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Old 12-02-2021, 05:39 PM   #1
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Which Is Cheaper...electric or propane??

OK this is gonna sound weird, but I have gone off the deep end I know.
I have a nice place to live at my shouse (ie..stick and bricks) aways from my present location.
But I have a piece of property that I'm setting up as my future home base for when my wife retires and we go semi full time (another subject).
So basically we/me are "practicing" full time living. The wife puts up with it. I have set up full hookups and honestly it is pretty sweet. We are in Missouri and it has started getting fairly cold here.
I got my last electric bill and it was $182.00
Propane is rising I know.
I have a space heater set up on each end of the motorhome. I keep it around 70-72. I run the water heater on propane and have The main/front furnace set up at 64 degrees. It heats up higher than that when it does come on. It's actually pretty sweet so far. I also have a space heater in the wet bay. It is working flawless as well, although I could turn it down a bit and save more.
Obviously if the wife was retired I would head south. For now we are getting occasional lows in the 20's. I'm worried about getting highs in the 20's and who knows what for lows.
I am stubborn and don't wanna bail on this. I would have to come here most everyday anyhow and fool around (20 miles one wayish)
I am getting a handle on saving electric but who knows how much I can actually save or if I should be using more propane and then heat with space heaters set on low.
It's good to exercise this beast I know. Going to get propane is a great excuse.
I would appreciate all or any input on this. I really love the cross section of opinions on here. If nothing else we are ready or the future and able to handle cold weather to some degree.
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Old 12-02-2021, 05:58 PM   #2
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So you have about 69 gallon propane 55 gallon usable,,

I guess it all depends on how long you get on propane.. vs elect cost..

I have a extend a stay on my tank and pop a 100 gallon tank next to RV when I want to play in it over winter or the guys stay in it hunting instead of crowding my house/cabin/.

Propane is cheap for me, I paid 1,80 gallon yesterday to top off the garage 100lb tank..

not really any answer but.. everyones RV and likes and locations are different
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Old 12-02-2021, 06:52 PM   #3
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look at this thread from a few years ago.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f54/heat...ic-419955.html

and here's a recent thread

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f59/heat...ne-560608.html
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Old 12-02-2021, 07:06 PM   #4
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While I have no opinion on the relative efficiencies of the various methods of heating I will say that running a "non-vented" (Mr. Heater Buddy type) propane heater will introduce large amounts of water vapor into your RV, not something you want. If you are going to use propane use the furnace(s) in your rig or use electric space heaters with tip-over protection. The moisture will cause you more trouble and expense than you could ever save in fuel costs. Just my couple of pennies.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:57 AM   #5
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I live in a very populous area and, thanks to the popularity of the swap-a-tank LP vendors, it is getting to be VERY difficult to find somewhere to fill my RV's propane tank. Not having to drive 45 minutes out of my way for LP is a big deal to me so I try to use electric as much as possible.
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Old 12-03-2021, 11:11 AM   #6
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My DIL just had bought 100 gallons down here in southeast Texas. Paid over $400 delivered. Not sure how long that'll last but just looking at the initial cost makes me want to think that he'd come out ahead using electricity. There are a lot of variables but I'd say the big one is price per gallon.
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Old 12-03-2021, 11:25 AM   #7
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Propane is cheaper than electric: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating a home in the U.S. with a propane heating system in recent years has cost far less than heating with an electric system. ... Propane is clean: Propane has long been recognized as the "green" energy.
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Old 12-03-2021, 12:12 PM   #8
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It will depend on your electric rates and true cost of propane, which would include fuel to drive the coach to get more propane. You can then do some btu to kwh conversions and enter some efficiency factors.

Without that information youíll just get guesses.
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Old 12-03-2021, 12:45 PM   #9
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Would like to see efficiency numbers on RV propane fired furnaces before proclaiming superiority over electricity. Also bear in mind that delivered propane is cheapest when you own the tank.
Overwintering in an rv can be a challenge when controlling humidity. Anything touching exterior will harbor dampness. You could end up with a mold problem if you don't dehumidify and keep the air moving.
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Old 12-03-2021, 12:46 PM   #10
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My Sticks and Bricks primary heating is Geothermal (electric). I have a secondary Propane furnace (heats when geo can't keep up with the cold). There is also an electric "toaster oven" heat coil as a third heat source.

The Geo is cheapest per BTU so it's primary. But the up front cost was by far more expensive. It is also the Air Conditioner in the summer (runs the coolant in reverse).

The propane is second cheapest. But it duals that in power outages, it can heat the house on generator.

The toaster oven is way more expensive so I don't use it hardly at all.

The heating electricity in my area is half the price (second meter) of the residential electrical (everything else in the home).

The above varies depending on the cost of electricity, and propane that fluctuates monthly.

So it's not nearly as simple a question as "which is cheapest". Capital investment, maintenance, electricity / propane / natural gas availability, hassle for refills, control system, and many other factors come into play.
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Old 12-03-2021, 12:48 PM   #11
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Outside of cost, you need to know how your water lines, wet bay, etc. are heated. I'd wager that most rely on the propane furnace to keep them from freezing. Running solely electric might keep thing nice inside and save on the propane bill but you could end up with cracked or frozen water lines, dump valves, etc.

Do you have tank and drain valve heaters?

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Old 12-03-2021, 12:52 PM   #12
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Skirting the unit if it will remain stationary through the winter will be most beneficial.
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Old 12-03-2021, 12:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudfrog View Post
My DIL just had bought 100 gallons down here in southeast Texas. Paid over $400 delivered. Not sure how long that'll last but just looking at the initial cost makes me want to think that he'd come out ahead using electricity. There are a lot of variables but I'd say the big one is price per gallon.
The cost of propane has risen dramatically so unless you locked in at a lower price earlier this year, I'd have to guess that electric heat is a better bet right now. Our neighbor had his 200 gallon tank filled last week and said it was north of $800! Granted, part of that cost was to have the system purged since he was down to less than 20% when it was filled, but that's still pretty expensive to my way of thinking.

We have electric heat in our sticks and bricks with a little-used propane heater in the basement and a frequently used propane fireplace insert in the living area so we're not totally dependent on either one. You said your property is "aways from your current location" so I presume your property is somewhat off the beaten path. I tend to be a little pessimistic at times but another thing to think about is what to do if you lose power this winter if you elect to go solely with electricity. Having propane available as well offers a viable backup plan.
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Old 12-03-2021, 07:10 PM   #14
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All great answers....thanks guys. Lots of things to consider. Considering all the variables, I believe I will just keep on trucking like I am.
The spot I am parked in is my old business location in a small town. It has everything right there (electric, water, natural gas, city sewer) and propane is readily available as long as I drive to get it. It is one acre and fairly flat. My goal is to restore the old shop (1,000 sq. ft) to a man cave like setting and an outside patio setting to compliment the RV life when we are in the state. If all goes perfect I will only do 2 winters here, then go full time until we exit RV life.
Then I will rent it out.
I do have skirts that came with the coach, but never tried them. It seems like it would be a PITA to break everything down and drive 5 miles only to turn around and set up again. I may have to get a 100 lb. tank and refill like that.
These stories about crazy prices make me feel like I have it pretty good all things considered.
If we go sub zero like last winter, I will go back to my present business location and wait till spring to de-winterize. I know we could keep going but no reason to spend an unreasonable amount.
So far the electric space heaters are fine. They also keep propane use to a minimum.
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