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Old 01-24-2020, 01:29 PM   #1
forced-2-work
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Default Propane or Electric Central Heat?

Wife and I are building a house and I am going back and forth on this question. House will be around 2000sqft with either 10 or 12 foot ceilings in open living room area (have not finalized that yet) and 9ft in bedrooms and hallways. The stove top I already determined I want to be propane, so I am almost thinking just get central heat propane also. what are yalls opinions on what to do for central heat? People with electric heat do you see bills higher in winter? Propane users how many times do you have to fill it up a year? Any info is appreciated. (if we go propane with central heat I can get a good price on 320g tank
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:41 PM   #2
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Propane has 100,000 BTU per gallon, you need to know the BTU rating on the unit you want but it is probably around 199,000 BTU. Knowing this you will burn about 2 gal. propane per hour depending on the efficiency of your unit. On a well insulated hour the unit will probably run 10% of the time (just an estimate depending on the temp. outside) so about 2.5 hours per day at 2 gallons an hour at about $2 per gallon. So that is $10.00 per day to heat your house, these figures are an estimate you need to know the BTU of the unit you are wanting and do the math. BUT propane heat is so much better and not as dry as electric.
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:44 PM   #3
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We have propane. Furnace and water heater. In the summer time itís awesome doesnít burn much, in the winter and it gets cold I hate life.

I wish the furnace was electric.

Iím plumbed for a propane cooktop just havenít switched it out yet.


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Old 01-24-2020, 01:46 PM   #4
forced-2-work
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayhem View Post
We have propane. Furnace and water heater. In the summer time itís awesome doesnít burn much, in the winter and it gets cold I hate life.

I wish the furnace was electric.

Iím plumbed for a propane cooktop just havenít switched it out yet.


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do you have a fire place? (we are going to have a wood burning fire place)
how big is your house?
how many times do you fill up during winter roughly?
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:49 PM   #5
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Propane. Always go propane. My parents have a 500 gallon tank, it get's filled up right before winter, and is usually good for the year. They said it's usually every 11 months this past winter when we were up there. They live in Wisconsin, and keep the heat at 68 during the day, and 58 while sleeping. Roughly 3,000 SF on three stories.

The other thing with propane, I don't know if it's the same here in Texas, but back home a person can buy propane in the spring/summer when it's cheap, then have it delivered right before winter hits. That way you don't get stuck paying the fall/winter time price.
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forced-2-work View Post
do you have a fire place? (we are going to have a wood burning fire place)

how big is your house?

how many times do you fill up during winter roughly?


Wood burning fire place and hardly ever use it. Itís a PITA.

2000sqft

Iíll fill up in Feb and it will last till August. After that itís a crap shoot. It got cold at one point a year or ago and burned 200 gallons in a month.


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Old 01-24-2020, 01:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayhem View Post
We have propane. Furnace and water heater. In the summer time it’s awesome doesn’t burn much, in the winter and it gets cold I hate life.

I wish the furnace was electric.

I’m plumbed for a propane cooktop just haven’t switched it out yet.


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This.
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:54 PM   #8
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We have a fireplace. We had propane central heating put in the house 30 years ago when we built it. We just use a couple of the electric radiator space heaters now, and our fireplace. Haven't used the propane central heat for over 20 years. Propane proved to be expensive.
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
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We have a fireplace. We had propane central heating put in the house 30 years ago when we built it. We just use a couple of the electric radiator space heaters now, and our fireplace. Haven't used the propane central heat for over 20 years. Propane proved to be expensive.
this is where I am torn...... I can get propane for 2.25 a gallon. not bad if i am not burning 200 gallons a month, but life will suck if I do burn that much....... oh decisions

although using space heaters in winter could also help cut down on propane cost and wont be horrible on electric either.......why can't I just be rich!?
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:58 PM   #10
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We have electric with a heap pump and backup strips and hate it. Dry and our electric bills double from November through February in west Texas.

Even had a whole new unit put in because we thought something was wrong with ours. No change. Our house is 1400sqft and it seems to run a lot for keeping the house at 71 degrees in West Texas.

My folks have propane in the hill country and they go through about 175 gallons a year for cooking, hot water and heat, granted their place is only about 700 SQ ft and itís jus the two of them.

