Propane can be a great alternative to heat up your home. The cheap costs and versatility of propane make it an attractive alternative to gas or oil for furnaces and other heating appliances. But what does it cost to switch your home to propane? Is it worth it?
If you’re looking for a standard efficiency unit, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,200 to $5,000 to convert your house to propane. For higher efficiency installations, the cost ranges from $3,500 all the way up to $7,500. Propane heat is a great option for some.
However, installing propane isn’t the only thing to consider. You have to think about whether you want to rent a propane tank or buy one. This includes maintenance charges as well as inspection and licensing. Let’s take a look pros and cons of propane as well as its safety hazards before you go out and invest.
How is Propane Heating Different from Electric Heating?
While electricity is the main and most popular way of keeping your house warm through heaters, propane is another option. Propane is sometimes also referred to as liquified petroleum gas. If you’re someone who uses a lot of gas products, propane can be an option worth considering.
Propane is widely used as liquid fuel. It’s transported and delivered at low temperatures. Propane can be purchased from a local supplier and can be transported through a tank above the house or underground. However, unlike natural gas, propane is not transported via pipelines.
Besides its use for heating purposes, propane can also be used for cooking stoves, power generators, grills, and more. Propane tanks are usually delivered in various sizes that are suitable for storage at home.
The propane tends to vaporize in order to supply the heating appliance, and it passes through a tube in the form of a gas. The tank where the propane is stored or the wall outlet usually has a regulator that ensures the proper pressure.
The versatility that propane brings to heating your home or appliances is a major advantage. It’s also faster at heating up your house when compared to electricity, and it can be extremely efficient. These points surely make propane and using it as a heating source an attractive option.
However, there are some concerns that should be considered. Gas leaks are the biggest disadvantage when it comes to propane; these leaks can cause flames that lead to an all-out fire. Leaks can occur as a result of carelessness or sometimes faulty pipes, tanks, or appliances.
Therefore, while propane can be a great and versatile way of heating up your home, its dangers should be considered before installing it.
Is It Worth Switching Your Home From Electric to Propane?
While propane can be extremely versatile in its usability, is it worth switching from an existing electric setup? Here are some pros and cons that can make this analysis easier:
- Burns Clean: One of the main advantages of propane, other than its versatility, is that it’s non-toxic. This means that you can bury the propane tank underground without having to worry about toxic fumes or other issues.
- Fewer Repairs: Propane furnaces tend to work and last longer than others. They can also go a long time without needing repair, which further saves on costs.
- One Source: Another problem that propane solves is that it can be a source of energy for all of your appliances. Relying on electricity for a stove or water for a heater are factors you no longer have to worry about.
- Fewer Deliveries: This can be a factor if you opt for a larger propane tank. Not only can you save on delivery costs but you can also have a better effect on the environment by reducing the number of trips the delivery vehicle has to make.
Despite these many advantages, there are some downsides to propane that we need to consider. Here are some:
- Less Heat Produced: As efficient as propane is, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t quite live up to the heat produced by oil. Therefore, while you may be saving money on using less oil, you will have to use up more propane to get your house warm and cozy.
- Switching Costs: Switching to a propane connection may sound easy, but it’s not as easy as you’d imagine. It can be expensive as well. You will need a professional installation process before you have your new propane heating system properly set up.
- Safety: Safety is the most crucial element when it comes to using propane as a heating source. Burning propane produces carbon monoxide, which doesn’t have a smell or color. This means that carbon monoxide can end up leaking and go unnoticed until it’s too late. Carbon monoxide poisoning and flames are some of the dangers of propane.
How Much Does It Cost to Convert From Electric to Propane?
Switching to propane from electric can bring about some numerous benefits for your house and its heating system. Using a propane furnace to heat up your home can help to improve efficiency and have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the number of deliveries. Let’s take a look at the costs related to switching to propane from an electric heating system.
If you’re going from an electric heating system, that means your house probably doesn’t have ductwork. This can make the conversion process slightly more complicated and expensive.
Before you can install a propane furnace, you will need to install the ductwork. You will need a professional heat-loss calculation performed by an engineer, and this could cost you anywhere from $500 to $800.
Next up, a contractor will then install the ducts and vents; this is done before the furnace is installed. You need to be careful of this installation and watch out for anything you might not need as these installations can easily cost more than $10,000.
Once done, the next steps are simple. You can connect an underground tank to the house and have the propane in there. Here’s a quick step-by-step run through of the entire process:
Start by calling your local gas company and confirm which options are available to you. You may find out that some options might not be possible in your area.
