Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Propane tank for home?
Old 02-20-2011, 09:45 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
nphx's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 285
Propane tank for home?

I am building and there is only electric - no gas lines. Does anyone have a propane tank (buried) to feed their home - and is it worth it over electricity?

I would use it for tankless water heater feeds and as an option for heating (im in arizona).
__________________

__________________
nphx is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-20-2011, 09:58 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Lakewood90712's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,316
Propane is usually cheaper than elec. for water and clothers dryer heat, and about even with a heat pump for house heat. AZ has a pretty low elec. rate IIRC.

A new generation of hy-brid heatpump/conventional water heaters are now available. They are incorporated into the tank. GE and others make them.

With propane , it is important to pre-purchase in the summer, for delivery the next winter. Spot price in the winter can be 200-300 % higher .

One more thing to check. Find out if your homeowners insurance will be lower if the home has no fuel gas.

Hope this helps.
__________________

__________________
Lakewood90712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 10:21 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,120
Most homes in our rural subdivision are all electric but one of our neighbors has propane. His combined annual energy bill is roughly 50% more than ours even though his house is only 15% larger. He's told me on more than one occasion he wishes he hadn't opted for propane heat.
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 10:25 PM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
Tesaje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Frederick
Posts: 333
I have a propane tank and it works well. I really like it for the cook top. It has gotten very expensive in the last few years. But then so has electric so I don't know whether it would be any better. I've had it for 18 years. My water heater died a few years ago and I replaced it with a good electric one because I couldn't see how the expensive propane made any sense anymore. When I put it in 18 years ago, the cost was significantly better.
__________________
I FIREd myself at start of 2010!
Tesaje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 11:24 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
We had a large propane tank on Bainbridge Island which fueled the furnace, hot water, fireplace, BBQ and one of the cooktops. We owned the tank which was buried (actually in the front yard). The cost of propane was much lower than other users because we owned the tank and could store quantities above the price break point.

If natural gas were available that would have been a better buy. We didn't feel that propane was more expensive than the alternatives plus when the power went out the fireplace could heat the house and we could use the cook top. Propane can also be used for a generator if needed.

We used Ferrell Gas which gave great service and competitive prices.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 08:57 AM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,612
Propane in our last house -- a 500 gallon tank (not buried) that we owned. Propane had been cheap, but by the time we moved out in 2004, the price had risen dramatically.

Current house is all electric (heat pump), and our total utility bill is significantly lower for the same size house.

Biggest problem we had with the propane is that the suppliers were not terribly reliable about keeping us supplied. There were several times when I had to do lots of frantic calling when we got low, and once we were down to less than 10% of the tank (in January). Switched suppliers twice during the eight years we owned that house, and each was good for the first year, then got sloppy in their service.
__________________
Pas de lieu Rhône que nous.
braumeister is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 09:18 AM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Make sure your supplier is reliable and better yet, that they have some competition. You are really dependent on them and their prices.

We have propane even though we are in an urban location. DW likes a flame for cooking and we tapped the grill and tankless water heater to it. It has lowered our overall electric bill slightly anda we have not had a problem in 7 years.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 09:47 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,199
We have a 300 gallon above ground tank. Prices vary dramatically. We used to use it a lot for heating, but now use firewood almost exclusively.

It works quite well for us.

A bigger tank will let you time your purchases to avoid buying in winter. If you get stuck, you can buy just a little to tide you over until summer. Avoid a system in which they determine when you need gas. Also, if you can make it all winter without refilling (easy if you don't use it for heating), you do not need any kind of "price guarantee" or "prebuy" option.