We will absolutely put propane in our next house! Get a big tank and it never goes bad! Iím also **** about having a generator that runs on propane and plenty on hand in case the power goes out/ SHTF... so thereís that


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Old 01-24-2020, 02:00 PM   #11
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If the house is still being plumbed have a line put into the living room and bathroom, you can install infrared wall heaters also, they are very economical and use very little gas for as big of an are as they heat.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrc View Post
If the house is still being plumbed have a line put into the living room and bathroom, you can install infrared wall heaters also, they are very economical and use very little gas for as big of an are as they heat.
we have not even broken ground yet. still in the finalizing stages. this is why I am trying to line all my ducks up in a row before we break ground
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:03 PM   #13
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Propane for sure.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayhem View Post
We have propane. Furnace and water heater. In the summer time itís awesome doesnít burn much, in the winter and it gets cold I hate life.

I wish the furnace was electric.

Iím plumbed for a propane cooktop just havenít switched it out yet.


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This. The cold months get expensive QUICK.


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Old 01-24-2020, 02:09 PM   #15
Mike D
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Default Propane or Electric Central Heat?

We went heat pump with electric auxiliary heat.

In most of Texas a heat pump will serve any need, especially in a new construction house. I canít say that Iíve ever noticed it switch to auxiliary heat.

As to propane consumption, we have (2) 50 gallon propane water heaters, propane cooktop (6 burners plus griddle) spa heater, and a log lighter for our outdoor fireplace. We did our initial 250 gallon fill in June of 2019 and Iíve had to refill twice so far. I canít imagine how much more would be used if we had propane heat.

Also any gas powered heat creates humidity. If you are planning to foam the house, Iíd talk to your HVAC guy about that to see if it may be an issue.


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Old 01-24-2020, 02:23 PM   #16
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You can do a heat pump with a propane emergency heat instead of the electric heat strips.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:26 PM   #17
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We have a 2100 sq ft house that was built in 1994 and is all electric. Our electric bill runs between $250-350 a month. We do have a pool and that pump runs at least 8 hours a day and more if temp is below 35 degrees. We have a wood burning stove that we use quite regular if the temp gets below 40 because the wife is cold blooded.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:28 PM   #18
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We have an electric ashley fireplace insert, heats our home in winter when cold. We like sleeping cold. Its a mizer on logs. With last winter mild and this one too we haven't burned a log. I was a propane guy but our electric heat and fireplace take care of us just fine. 56 in house this morning but thats perfect sleeping for us !
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:28 PM   #19
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OP-With all that's been said to this point and if ya had to make a decision today, what would you go with???

tending the fire,
Bob G.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:30 PM   #20
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If it were me and new construction I would go all foam and electric.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:23 PM   #21
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Check out all the fuel sources I have used or tried most in my personal homes
Or rentals
1. Home wife and I was a combination electric and gas
A. Was a great combination

2. Primary res was fuel oil and diesel and we went to gas on remodel
A. The diesel/ fuel oil was awesome great heating keeps home nice and toasty down side was cost when diesel fuel went up and finding a HVAC company to properly service
B propane remodel, easy service, but propane is inefficient and moderately expensive
We have 3 fireplaces in house but rarely ever use them

Our rentals are all gas and we like the easy service but don’t pay the gas bill

Hunting cabins
A couple of the cabins are kerosene heat and we enjoy it good BTU

One cabin is electric and I am tolerating it ( till you get a power outage and need gas or kerosene back up )

Good insulation and windows will save you money and headaches
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:30 PM   #22
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I know itís not a option but my old house was natural gas and it was awesome and cheap.


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Old 01-24-2020, 03:44 PM   #23
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Very interested in this... Slab was poured today. Did alot of research and going with foam and all electric HVAC and hot water heaters. Propane for cooktop and fireplace..... Hope it's the right decision
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:01 PM   #24
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We decided to use propane on the cooktop and oven. The central heat & hot water is electric. Figured that if the power was off the central heat fan wouldn't work so why have the gas connected to it!
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:11 PM   #25
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Propane is more expensive than straight electric heat. Electric heat produces 3.412 btu for every watt consumed. A heat pump can produce 3 times as much heat per watt than straight electric. Where the heat pump is more expensive, is when the outdoor temp is too low for the heat pump to keep up with the heat load. Then, auxiliary heat must be added, and it is usually electric. When it is very cold, the heat pump should run all the time, and the auxiliary heat should come on and off as needed. The heat pump properly set up is more efficient than straight electric heat down to 5į below zero.