Next, have a professional come to your home to evaluate things like the heat-loss and the installation of the propane tank.
Based on the evaluation done by professionals, you can select a propane tank that is appropriate for your house and its needs.
Propane Furnace Cost
Once you’ve decided that you want to get a propane furnace installed, there are a few things you need to think about, especially cost. Typically, you can get a standard efficiency propane furnace installed for between $1,000 and $5,000. For a more high-efficiency system, it can run you up to $7,500.
To start off with, the cost of installing a propane furnace can depend on the size of the house, the ductwork and the condition of that ductwork, labor, modifications, and upgrades. On top of all that, maintenance is something you need to consider as well.
Labor costs can run you around $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the work done and average hours. Moving on to the propane furnace and ductwork, this can run you anywhere from $4,000 to a staggering $12,000. Consider the best option according to your budget.
When it comes to a propane tank, you’ll most likely be leasing one, and this can run you anywhere from $50 to $200 a year. Each tank holds 250 to 1,000 gallons. These costs also include installation and maintenance of the tanks.
If you’re adding a propane furnace to a heat pump, you’ll have to shell out anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Additionally, propane inspection and permits can run you about $50 to $300.
Finally, when looking at the average cost of heating your home, you should expect anywhere from $90 to $200 a month. These costs can significantly rise to anywhere from $1,000 to even $2,500 in more demanding environments.
Once the installation is complete, a propane furnace is a good investment, and it will last you a good while. Propane furnaces can last around 15 to 20 years on average. This largely depends on the model and how it’s used. Propane tanks for furnaces, meanwhile, can last more than 30 years.
What Are the Costs of Heating a Home With Propane?
When heating your home using a furnace, you should expect to spend around $90 to $200 per month for average use. However, in certain circumstances, this number can go up to anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500. These numbers fluctuate according to the propane prices at the time, the size of the house, insulation, and the efficiency level of your furnace.
If you choose to opt for a high-efficiency propane furnace, your operating costs can be reduced anywhere from 10% to 18%.
The efficiency of your unit can play a vital part in how much you end up paying in propane costs. Unlike natural gas, propane is sold per gallon, and as per the winter of 2020-2021, propane prices per gallon were at around $2.22.
However, the running costs aren’t the only expenses you will add to your list when you heat your home using propane. There are maintenance charges involved as well. With regular and scheduled maintenance, your propane furnace can function well and lasts longer.
You can go for a full or deep maintenance service, which runs anywhere from $200 to $400. This can seem like a lot, but it’s worth noting that this kind of service is only required every 2 or 3 years.
What Is the Cost of Converting to Propane?
Converting your heating from gas or oil to propane will cost you. Conversion prices can differ according to size and layout of your home as well as the level of complexity that the installation requires.
Electric Furnace to Propane: This is the most common switch people make. When renting a propane tank (which is usually the way to go) you can expect a conversion cost of anywhere from $2,000 to $5,700. Sometimes, there may be a need for extra ducts or vents, which can add to the cost.
Natural Gas to Propane: When converting from natural gas to propane, you can expect to shell out around $275 to $800 when you’re renting a propane tank. If you’re getting an underground propane tank, you can expect the price to rise a bit since that process can be expensive.
Fuel Oil to Propane: The most expensive conversion might be fuel oil to propane. You can expect to spend anywhere around $2,400 to a staggering $9,200, and these are prices for a rented propane tank. Should you opt to buy a tank, you could be spending $13,000.
How to Choose a Propane Furnace for Your Home
With the wide variety of furnace capacities and brands, it can be tough choosing which one to buy.
The size of the space you need to heat should match with your furnace. If you live in a larger space, go with a larger furnace; otherwise, an undersized furnace will struggle to heat up your home and wear out sooner. If the reverse is the case, an oversized furnace will just end up costing more in bills. Professional installers will be able to work out the best sized furnace for your home.
Next up, you should work out some basic numbers according to the square footage of your home and the kind of climate you’re living in. Furnace sizes are measured in the British Thermal Unit (BTU), which is the amount of energy you need to heat a pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit.
If you’re living in a hot area, you can expect anywhere from 30 to 40 BTUs per square foot. For medium temperature areas, you can expect 40 to 45 BTUs, and for cooler areas, you can expect anywhere from 45 to 60 BTUs.
If your home is anywhere from 800 to 1,000 square feet, you can expect 36,000 to 50,000 BTUs/h. For medium sized homes ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, you can expect 54,000 BTUs/hr to 75,000 BTUs/hr. And for larger homes of up to 2,500 square feet ,you can expect up to 125,000 BTUs/hr.