheit for this to be the case).