If you go propane, you need to go with a 96% efficient furnace, instead of the base 80%.
The most efficient system is a dual fuel that uses the heat pump until the outdoor temp is to low for it to keep up, then it shuts down and the propane furnace takes over.

It is the same way with natural gas, a heat pump heats cheaper that gas, until the heat pump cannot keep up.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:15 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamL View Post
Very interested in this... Slab was poured today. Did alot of research and going with foam and all electric HVAC and hot water heaters. Propane for cooktop and fireplace..... Hope it's the right decision
did you talk to any HVAC guys regarding the spray foam with a propane furnace? If so I am interested in what they said. also, what size tank did you get for just the stove top being propane?
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:16 PM   #27
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Any heat pump needs to have a thermostat that will not allow the heat strips to come on until the outdoor temp is below the point the heat pump can keep up on its own. This is the reason some heat pumps are not very efficient. Turning the thermostat up will have the expensive strips on, when the heat pump will catch up by its self given a little time.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:27 PM   #28
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Moisture is a product of combustion. A propane furnace should get its combustion air from outside, and it should vent combustion products outside. An open flame inside the house will increase moisture in the house.
It is not correct that a vented furnace adds moisture to a house. Warming the air causes it to expand. Warmer air with the same amount of water in it, humidity is lower. It is very noticeable in the winter because the moisture content in the outside air is very low also.

Open flames add lots of moisture.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:50 PM   #29
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I currently live in a home with foam encapsulation and natural gas heat. Works well, but vented and calculated correctly. Home is 10 years old and never an issue for the natural gas heater and foam. Now we are downsizing and new lot does not have natural gas. Talked to several HVAC guys and am comfortable to go with all electric HVAC rather than propane. HVAC guys stated new electric units will be fine and running them in TX not as costly as some may think. They all stated electric heaters and not propane was the way to go.

Not sure on the size of the tank yet or if I am going to bury it. Decisions for later....

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Old 01-24-2020, 05:01 PM   #30
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so Double Bogey, should I be concerned with all electric on the HVAC?
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:07 PM   #31
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#1 - Go with tankless water heater. It can be used on electric or propane. Ours is on propane. There's a bunch more items on new home builds but that is a different topic.

We have propane for stove, fireplaces and water heater, plus the outside firepit. The inside fireplaces are gas fire logs because of a weird draft in the house that doesn't vent a wood burning fire well. The outside firepit has a valve and a pipe with holes in it to be used to start the fire. Gets things going quickly. If I had really thought about it when building, I would have done a home generator off the propane too. Now, when power goes out, I drag the generator to the electric panel and plug it in to get electricity.
We just built a pool and the heater is propane. I've heard that if we use the heater, it will go through a good amount of propane.
Our A/C with a heat pump is electric.
We get ours filled a few times a year, but it's not because it goes empty. We are on the "keep full" program with our propane provider. It is better that it gets spread out throughout the year so I don't get one large bill.
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:11 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamL View Post
Very interested in this... Slab was poured today. Did alot of research and going with foam and all electric HVAC and hot water heaters. Propane for cooktop and fireplace..... Hope it's the right decision
This is 100% what we are doing.
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:19 PM   #33
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We have nat gas and it’s awesome. Cheap & will heat the whole house with super little run time.
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:28 PM   #34
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If you go with gas make sure you have several carbon monoxide detectors.
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:39 PM   #35
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1600 sq ft house.

Old unit, Almost 20years.

Propane stove, water heater tank and furnace. use about 400 gallons a year.

