Alternatives to Propane Heaters
Let’s face it, the primary reason people are utilizing propane as their fuel source for their heating system is their location. A propane customer is typically located in a rural area. In this case you have multiple options for heating your home, yet of the alternatives a propane heater or propane furnace is likely your best choice. Here are some alternative fuel options followed broken down by features, benefits and overall costs. Note: There are some areas this generalization may not work out to be the most cost effective. Honestly the only way to be certain is to education yourself on the options, do some calculating and make the best choice from there. My intention is to help educate you on the types of heat sources and perhaps you will land at the same conclusion as I – propane.
Fuel oil is the primary competitor to propane. It is easily transported and many homes were built with the equipment years ago. As the times are changing and new hvac equipment emerges, fuel oil is slowly losing traction. This is primarily due to the price per gallon and overall cleanliness of a fuel oil furnace. The average price of fuel oil in the U.S. is over $4 per gallon, in most areas of the country that will equate to a $2-3k heating season bill. In fuel oils defense, they are relatively trouble free. Aside from annual maintenance of the oil and air filters and nozzle cleaning. Installation costs are very comparable to a propane heater, yet more expensive to operate. A brand new, out of the box fuel oil furnace is only 80% efficient, where are a propane heater is capable of achieving 97% efficiency ratings. Or even 100% if you were installing an indoor, vent free propane heater. As you fuel oil furnace ages and the time nears to completely change out your heating system, consider upgrading to a more efficient and more economical choice.
Especially in the warm climate regions electricity seems to be a #1 selection for many homeowners. The advantage is how very inexpensive an electric furnace is to install. They contain so few parts they are typically maintenance and hassle free. It’s kinda hard to argue with that fact especially if the budget is tight and your chief concern is the initial installation costs. Contrarily, electric heat is one of the most expensive forms of heat to operate. There are a few areas with very low kilowatt hour rates that it may make sense, I’m talking 7kw /hour rates, very low and hard to find. These folks are usually part of some co-op electric system. So if your in the market for a new heater and are researching your options due to a rural location, avoid straight a electric furnace. (of course calculate based on your homes demand and utility rates ) This does not consider heat pumps, as a heat pump is a great budget friendly heat source. The only problem is they do require a 100% backup heat system.
For many people wood is a way of life. They spend their years chopping, stacking and hauling wood to heat their home year in and year out. Honestly, I believe wood to be a great source of heat. There just seems to be an aesthetic feel to a real wood burning stove or fireplace that simply can’t be replaced. Perhaps its the ability of a real fire to draw on your senses of smell and hearing that makes it so entertaining. The crackling wood, dancing flames and aroma of the fire just seem to have a calming affect. And then you wake up in the middle of night in your undies and feel the nip of 45 degree air in your house only to realize the fire is out and your have to re-stoke or start the fire. Once you wander to your fireplace or wood burning stove, you find that the wood wasn’t replenish so now you have to go outside to gather wood all while half asleep and in your pj’s. As you can see wood is a blessing and a curse all in one. It’s obviously cost effective if you have a source of free wood from your land (less your time). Contrarily if you are buying wood to heat your home it’s expensive If your cutting and stacking wood factor in the time spent doing the chores into the total cost of the fuel source. And hopefully you may arrive at my conclusion wood is great for entertainment or evening gatherings by the fire, it’s not fun for a primary fuel source. In cold months you are married to your wood burning stove – you can’t even leave your home for more than a day without having someone tend to things. Ultimately, its your choice weigh out the pros and cons and you decide what is best for you.
Coal, Corn, Wood Pellets
In today’s ever changing world we are continually seeking new methods that are efficient and affordable to heat our homes. In recent years many different types of heaters have emerged to fill this void. Coal furnaces, wood pellet stoves and corn furnaces or corn stoves. Additionally there are multiple other sources of heaters not mentioned here. In my experience you can typically save some monthly money over utilizing a regulated fuel source such as propane or electricity. However the savings are typically minimal perhaps 20%. It’s sounds like a lot when put into that context however consider the time you have to take when maintaining the fuel source into your heater. Not to mention most all of the alternative fuel heaters seem to bring a layer of dust that is sure to tick off the housekeeper. So when figuring what is your best option just remember to calculate time spent loading and tending the heater, plus the extra time spent cleaning up. Availability is one final factor to keep in mind, ensure your supplier keeps a solid inventory year round.
Propane Heat the way to go?
As you can see from our homepage we tend to believe a propane heater is the way to go. Check out this government link for further validation. If you take into account the maintenance of alternative forms of heat and sheer expense of electricity, propane heat is often the best choice. If initial installation costs of a propane heating system are too expensive consider utilizing a few propane heaters. There are many options available and considering many are vent free, they are 100% efficient. An important fact to consider, every $1 spent on propane puts exactly $1 of heat into your home (when using a vent free propane heater), compare that to alternative sources that operate in the 50-75% range.
There are many propane heaters that are very appealing to the eye and fit almost any space. There are wall mounted heaters, mobile propane heaters, fire places and even floor mounted propane heaters. All manufactured with different options such as remote control operation, fans, wall inset casings and more. Your choice will likely depend upon your homes layout and interior decorating scheme. I have dedicated another page to strictly types of propane heaters if you would like to see some examples. As always let us know if you have questions, comments or concerns. If interest I can even price out a heater for you just for comparison purposes. Being a contractor I can get many items at a wholesale price and pass that savings on to you.