View Full Version : Cost study, propane vs electric

Mrs. CountryGuy
01-05-2007, 01:36 PM
I know about 9 months ago we had a detailed discussion with a lot of techy stuff about cost of kilowatt of electric, and how much the furnaces used and really good stuff.

But, my wifi is really being bad and the search engine here at MOC has been just as bad lately, and to tell the truth, I am not gonna try to find the old discussion.

SOOOOO, could some of you techy guys and gals that know how much the furnace uses and all this good stuff, could you repost your fine info??

End result would be some way for me to figure how much it is costing to run say an 1500 watt electric heater per hour, vs how much it would cost to run my furnace for same time.

Thanks to all you brains who understand this stuff! :D

01-05-2007, 02:26 PM
Hi The only thing I can go on is that my propane guru said when propane hits $3/gal, electric and propane are equal. Thus when I pay the electric, I heat water with gas. Dan

01-05-2007, 03:20 PM


01-05-2007, 03:25 PM
Hi Carol, Ok so what has to be done is use this as the known (1 kWh = 3,413 Btu). Your 1500kwhr electric heater has 1.5x3413=5,120Btu's when running full tilt. If your Suburban LP furnace is similar to mine...it has potential to run at 30,000Btu's. Now we can equate the two as approaximately 1:6 where your electric heater has 1/6th the heating capacity of your furnace. The calculation is this;
Electric Heater 1.5x$$kwh Furnace (amps/hrx120x$$kwh)+(LPgals/hrx$$/gal)
Ok...too many Merlot's tonight...likely got some errors but basic principle is on track...!

Okie Guy
01-05-2007, 04:27 PM
Skip thanks for the informative links. I had never even thought about the cost issue. I just paid my bills and went on. Looks like its time to get a bigger propane bottle instead of getting those little ones filled up every other week.

01-05-2007, 04:30 PM
We've never given it a thought either, we've never had to pay for electricity.


01-05-2007, 06:54 PM
Wow, thanks for the info Skip!

01-06-2007, 02:37 AM
I have recently purchased a new toy called a Kill-O-Meter. It can tell me how many killowatt hours any certain appliance has used. The only appliance I ran a test on so far is my fridge (8 cu. ft.). It used approx. 5.3 kwh in 24 hrs. Electricity being $.13 per kwh here in south Texas figures out to about $.69 per day on the fridge. One of the drawbacks of my little meter is that you have to be able to plug the appliance into the front of it to take readings. Therefore, I can't test my fireplace or water heater which are two of the biggest electricity users I have. Oh, by the way, the fridge was reading right at 310 watts and 2.6 amps being set on #4 cold setting.

Native Tex
01-06-2007, 02:44 AM
The same to all of this is that we are being taken to the cleaners on the cost of propane. It is ridiculous that it cost what it does vs the cost of electricity. Most of our rigs can be very propane "hungry" in cold weather. This means getting several refills. I have never had to stay at a site where I have an electric meter to compare against, so the comparison idea is intriguing. How many of you guys have a heat pump on the roof vice the standard A/C? Just curious if they work like those in a stick home.

01-06-2007, 05:21 AM
Okay, we are paying $2.23 per gallon PLUS TAX for propane. The plus tax thing gripes me, but that is for another discussion. Our electric rate is .14 per KW PLUS $6.90 to read the meter. Do you see a parallel here?

So, while propane is probably cheaper, I also have to factor in the cost to go get it (and the $20 lottery ticket I buy each week when I refill), so electric is probably cheaper for us (unless I hit the lottery!).

Of course, being in the money at the weekly poker game here at the park also helps to offset the lottery ticket, so this is the formula I came up with:

Price/gallon + tax + $20 / usage on weekly basis minus poker winnings + diesel fuel to get propane vs. .14 / KW + $6.90 = ahh, what the heck, I just want to relax!

01-06-2007, 03:01 PM
Carol, you can't compare an hour of furnace usage to an hour of 1500-watt electric heater usage because the furnace will heat your rig faster than will the electric heater because of the forced air, for one. I'd probably figure 10 or 15 minutes of furnace to one hour of electric heater. I have no scientific nor amateurishly measured basis for that. It's just a gut feel.

Bill and Ann
01-07-2007, 02:41 AM
When we are in the valley we use propane for everything that is propane. Stove, frig., water heater, furnace. We have found that we usually fill a propane bottle every 2 wks. or so. At 13.50 per tank we figure it is cheaper than running electric. Our electric for the season is usually around $300.00 - 325.00. (Nov. - April) We don't spare the air either because of the little ones we leave in the coach when we go out. The furnace at night is set at 64 deg. and usually kicks in every night around this time of year.