That reminds me, i need to check it.
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:15 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flywise View Post
If you go with gas make sure you have several carbon monoxide detectors.
Too expensive. I just keep a candle lit.
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:19 PM   #37
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As mentioned earlier, the Dual Fuel units are the best compromise in your situation. Heat pump will run until the outside temp is 40f, then the aux propane heat turns on. My dad put 2 of these in his house and cut his propane usage in half. Propane is $$$$$

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Old 01-24-2020, 07:16 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forced-2-work View Post
this is where I am torn...... I can get propane for 2.25 a gallon. not bad if i am not burning 200 gallons a month, but life will suck if I do burn that much....... oh decisions

although using space heaters in winter could also help cut down on propane cost and wont be horrible on electric either.......why can't I just be rich!?
The little electric "radiator" heaters are what we use. They do raise the electric bill, but you can run 2 of them almost constantly, on medium heat for less than $50. The fire place helps a lot. When the wife and I were both working, and no one was home during the day, we went a few years without using the fireplace, and used the central propane heat. On a cold winter month, it would suck 200 gallons out easily.. And propane has been higher than 2.25, before...That is why we quit using it. It's been so long since we've used it, i doubt if it would work without some repairs..We are going to put an insert in the fire place this spring, and that will cut way down on wood consumption.
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Old 01-25-2020, 11:47 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamL View Post
so Double Bogey, should I be concerned with all electric on the HVAC?
Not at all, but:
If you are going to have propane available, dual fuel is best. 96% 2stg. or modulating propane furnace, with 16+seer heat pump minimum. 20+seer variable speed heat pump would even be more efficient.

If going all electric, then get the most efficient heat pump you can afford. The 16+ 2 stg. or 20+ modulating would be best.

If you are foam insulating, make sure your hvac contractor is well versed in sizing and installing systems in foamed structures.
Introducing outside air with a heat xchanger ventilator is a must with foam.

Also use high efficiency filtration to protect the equipment and have a much cleaner house. Merv 11 rating at least. Replacement filters are expensive but they may only need to be changed once a year.

As long as we are spending your money, if you have propane I would consider a whole house generator, if you are in a rural area where power outages could be an issue.

Saving power $$$'s is not the only issue here, achieving a higher level of comfort with the multi stage and modulating systems is the goal.

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Old 01-25-2020, 11:56 AM   #40
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I will add, that although a lot of 90+% gas furnaces are sold, the extra expense is not as necessary as gas is fairly cheap, vs an 80% standard model.
With the higher cost of propane, it makes a lot more sense to spend more on a higher efficiency furnace.

The only difference between a gas furnace and a propane furnace is a kit with different orifices and the labor to install it.
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:30 PM   #41
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We lived in a trailer house with a propane heater and everytime the heater kicked on and lit off it boomed and never did really heat the house with really cold but this was a trailer house. I was always worried about a gas leak. When we built our house I said no gas all electric. We have a wood burning fireplace that we haven't used in years I wish I would have installed a gas fireplace. Pia cutting wood, bringing wood to house, going outside to get wood, house smelling like smoke and cleaning fireplace at the end of the season. Jmo
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Old 01-25-2020, 02:09 PM   #42
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I am in your market 1900 sqft older home with batt in the walls and blown insulation in the attic on older (80’s) widows. We are electric everything (as are alot of homes here). We keep our house between 70-73 in the winter and around 70 in the summer my worst electric bill is around $230 average is $140


Should also mention that is with me my wife and two young kids in the house

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Old 01-25-2020, 02:28 PM   #43
Mike D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No-Tox View Post
#1 - Go with tankless water heater. It can be used on electric or propane. Ours is on propane. There's a bunch more items on new home builds but that is a different topic.

We have propane for stove, fireplaces and water heater, plus the outside firepit. The inside fireplaces are gas fire logs because of a weird draft in the house that doesn't vent a wood burning fire well. The outside firepit has a valve and a pipe with holes in it to be used to start the fire. Gets things going quickly. If I had really thought about it when building, I would have done a home generator off the propane too. Now, when power goes out, I drag the generator to the electric panel and plug it in to get electricity.
We just built a pool and the heater is propane. I've heard that if we use the heater, it will go through a good amount of propane.
Our A/C with a heat pump is electric.
We get ours filled a few times a year, but it's not because it goes empty. We are on the "keep full" program with our propane provider. It is better that it gets spread out throughout the year so I don't get one large bill.


We went with (2) 50 gallon propane tank style water heaters and a circulating loop. It was cheaper than a tankless plus a tank. Our house is 135í end to end and the master bath is on the opposite end of the water heaters.

We did install a 22KW propane generator and separate panel for the ďemergencyĒ circuits.

