Baseboard heaters vs propane

We moved into a house last year that has propane heat and it costs much more to heat than our previous house which had a heat pump. Last year we added 8 inches of insulation to the attic which has made a dramatic reduction in our heating and cooling bills, but it still costs more to heat than when we had a heat pump.
The house was built in 1960 and only had about 2" of insulation in the attic when we moved in. The windows were replaced with double paned insulated windows, we have weatherstripped all the doors, the ducts are insulated and we have no detectable drafts. There are no vapor barriers to speak of. I have no idea how much insulation is in the walls; I wouldn't expect much based on the attic, but I don't forsee pumping insulation into the walls.
I contacted a heating contractor who suggests that it would be very expensive to switch over to a heat pump and that we should wait until we need a new unit (ours is only about 2 years old).
I'm wondering if I might actually save money by installing baseboard heaters in the bedrooms and use them on cold nights so we can leave the thermostat turned down. We are in the mid-Atlantic (Carolinas) so weather is usually mild with the occasional cold streak. Thoughts?
--
Mac Cool

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Maybe. Electric heat can be cheaper than propane. Very possible with area heating only like you are talking about.
How much are you paying per KWH?
Just look at an old bill or call the utility company.
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Colbyt:

8.1 KWH
Propane runs about $1.50 in summer/ $2.00 in winter. Depending on the weather I may use 2-3, 500 gallon tanks per winter. Last year was cold and we used ~2.5 tanks, but we added 8" of insulation in the spring so I expect to use less this year.
--
Mac Cool

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Depends on the cost of power and how much heat you will be running. My house has two zones of heat. Still, there are a couple of rooms that are rarely used and they get almost as much heat as the rest of the house. If they were electric, they could be shut off completely. If you modestly heat one or two bedrooms, you may have some saving. Keep in mind, there is still the cost of bringing up the heat in the morning for the entire house.
A couple of years ago I experimented by using a space heater in one room that we were using to keep the rest of the house cooler and saving oil. It was still more in electric cost than the saving in oil. Propane is more costly than oil so you may have a chance of breaking even or savings if you have cheap electric.
Do some energy comparisons first. 1000 Watts (1kW) = 3412 Btu 1 therm = 100,000 Btu
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Power is often free :-) We pay for energy.

Nonono. That's comparing power and energy, like miles per hour and miles, or apples and oranges. Energy is power (a rate of energy use) times time:
1000 watt-hours (1kWh) = 3412 Btu
Nick
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wrote in message

I think I said 3412 Btu. Most electric bills show watt-hours used for comparison. OK, it is a technicality but if you use the kW rate on the bill it comes out the same.
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***power*** ***energy***


Power and energy are different.
Nick
It's a snap to save energy in this country. As soon as more people become involved in the basic math of heat transfer and get a gut-level, as well as intellectual, grasp on how a house works, solution after solution will appear. Tom Smith, 1980
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No shit. Rather than pick nits over the way I expressed accurate information that could be use to do the calculations, why not add something of substance that the OP can use to make a decision. Oh, I see why. You are posting from a EDU account. Lots of education, low on practicality.
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A blower door test will identify areas that leak.
Electricity is probably double or more the cost of propane so you may not save but loose.
10" or r35 is not optimal for attic insulation r 60 is, heat rises so consider upping it more.
Cellular window shades will help they have an r 3 rating, some more.
Why not zone your system
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Edwin Pawlowski:

I found a website that states there are 26.85 kilowatt hours of electric energy in one gallon of propane, so if I multiply the cost of electricity by 26.85, it should give me the equivalent cost of electricity vs propane.
I suppose the efficiency of the central unit plays a factor... the baseboard heaters would be 100% efficient I believe, I don't know the efficiency of the central unit but if we use 80%...
26.85 * $.081 KWH = $2.17 (electric) wintertime propane cost + inefficiency** = ~$2.40 gal. summertime propane cost + inefficiency** = ~$1.80 gal. average propane effective cost = $2.20 gal.
If this is right then it's roughly a wash. Sound right?
--
Mac Cool

** I assumed $0.20 of each dollar spent on propane is wasted, so I added
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That math would be close if you always manage to start the cool weather with a full tank bought at summer prices and only refill it once at winter prices.
Unless you have a fairly new furnace (less than 12 years old) you aren't getting 80%. It would be 70% or less down to about 50% for a really old unit.
Around here KWH price is about .06 and the claim is made and not disputed that electric is far cheaper than propane.
You still have to factor in the smaller area heating only aspect. We utilize setback thermostats and have the upper and lower levels set to be warm when we are in them and at home with an 8 degree backset when we aren't or when we are in bed. In bed we use the smallest electric heater, an electric mattress pad.
Colbyt
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Colbyt:

I can only guess. This is our first winter with insulation. I filled the tank this summer when the prices were down but we are already down to 25% with Jan-Feb left.

Ours is about 3 years old. I have no idea of the specs. We have a neighbor who owns an HVAC business and he installed it.

Most people tell me that a heat pump is much cheaper but the HVAC guy claims that it wouldn't be cost effective to change over, I'm not really sure why. Natural gas is about 1/2 the price of propane but the gas company won't bring the pipe down our street. They stopped two blocks away and have no plans to continue.

We used electric blankets as kids, turned the heat down at night and turned the blanket on, but you don't see those blankets anymore. Bad rep maybe.
--
Mac Cool

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