I used to track levels and prices quite closely to get the hang of things:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PropaneCost.jpg (73.3 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg PropaneLevel.jpg (47.4 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg PropaneExpenses.jpg (54.4 KB, 8 views)
__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 10:00 AM   #9
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: dubuque
Posts: 618
first of all if you are going to use propane, make sure you own the tank. If you lease or rent the tank from a supplier they will charge you whatever the market will bear, but if you own the tank you can get bids from other suppliers. propane suppliers will not fill another suppliers tank. I had propane for years and it was comparable in price to elec. but now I have natural gas which is cheaper than either.

trombone al: I considered burning wood( I have in the past) but the price for a semi load of wood in log form was at 800. How would that work out for price if considered against propane or elec. I guess what I was asking if you pay 800. for approx 18-20 ton of wood that will last all winter. how much do you save over propane or elec. is it worth the extra time and work invested, plus equipment to process the wood?
__________________
frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 10:55 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Ed_The_Gypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: the City of Subdued Excitement
Posts: 5,293
I prefer living in a butane tank, myself.

Oh, that wasn't the question?

We have natural gas. The best choice, if you have one.

As one who works in the hydrocarbon industry, I figure that propane (and oil and gasoline) will get progressively more expensive. In spite of the inefficiency, I think that the price of electricity, which is mostly generated by burning coal, will not rise as fast. The continent is going to be awash in natural gas any time now. As a consumer, I like natural gas for a lot of reasons.

nphx, you could probably profit from a high quality heat pump. And good insulation. You may be able to find one these days that will reject heat to your hot water system. Double payout! (Nords! Is this available today?)

For cooking, I love gas of any kind. In your situation, I would look at a propane stove top.
__________________
my bumpersticker:
"I am not in a hurry.
I am retired.
And I don't care how big your truck is."
Ed_The_Gypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 06:57 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,199
Quote:
Originally Posted by frank View Post
trombone al: I considered burning wood( I have in the past) but the price for a semi load of wood in log form was at 800. How would that work out for price if considered against propane or elec. I guess what I was asking if you pay 800. for approx 18-20 ton of wood that will last all winter. how much do you save over propane or elec. is it worth the extra time and work invested, plus equipment to process the wood?
I haven't calculated that for a while, because all of the wood I've gotten for the last five years or so has been free. I've gotten it from downed trees during storms, and craigslist free ads. Caltrans says it's OK to take the wood along the side of the road that they've cut up (and I have a recording of them telling me this).

So for me, it's definitely worth it. I spent a few hundred on a chainsaw. I do all the splitting with a maul, and consider it as exercise. It's a lot of work stacking and moving and collecting, and sometimes I get tired of it. I went through 6-7 cords last year.

I have about 3 cords already for next year (not dry yet), but I'll run out of wood for this year in a few weeks! Not sure what I'll do.

But I'd guess that it would be cheaper than propane heating even if I had to purchase the wood. Note that we don't heat at night -- it was 60 degrees in the LR this morning (and 50 degrees in the bedroom (with windows open). With the wood stove, I'm primarily heating the living room, and not the whole house. Also, the room feels warming when there's a glow fire in view.
__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 08:14 PM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Also, the room feels warming when there's a glow fire in view.
Especially when it's in the wood stove...
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 08:14 PM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 746
We use propane for our 16KW residential generator, tankless water heater, stove, and a space heater out in the workshop.

If you go with the 1,000 gallon tank, ask your dealer if they will only deliver if you're at or below the 20% level. If they go with the strict 20%, and you want to bring your tank up to the 70% level - do the math. Or they may just drop off 200 gallons and that's fine. It depends on how much money you want to shell out at one time and how many appliances are dependent on it.

Let me get back to our residential generator for a minute. Even if we had natural gas out here, we'd still choose propane. In case of disasters, gasoline and diesel can be confiscated by law enforcement. Natural gas and electrical distribution lines can be disrupted in a myriad of ways.

Propane was our personal choice. Power outages in this area are common. When natural disasters such as Hurricanes Rita and Ike came through, electricity was out for days in many locations. About 20 seconds after our electricity goes out the generator comes on. While everyone else was scrambling with portable generators and trying to get gas / diesel to power them, we made one call to our propane company (many of their trucks also run on propane) and got a delivery. It helps that our propane dealer has a disaster preparedness plan so propane can be delivered without any service interruptions.