We can run all lights in the house, 1 HVAC unit, all refrigerators/freezers, several outlets, water heater circulating pump, blower for the wood stove, microwave, lights in our shop, water well, septic system, and a lot of other stuff.

I have a 30 circuit panelboard for the generator and thereís only a couple of spare circuits.


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Old 01-25-2020, 02:31 PM   #44
Mike D
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Default Propane or Electric Central Heat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samson View Post
As mentioned earlier, the Dual Fuel units are the best compromise in your situation. Heat pump will run until the outside temp is 40f, then the aux propane heat turns on. My dad put 2 of these in his house and cut his propane usage in half. Propane is $$$$$

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Our heat strips have never kicked on in our house, even when the temps were in the 20į range (at least as far as I can tell).

The foam insulation makes a huge difference.

Just make sure your HVAC guy knows how calculate and properly install a system in a foam house.


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Old 01-25-2020, 05:06 PM   #45
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If you are putting in gas run an extra line into the living room, buy an infrared propane heater, they can be had for about $300. You would be surprised how much it will heat, and how little propane they use. Also if the electricity goes out you still have heat.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:33 PM   #46
Monark
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2700 sq ft house built in 1991. 6" walls, double pane windows, traditional insulation. Gas cook top, water heater, clothes dryer, & two HVAC furnaces. 500 gallon propane tank topped off twice per year. Burn around 600 - 700 gallons a year. I run an electric oil filled radiator in the living area to save propane. Thermostat is never warmer than 68. Usually 65-66. Propane has run me $2.25- $ 2.45 in the last few years if I top off March - September.
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:49 PM   #47
double bogey
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[QUOTE=Mike D;14664206]Our heat strips have never kicked on in our house, even when the temps were in the 20į range (at least as far as I can tell).

The foam insulation makes a huge difference.

Just make sure your HVAC guy knows how calculate and properly install a system in a foam house

Not being able to tell is how it should work. It will be the 2nd stg (3rd if the ht.pump is 2 stg) on the thermostat and it is totally automatic.
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:59 PM   #48
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A system is designed for the air conditioning load, you just get what the heat pump puts out.
You graph the data on the heat load for various outdoor temperatures, and you graph the heat pump capacities at various outdoor temps, and you set your changeover temperature a bit higher than where the lines in the graph cross.

Most contractors do not install a changeover stat, so anytime your setpoint is 1į or more above the room temp, your heat strips will be running, negating the efficiency of the heat pump.
Most high efficiency heat pumps today come with this capability built in with an outdoor sensor installed, and the changeover temp is set in the thermostat programming. You still need to compare the graphs to get an accurate setpoint.
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:12 PM   #49
Arrowsmith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monark View Post
2700 sq ft house built in 1991. 6" walls, double pane windows, traditional insulation. Gas cook top, water heater, clothes dryer, & two HVAC furnaces. 500 gallon propane tank topped off twice per year. Burn around 600 - 700 gallons a year. I run an electric oil filled radiator in the living area to save propane. Thermostat is never warmer than 68. Usually 65-66. Propane has run me $2.25- $ 2.45 in the last few years if I top off March - September.
That is very similar to our place.

We have 1560 sq ft living space and 1560 sq ft shop. Fiberglass batt insulation in the walls and R50 blown in above the ceilings.

We have a propane tankless water heater (199,000) BTU, a Carrier two stage high efficiency propane furnace, a Thor propane kitchen range. In the shop we have a Mr. Heater Big Maxx 100,000 BTU ceiling mounted heater. We Heep the shop at about 50-55 degrees. We also use a electric radiator heater to supplement in the living room. We keep the house thermostat at 66 at night. We will bump it to 70 during the day depending on temperature. We have had one night so far at 7 below zero and several nights in the single digits above zero.

We have a 500 gallon propane tank. This is our first winter in the house, but so far I have been surprised and pleased with our propane consumption. Fortunately the propane cost is less here in Iowa than Texas. We contracted for 500 gallons at the summer pre buy price which was $1.19 a gallon. Our supplier topped off our tank (80% full) in early December. We are at 65 to 70 percent full as of today.

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Old 01-25-2020, 07:23 PM   #50
DallasCoon12
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I own and operate a plumbing company in kerrville. Who’s doing your plumbing?
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