May 23, 2022
Whether you’re building a new home and need to decide on a fuel source, or you’re considering replacing your current home appliances, or you’re buying an existing home that runs on propane, you need to know: What are the main benefits and drawbacks of using propane?
The main appliance technologies used to power homes in the U.S. include electricity, propane, natural gas, and heating oil. All of these have certain benefits in terms of price, efficiency, required upkeep, versatility, and environmental impact. Propane is a strong contender in all areas, and if you’re currently using propane in your home (or considering using it), here are the top pros and cons to be aware of:
Roughly 50 million American homes use propane, making it the third most widely used energy source in the U.S. High-efficiency propane furnaces will heat your home easily. They typically don’t need as much maintenance as other technologies, and they usually last longer and require fewer repairs along the way. Additionally, they can save you money in annual energy costs.
Another pro is the fact that you don’t have to only use propane for your furnace. You can run virtually any appliance in your home on propane! Propane can power your water heater; range, oven or stove; your clothes dryer; fireplace; even a back-up power generator in case the electricity goes out.
The flexible form factor of propane storage makes it easy to install and use in virtually any location and environment. Tanks can be installed either above ground or underground, and you don’t need to be “on the grid,” served by electricity or natural gas lines. Additionally, since propane tanks can hold up to 1,000 gallons, you can comfortably outlast virtually any cold front that may hit your area!
Propane is clean, American energy. It produces 43% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than an equivalent amount of electricity from the power grid. In fact, propane’s low-carbon intensity is why it’s an approved clean alternative fuel under the Clean Air Act of 1990. Additionally, propane systems produce fewer nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions than systems fueled by electricity, gasoline, or diesel fuel.
When you measure how hot propane burns compared to fuel oil, it’s a little disappointing. Although propane is more efficient than electricity or natural gas, it doesn’t produce as much heat as oil. That means that although the cost of propane might beat oil, you’re going to have to use more of it to get the same cozy, indoor temperature. At first glance, it might seem like propane has the potential to save a considerable amount of money. But depending on fuel prices, it might not always play out that way!
Although it can be easy to install propane when building a new house, it can be prohibitively expensive to convert an existing heating system or other appliance to propane. And it’s not a DIY project. You need a professional installation and there is no guarantee that altering an existing system to operate with a new fuel source will result in significant cost savings.
One of the biggest disadvantages to a propane system is keeping up with tank maintenance. If you own the tank, you’re responsible for regular inspections, and you have to fix the problem if there are leaks or corrosion. Eventually, you might even have to pay to replace the tank. If the propane company owns your tank, it’s their responsibility for tank maintenance, but you may have to pay a rental fee. The best solution is to find a propane delivery company that offers free tank rental.
Unlike electricity and natural gas customers who can draw fuel whenever they need it, propane and fuel oil customers have a finite amount of fuel they can use (the amount in your tank). That means you’re responsible for monitoring tank levels and ordering refills when needed–otherwise you may run out of fuel on the coldest day of the year. A convenient solution to this problem is to have your propane delivery company monitor tank levels and automatically deliver refills when needed.
If you have questions about any aspect of propane service for your home, one of the best resources to tap is an experienced, local propane supplier like Woodford.
Woodford will work with you to analyze your home’s size and usage characteristics, and calculate the best size propane tank to meet your needs. Woodford provides competitive rates, premium service, and safe, dependable delivery of propane, tanks, and equipment. And our modern fleet of vehicles can deliver your propane order on your schedule.
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Since 1947, Woodford has been your trusted fuel and lubricants provider, now delivering propane to residential, commercial & industrial, and agriculture customers in West Virginia and the Tri-State area of northern West Virginia, southern Pennsylvania, and western Maryland.