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avarusbrightfyre

San Diego

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Posted: 01/14/20 06:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bob/Olallawa wrote:

If you are staying in one spot for a while, check with the propane place and see if they will place a larger tank and fill it onsite.


I'm living in a long term trailer/RV park that doesn't allow us to put anything like that in our space. This place is way cheaper than anything else around and doesn't have stay limits, so that's why I'm here.


2019 34' Minnie Plus Travel Trailer
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DrewE

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Posted: 01/14/20 06:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

avarusbrightfyre wrote:

Eric&Lisa wrote:

Electric when on-grid (pay per night camping). Propane when off-grid dry camping.

If you are running on a meter, then it becomes a math problem. Electrical: Wattage of heater, hours run per day, cost of a kilowatt/hr, determine a dollar amount for daily usage. Propane: Cost to fill the tanks, estimated days per tank, determine a dollar amount for daily usage. One will be cheaper. My bet is on electric will be cheaper.

Ultimately you need to plug in the numbers and do the math. It will be different for all of us.

-Eric


Ok, so I need to make sure I'm doing my math right. Most of the space heaters I'm seeing are 1500 watts. I estimate 6 hours per day (cutting on an off from 6 pm to 6 am). It might be less, but I'm not sure. 1500 watts x 6 hours = 9 kwh. Current price per kwh for electric is $0.28, which puts me at about $2.52 per day, or $35 for two weeks.

My average price to fill a tank is about $18 every 10 days or so, or about $25 per 2 weeks, so it appears on the surface that propane is cheaper.

I guess now the question is am I willing to spend $20 per month for the convenience of not having to cart the tank around every 10 days. My first guess is probably yes, lol.


Probably the more accurate way to compare costs is to figure cost per BTU. One kWh is equivalent to 3412 BTU, assuming 100% conversion efficiency from electricity to heat, and for an electric space heater it's close enough to 100% efficiency to disregard the error.

For propane, it's about 21,500 BTU per pound or 91,500 BTU per gallon when burned, but the RV furnace is nowhere near 100% efficient; 60% or thereabout might be closer to accurate. Assuming a 20 pound tank that you're getting filled to its full usable capacity (and not exchanging for one filled to only 75%), your $18 in propane is buying somewhere around 15,000 BTU of heat in the RV per dollar. If your electricity is cheaper than about $.20 per kWh, you're saving money heating electrically; if it's more than about $.25 per kWh, propane is probably cheaper; and if it's in between, they're pretty close to a wash. The exact numbers do of course depend on the efficiency of your particular furnace.





avarusbrightfyre

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Posted: 01/14/20 06:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Eric&Lisa wrote:



Probably the more accurate way to compare costs is to figure cost per BTU. One kWh is equivalent to 3412 BTU, assuming 100% conversion efficiency from electricity to heat, and for an electric space heater it's close enough to 100% efficiency to disregard the error.

For propane, it's about 21,500 BTU per pound or 91,500 BTU per gallon when burned, but the RV furnace is nowhere near 100% efficient; 60% or thereabout might be closer to accurate. Assuming a 20 pound tank that you're getting filled to its full usable capacity (and not exchanging for one filled to only 75%), your $18 in propane is buying somewhere around 15,000 BTU of heat in the RV per dollar. If your electricity is cheaper than about $.20 per kWh, you're saving money heating electrically; if it's more than about $.25 per kWh, propane is probably cheaper; and if it's in between, they're pretty close to a wash. The exact numbers do of course depend on the efficiency of your particular furnace.


My trailer came with two 30 lb tanks, and at 2.50 or something like that per gallon it takes about $18-20 to fill one tank. I'm currently paying about $.27 per kWh on my electric bill.

valhalla360

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Posted: 01/14/20 07:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

avarusbrightfyre wrote:

Eric&Lisa wrote:

Electric when on-grid (pay per night camping). Propane when off-grid dry camping.

If you are running on a meter, then it becomes a math problem. Electrical: Wattage of heater, hours run per day, cost of a kilowatt/hr, determine a dollar amount for daily usage. Propane: Cost to fill the tanks, estimated days per tank, determine a dollar amount for daily usage. One will be cheaper. My bet is on electric will be cheaper.

