Propane is a safe and affordable alternative to electricity or natural gas. Just like traditional electricity, propane can power almost all of the appliances in your home. But how do you know if it’s the right choice for you?
Usage data for a stove depends on how frequently you cook, the size of the meals, and who eats them. On average, a home’s stove and range use at least 35 gallons of propane per year, a $91 annual cost.
There are several factors to consider when making the switch to propane. Cost, usage, availability, and practicality are all elements to take into consideration. For example, how much propane would your appliances require to run normally?
Table of Contents
- How Do You Measure Propane Usage?
- How Much Does Propane Cost?
- Electric Versus Propane
- What Do the Professionals Prefer?
- Which Costs More?
- Propane Offers Flexibility and Peace of Mind
- Propane Safety
- Related Questions
- How Much Propane Do Other Appliances Use?
- What Are Some Alternatives To Propane?
- How Can You Keep Propane Fuel Costs Low?
- Fire Away!
How Do You Measure Propane Usage?
You can measure propane gas usage in energy units called BTUs. One BTU (British Thermal Unit) is the amount of energy required to heat or cool one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. For reference, one standard 4-inch match burned completely yields one BTU.
Depending on what type of cooking you do, stoves and ranges will require different amounts of energy. Consider how often you cook and for how many people. Also, how large or labor-intensive are the meals you’re cooking?
The appliance itself also affects the calculations. An older stove may be less efficient, holding in less heat or distributing fire differently around the burner. A newer model may have better heat retention or more power to cook and heat more quickly.
One gallon of propane puts out 91,500 BTUs per hour. If a gas cooktop range uses 65,000 BTU per hour, it will burn through about 5-10 gallons per month. Numbers will vary based on the efficiency of your appliances.
How Much Does Propane Cost?
Your cost, of course, is directly tied to your patterns of usage. The more you cook, the more fuel you’ll need. Are you reheating leftovers, or are you roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving?
Though the price fluctuates, the cost of propane is around $2.60 per gallon. Average stoves and ranges use 35 or more gallons per year, a $91 cost. To get the most accurate pricing, call local suppliers, and get quotes from several vendors. That way, you’ll be sure to get the most bang for your buck.
The cost can be affected by the availability of resources and your geographic location.
Electric Versus Propane
The first thing to understand about comparing electrical power with propane fuel is that they’re measured in different units. Propane is measured in gallons, while electricity is measured in kWh (kilowatt-hours). One gallon of propane is equal to 27 kWh of electricity.
Electricity is converted directly to heat, while propane loses heat through gases and unspent fuel. That being said, propane stoves are often considered to be more efficient than electric ones.
What Do the Professionals Prefer?
Chefs overwhelmingly prefer propane ranges over electric ones. Electric stoves take longer to heat pots and pans. Propane provides instant and continuous heat and better temperature control. Electric stoves and ovens take time to heat up and cycle on and off, causing less temperature consistency.
Which Costs More?
Anything electric in your home can run on propane for as little as half the price of electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy says a propane water heater costs one third less than an electric one. As a bonus, the propane model will heat up water faster, too.
Propane Offers Flexibility and Peace of Mind
One of the biggest pros of propane is you can use it as a backup in emergencies. If the power goes out, propane grills, stoves, heaters, and generators will still work. Some people in areas prone to natural disasters even have a whole-house propane generator to activate if necessary.
Propane is also more flexible than electricity. It commonly powers the stove, oven, and heat in mobile homes and campers. This flexibility allows travelers to stay in remote locations without electricity and still eat a good meal and stay warm.
Propane is actually safer than natural gas. It leaves no residue behind after it burns, so it won’t contaminate the soil and water around it. It won’t ignite in the air unless the temperature is 900 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Propane does emit carbon monoxide as it burns, so you should only use it outside or in a well-ventilated area. Carbon monoxide detectors are readily available; make sure to place them in your home, especially in the kitchen. Place detectors near floors, since the toxic gas sinks instead of rising like smoke.
How Much Propane Do Other Appliances Use?
Propane can power just about any appliance in a home. Stoves, generators, and heaters are the most common. They are incredibly efficient when compared to electric models.
- A pool heater uses about 425,000 BTU per hour or four gallons per hour.
- A tankless water heater uses about 40,000 BTU per hour or one and a half gallons per day.
- A furnace uses 200,000 BTU per hour or one gallon per hour.
- A fireplace with ceramic logs uses 26,000 BTU per hour, or one gallon every three hours.
- A gas clothes dryer uses 35,000 BTU per hour or less than one gallon per day.
What Are Some Alternatives To Propane?
The three most common ways to heat and power your home are propane, electricity, and natural gas. There are many commonalities between the two types of gas fuel for your home.
Natural gas predominantly consists of methane, though it contains small amounts of other substances, including propane. You store both fuels in similarly sized tanks and portable bottles. Propane is the end result of refining both natural gas and petroleum. Both types of fuel can produce carbon monoxide but otherwise have relatively low emissions.
In terms of environmental friendliness, it’s a toss-up. Natural gas burns a bit cleaner, but propane is a bit more energy efficient. Natural gas is cheaper per unit. However, propane might be less expensive in the long run because of its increased efficiency.
How Can You Keep Propane Fuel Costs Low?
You can keep fuel costs low by switching to energy-efficient appliances if they’re not already in your home. Upgrades like this can save you money on your electric or gas bill and your water bill. It’s also good for the environment, a win-win situation.
Supplying your home with a large enough tank for your usage level will ensure that you don’t need to fill up too frequently. This will cut down on maintenance and delivery fees. You can also pre-buy a large quantity of fuel when prices are low.
Once you run the numbers, you may decide that a propane stove is right for you. Depending on how much you cook and how frequently, propane may be a worthwhile upgrade. Its low annual operating cost is appealing to many.
Maybe your new propane stove is in your home or your camper. Perhaps it serves as your emergency back-up plan in case of a natural disaster or other emergencies. Either way, you’ll be cooking like a professional chef in no time. See you on the next Chopped challenge!