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Propane vs. Electric Heat: The Cost of Heating Your Home

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There are plenty of benefits to choosing propane-powered heating over electric, such as reliability, accessibility, and environmental impact. When weighing your options, there’s one key consideration that can’t be overlooked: cost. We’re here to help by breaking down the financial aspects of propane versus electric heating. 

Is Propane Cheaper Than Electric? 

To really compare the cost differences between propane and electric heating, there are specific considerations to take into account, such as the area you live in, how extreme the temperatures and weather conditions can get, and more. For now, we’ll look at the average costs before diving into the rest. 

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Propane Heating Cost 

On average, Americans who use propane for heating plus other appliances spend somewhere between $2,000-$3,000 per year. While annual costs are comparable to what you’ll see for electricity below, there are some caveats to consider: 

  • Propane is warmer. Electric heat pumps only dispense air at 95°F, whereas propane consistently supplies air at 120°F. This means higher quality heat and shorter warmup times for you and your family. 
  • Propane furnaces last longer. Your propane furnace has an average lifespan of 20 years, whereas an electric heat pump typically lasts 12 years. Propane furnaces are also known to have lower repair costs. 
  • Propane is more dependable. Since propane is stored in a private tank on your property, you don’t have to worry about outages the way you would with electricity. 

Electric Heating Cost

In 2022, the average American resident consumed 10,791 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per household. Based on the national average of 23 cents per kWh, most households are spending somewhere around $2,482 per year on electricity. 

Woman with calculator
 

Estimate Your Energy Usage 

Before deciding on your home heating method, we recommend estimating your energy usage by doing some simple calculations.  

When it comes to electricity, you could start by contacting your local electric company for the monthly average use on a property. For propane heating, you’ll need to do some calculations to reach the amount of British Thermal Units (BTUs) needed to heat your space using the simple formula below: 
 
(desired temperature change) x (cubic feet of space) x .133 = BTUs needed per hour   

It’s important to remember that calculating the number of BTUs needed per hour to heat a home provides only a snapshot of the overall picture. Everyone consumes energy at different rates, and the characteristics of a space – ceiling heights, windows, and number of doors – impact energy efficiency.     
 
For a more accurate estimate, reach out to our Customer Service Professionals at Ferrellgas. They are here to provide you with today's propane prices and product and service information, or help you with your account. 

Electric vs. Propane Heating System 

The cost of installing a heating system in a new home or replacing it in a current residence is a significant factor which may influence a customer’s decision to switch to propane. Let’s take a look at the differences in maintenance costs and expected lifetimes for both propane and electric systems. 

  • On average, installation costs for both types of systems can range from $1,500 to $5,000 or more.  

  • On average, a new propane furnace costs $2,200 to $5,700 for a standard unit, with high-efficiency models ranging from $3,500 to $7,400.  

  • Electric furnaces cost between $2,047 and $7,743 on average, with the most costing roughly $4,791. 

 Maintenance costs also differ, with the average cost to service a gas or propane furnace ranging from $80 to $170 per visit, while electric furnace maintenance usually costs between $70 to $130. 

Benefits of Propane Heat 

Propane heat offers a range of benefits that make it a compelling choice for homeowners seeking efficiency, performance, and reliability. 

Performance & Reliability 

Propane heating systems consistently provide a high level of performance, ensuring a comfortable and warm home environment. The heat produced by propane systems is instant and reliable, without the delays often associated with electric heating. This quick response time is particularly valuable during cold weather when immediate warmth is crucial. 

Environmental Considerations 

Propane is a cleaner-burning fuel compared to some other alternatives, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Propane Education & Research Council, propane produces 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equal amount of grid-generated electricity.Choosing propane means you’re selecting a more environmentally friendly heating solution, aligning with sustainability goals. 

Versatility 

Propane is a versatile energy source. It not only serves as a reliable heating option but can also power other appliances such as stoves, water heaters, and dryers. This versatility provides homeowners with a comprehensive energy solution, enhancing the overall efficiency of their day-to-day household operations. 

Making the switch to propane not only offers economic advantages but also aligns with a commitment to a greener and more efficient home or business. 

Should I Switch to Propane? 

If you're considering making the switch, contact Ferrellgas to speak to one of our friendly, reliable experts to learn more about powering your home with propane! 

Sources: 

How much electricity does an American home use? (U.S. Energy Information Administration) 

How much does electricity cost by state? (EnergySage) 

How much does an electric furnace cost? (HomeGuide) 

How Much Does an Electric Furnace Cost to Install? [2023 Data] (Angi) 

How much does a propane furnace cost to install? (HomeGuide) 

How much does a furnace tune-up and inspection cost? (HomeGuide)