Ultimately you need to plug in the numbers and do the math. It will be different for all of us.

-Eric


Ok, so I need to make sure I'm doing my math right. Most of the space heaters I'm seeing are 1500 watts. I estimate 6 hours per day (cutting on an off from 6 pm to 6 am). It might be less, but I'm not sure. 1500 watts x 6 hours = 9 kwh. Current price per kwh for electric is $0.28, which puts me at about $2.52 per day, or $35 for two weeks.

My average price to fill a tank is about $18 every 10 days or so, or about $25 per 2 weeks, so it appears on the surface that propane is cheaper.

I guess now the question is am I willing to spend $20 per month for the convenience of not having to cart the tank around every 10 days. My first guess is probably yes, lol.


Assuming, you are getting the same level of heating...you have it figured out. Propane is typically a bit cheaper but there is a convenience of electricity just showing up at the pedestal for as long as you want it.

If electricity is not metered, obviously, use electric.


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rk911

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Posted: 01/14/20 07:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i should've added that in general i think the better long-term strategy is to conserve consumables when there are other options. elec vs lp, city water vs your tank although the latter is more easily refillable.


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TomG2

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Posted: 01/14/20 09:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks to all for their estimates and suggestions. I really like the ones who say to use electric if there is no charge for it. Even I can figure that one out. What I am surprised at is how high energy costs are away from South Texas. Typical costs here are around $.15/kw for electric and $20 for 30 pound propane.

pianotuna

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Posted: 01/14/20 10:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Here is a calculator that allows you to "plug in" the costs:

http://www.maxmcarter.com/fuels/fuelscalc.html

avarusbrightfyre wrote:

So I know this will vary widely by location, but I live in Southern California and I'm curious to know which would be the more cost effective solution. Electricity out here is expensive, but I think propane is too. Does anyone out here in SoCal have any experience with both that can shed some light on the cost of each? If it's about the same, I'll probably invest in some space heaters so I don't have to lug the tank to refill so often.



Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

DrewE

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Posted: 01/15/20 12:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

avarusbrightfyre wrote:


My trailer came with two 30 lb tanks, and at 2.50 or something like that per gallon it takes about $18-20 to fill one tank. I'm currently paying about $.27 per kWh on my electric bill.


In that case, you're getting half again more propane than I thought, and so your cost per BTU for propane is two-thirds what I figured, and so the break-even point would be at a lower cost per kWh and--assuming there weren't any math errors--you save maybe 30% or 35% using propane.

That doesn't account for the hassle of refilling cylinders, nor the gas used to drive to the propane fill place and back (if applicable), etc. I think it basically just confirms your gut feeling pretty well.

avarusbrightfyre

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Posted: 01/15/20 08:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

Hi,

Here is a calculator that allows you to "plug in" the costs:

http://www.maxmcarter.com/fuels/fuelscalc.html

avarusbrightfyre wrote:

So I know this will vary widely by location, but I live in Southern California and I'm curious to know which would be the more cost effective solution. Electricity out here is expensive, but I think propane is too. Does anyone out here in SoCal have any experience with both that can shed some light on the cost of each? If it's about the same, I'll probably invest in some space heaters so I don't have to lug the tank to refill so often.


Ok, so this calculator put out the following:


The Cost of Heat
Electric vs Fuels - Comparison Result

Electric rate (per kilowatt-hour) = 0.280
Cost of heat (per 100,000 BTU) = 8.21

Propane cost per gallon = 2.50
Burner efficiency factor = 60%
Cost of heat (per 100,000 BTU) = 4.51

So it looks like propane wins by quite a bit.

Desert Captain

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Posted: 01/15/20 08:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a large {35,000 BTU}, very efficient, LP furnace in our 24' Class C. When the temperature differential is in the 40 degree range {between 32 ambient and 72 in the coach} the furnace runs for about 5 minutes every hour. Any electric heater is going to run virtually all of the time. Keep in mind that our coach {Nexus} is very well built, vacuum sealed multilayer walls, Azdell and has heated tanks.

Propane is far more efficient and the cost differential is minimal but... as noted if they are not metering your electric go for it. I usually use the AC to heat our water even if metered as it is on very little as the tanks maintains the heat well.

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