If you choose to go with propane and you're buying the tank from the propane company, ask for a discount on the first fuel delivery. We got almost 20% knocked off the first bill.
__________________
East Texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 08:17 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,386
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Propane in our last house -- a 500 gallon tank (not buried) that we owned. Propane had been cheap, but by the time we moved out in 2004, the price had risen dramatically.
I think the problem here is that propane tends to track NG liquids, which track crude oil, rather than natural gas. NG is a colossal energy bargain now, and has been for a couple years.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 08:52 PM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
nphx's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 285
Thank you everyone for your insight. A buried, owned, 500 gal tank is quoted at $5900 stubbed to the house.

I will probably pass on the gas.

Next challenge is to consider how tankless water heaters would play with a solar water heater setup expecting a tank. I suppose a standard water heater on low or off.
__________________
nphx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 08:54 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,120
Quote:
Originally Posted by nphx View Post
I will probably pass on the gas.
Psst. Beano...
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 08:54 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,450
We have propane at our second home (whcih we are in process of renovating and will soon become our first home). We have a 100 gal tank. Previously used for just a space heater, hot water and dryer but will now use for space heating (radiant in walkout basement, hot water baseboard on main floor), cooktop, hot water and dryer.

My tank is not buried - tank is behind garage and not noticeable and then a buried line brings the propane to the corner of the house and then it is 3/4" black pipe from there to each fixture.

Happy with it so far. Given our expansion, I think I'll need another 100 gal tank.
__________________
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 09:08 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Ed_The_Gypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: the City of Subdued Excitement
Posts: 5,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by nphx View Post
Next challenge is to consider how tankless water heaters would play with a solar water heater setup expecting a tank. I suppose a standard water heater on low or off.
I can't see how this would work. You are asking for your instantaneous use of hot water to coincide with sun on the roof. Even in Arizona, the sun goes down at night.
__________________
my bumpersticker:
"I am not in a hurry.
I am retired.
And I don't care how big your truck is."
Ed_The_Gypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 10:13 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
I think the problem here is that propane tends to track NG liquids, which track crude oil, rather than natural gas. NG is a colossal energy bargain now, and has been for a couple years.

Ha
As my son commented yesterday, if the PNW would see the value of an ING port the cost would plummet as they are burning of huge quantities of gas in Valdez daily.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 11:09 PM   #20
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by nphx View Post
Next challenge is to consider how tankless water heaters would play with a solar water heater setup expecting a tank. I suppose a standard water heater on low or off.
Depending on whether you see freezing at your altitude, your solar water system could get kinda complicated with anti-freeze loops or drainback piping. But if you have a solar water system then you'll have an 80-120-gallon tank that should give you enough hot water for 2-3 sunless days, and you may only need the usual solar-configured water heater with an electric backup.

Of course that also means you'll have an 80-120-gallon thermal mass in your garage or next to your house during the hot summer days. But you could minimize that problem with a heavy water-heater insulation blanket, and we only turn on our solar water heater's electricity one or two days a year.

The trick with a tankless heater would be getting it to cycle on at 90-100 degrees (coming out of your cooled solar water tank) and cycle off at 125 degrees. That's a much narrower thermostatic range than working with 70-degree water. You may also need a 3/4" or even 1" gas supply to the tankless heater so that it can pump out the BTUs fast enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nphx View Post
I will probably pass on the gas.
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Psst. Beano...
Considering the avatar... "Nyuk nyuk nyuk!"
__________________

__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Don't use clorox in toilet tank FinallyRetired Other topics 18 08-06-2009 10:36 AM
Septic Tank Pumping Schedule TromboneAl Other topics 24 08-05-2009 08:54 AM
Propane Cheat! Rustic23 Other topics 18 06-03-2009 05:48 PM
To Charcoal or To Propane - I BBQ Therefore I Am Danny Other topics 49 05-25-2008 08:14 PM
Propane Prices TromboneAl Other topics 46 08-09-2005 08:24 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:10 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.