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Old 08-21-2012, 08:11 AM   #1
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Electric or propane

We rent..and stay..in a site by the month. Site rent does not include electricity.
The question is..is it cheaper to run the water heater on propane or electric?
Just looking for a general answer from someone with real life experience.
Thanks
Bob
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:32 AM   #2
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Answer is propane if you are going to heat it only when you need it. Electricity takes longer to heat up but if you need hot water all the time day and night it would be the way to go.Propane heats quickly and the tank stays hot for quite a while for short periods of use.
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Old 08-21-2012, 12:57 PM   #3
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In my application I can use both and that heats the water really quick. So if the need arises I can turn both off until I'm ready for them, turn the both on and have hot water in 5 minutes or so, then turn them off again. You just need to calculate when you are going to need it. Campers have been washing dishes with cold water for centuries so it is not really need there. You are most likely only going to need it for bathing comfort, so consider if the place you are staying at has nice showers - you may not need it there either. In our case, DW will not use the pubic shower so hot water is a necessity for her.
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:41 PM   #4
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Think of it this way...

You burn propane (A fossili fuel) and heat water...

You burn a fossil fuel to heat water turning it into steam, You use that steam to turn a turbine (not 100% efficient) and that turns a generator (More loss) which generates electricity which flows through wires and transformers (loss, loss loss loss) till it finally gets inot your motor home where it flows through a resistor and generates heat (100% efficiency at this point) .

Which sounds cheaper?


In practice the difference depends on the cost of Propane and Electricity, there is a spread sheet somewhere that compares them. 437 watts = abut 1500 BTU's if my fridge is to be believed.

What that is in Propane I do not know (not much since that is Fridge figures)
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:14 PM   #5
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1- I agree with Wayne M.

2- I can't imagine the difference is large money, so will the difference actually cause a change in your lifestyle?

3- For me, I'd rather pay a little more for the electric in exchange for not having to use my time filling my propane tank.

We only use propane for cooking unless I use the method mentioned by Wayne in his post above.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:25 PM   #6
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What about a fridge

What about a fridge? I have a Dometic RM2601 and the campground charges 13 cents a Kw. Is it cheaper for me to use propane or electricity?

Thanks for any help, IAN...
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:15 PM   #7
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It just depends on the cost of propane vs the cost of electricity in your area. Plus the extra aggravation of getting your propane tank refilled as necessary. Me, I try to use my propane only for cooking and heating when the temps drop below the range of the heat pumps.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by historyljc View Post
It just depends on the cost of propane vs the cost of electricity in your area. Plus the extra aggravation of getting your propane tank refilled as necessary. Me, I try to use my propane only for cooking and heating when the temps drop below the range of the heat pumps.
Same here but I also have electric heaters that I use when on shore power and the temps get too low for the heat pumps.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:46 PM   #9
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If you stay in a site by the month and you're in a motorhome think of what it takes to move said motorhome to get propane. Than think of the gas or diesel necessary to get to a propane filling station. It may cost a few extra cents to heat by electric but you needn't move.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:58 AM   #10
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If you go HERE you can download a small program that will make the simple calculation for you.
It allows you to enter the appliance efficiency.

According to an email to me from engineering at Suburban Manufacturing, the efficiency of RV furnaces ranges from 70 to 80 percent. Water heaters are 70 percent on gas.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:09 AM   #11
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Electric or propane

Thanks for all the responses. I have been considering shutting the water heater down during nonuse times. Probably the best idea. A bit of a pain though. Getting propane isn't an issue since we have a weekly drive thru by the propane company.
The difference is probably negligible when considering the savings of turning the system off when not needed.
Thanks again,
Bob
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