Electric vs propane

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On Friday, February 28, 2014 1:21:22 PM UTC-5, JAS wrote:

The furnace only takes about 300W. Get a grip.
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I am certainly no expert on efficiency, but agree it is inefficient to generate electricity from fossil fuels.
On the other hand, power plants are more likely to make upgrades to improve efficiency than millions of homeowners who have old inefficient furnaces (oil, coal, whatever).
Since electricity is 100% efficient, any upgrade the power plant makes immediately applies to all of it's customers (not factoring in inefficiencies in the power grid).
Electricity is expensive in most parts of the country because it is generated with fossil fuels. As direct renewable sources (wind power, solar power, hydropower, gothermal, wave generators, etc.) continue to make up more of the total energy package, it should balance out with the price of other fuel sources.
An electric ground source heat pump is probably the most efficient heat source with the lowest operating costs. It's the installation costs that make it unattractive. :)
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On Friday, February 28, 2014 12:20:57 AM UTC-5, HerHusband wrote:

You'd have to have one hell of an inefficient old furnace to make it more expensive to heat with nat gas or oil than electric in most places. Burning a fossil fuel for heat and capturing most of that heat is easy. Heat is created and it's the heat that you want. Burning a fuel, converting it to steam, generating electricity, boosting it up in voltage, transmitting it hundreds of miles, stepping it down, etc., a lot of what was once heat energy is lost. You wind up with less than 50% efficiency.

But the power plant and the grid are inefficient, less than half the energy of the fuel source going into the power plant makes it to the user.

They don't generate it with what is expensive, they generate it with what is cheapest, available and works.
As direct renewable sources (wind power, solar

So far solar, wind, etc has only driven up the cost of energy, not lowered it. Here in the Peoples Republic of NJ we're paying a surtax on all electric bills to help pay for the rich to put up solar panels that are still economically unviable. Hydro is great, but there are few place left that haven't been tapped.

It can't compete with natural gas for heating here in NJ, even on an operating basis.
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On 2/28/2014 3:40 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

From what I can figure, every time you change energy form, you lose a lot. From coal, burn to make steam, to turn a turbine, to push a coil to make electric, to transmit that through wires. It's all wasteful.
OTOH, frack the NG, pump it through a pipe in the ground and burn it in your furnace.
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On Friday, February 28, 2014 7:44:49 AM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Exactly. I just ran my numbers through the calculator that Ed supplied the link to.
http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/fuel_cost_comparison_calculator/
Here in NJ, electricity would have to be less than 4c Kwh to just *equal* the cost of heating with natural gas. So not only is resistance electric heat out, but even if you have a geo heat pump with a COP of 4.5, you'd be at about the same cost of using nat gas. Then factor in the huge cost difference of the two systems and it's a big losing proposition. Plus, I can run a gas furnace off a small generator in a power outage. The HP would require a much larger one.
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On 2/28/2014 8:39 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Nice thing about propane, it's onsite. So when the grid goes down, one can still run the gas range.
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On Friday, February 28, 2014 9:00:26 AM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Another observaton from a major disaster, Sandy here at the NJ shore. I had nat gas the whole time, no electric for a week. From what I could see, most areas had nat gas the whole time. The places that didn't were very close to the shore, where they shut off the gas because houses were being ripped away or so substantially damaged that meter pipes were being broken, etc. So, they shut if off for those areas. But those areas, for the most part, were so badly hit that there was a mandatory evacuation and people were not allowed to return to their houses for days to a week and even then, only to retrieve belongings during the day. The houses typically had 3 or 4 ft of water go through them. So, the lack of gas at that point didn't make much difference. Even if you had it, you couldn't live there. Some of those places didn't have nat gas restored for months, but it took that long in most cases to make them habitable again.
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On 2/28/2014 10:07 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Thanks for expanding a bit, on that. Helps to reassure me that I'm making at least one decision correctly.
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Like I said, I am no expert. You're obviously more knowledgeable on the subject than I am. I've used gas and electric and just prefer electric. Of course, I can say that because I live in a region where electric rates are rather affordable. I would still pay a little more to use electricity, but that's just a personal choice, not something based on scientific fact.
I will say that regardless of the source, the best thing you can do is minimize your energy needs. Smaller house, better insulation, efficient appliances, etc. All things being equal, it's going to cost more to heat a 4000 sq/ft McMansion than my little 1500 sq/ft house.
If you don't mind sharing, I'm curious what others are paying for their monthly energy needs. I honestly don't know if we use more or less than the average american. We're all electric, and pay about $130 a month (8 cents per KW). We average around 35 KW/day in the summer and 75-80 KW/Day in the winter. If you heat with fossil fuels, you would need to add up the fuel and electric costs to compare.
Heating obviously makes up half of our bill in the winter, and hot water heating makes up a good percentage of the remainder.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On Friday, February 28, 2014 10:45:39 AM UTC-5, HerHusband wrote:

3100 sq ft house here in NJ. Bill for the month that just ended, which was a lot colder than normal, probably at least 5 nights in the single digits, lots of nights in the teens or low 20s, $178. If I had used electricity, at 17c kwh, it would have cost 4.4X that. Of that $178, gas for the water heater is about $17, that's what it runs in summer. Bills prior to that were $148 and $158.
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On 2/28/2014 10:58 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I had all electric shop one time. The power bill nearly bankrupted me, and that was with me living in one room and freezing.
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Is that just for the gas? Any idea what you pay for electric on top of that (for lighting, etc.)?
Still, that's not bad for a house twice the size of mine.
When we built our house in 2004, we moved from a 750 sq/ft mobile to a 1500 sq/ft house on the same property. Despite doubling the floor space, our electric usage actually went down because of better insulation and more efficient appliances. I've been able to decrease that slightly by switching to LED and CFL lights, and reducing the power consumption of my computer equipment. It's not an earth shattering reduction, but every little bit helps. Of course, then I fire up my 5000 Watt garage heater and burn up all of those savings. :)
These days our grocery bills are easily our biggest expense. It's crazy how expensive food is now. We spent over $800 on food in January for a family of three, and that doesn't include meals we ate out. Makes our electric bill seem cheap. :)
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On 2/28/2014 4:47 PM, HerHusband wrote:

Someone a couple days ago assured me the inflation rate is 1.6% I think he wrote. Who's mistaken, here?
I have also found food going up, rapidly.
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On Friday, February 28, 2014 10:25:46 PM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Food is only one part of the CPI. If unique forces are hitting food, eg diversion of crops to ethanol, then food prices could be going up a lot more than the CPI. Another thing that's going to cost everyone some money soon is the FDA forcing label changes on food. Main new things:
Bigger font for the calories Separate line item for "added sugar" Change serving sizes, eg ice cream will go from 1/2 cup serving to 1 cup.
Cost to the industry? $2bil
The changes aren't bad in themselves, but we all know it's not going to do a damn thing. Anyone that's interested in eating right, there's plenty of info there to figure that out already. Anyone who doesn't care, isn't going to change their ways because the font is bigger. And back to the issue of rising food costs, when the manufacturer has to change the packaging label, it's also an opportunity to go ahead and make the package smaller, if they were thinking about maybe doing that at some point. And I'm sure you've seen that. Instead of raising prices, a pint is no longer a pint, it's a 14 oz container, etc. So, if I was a food manufacturer, I might use the label change as a good opportunity to put through a hidden price increase. Someone has to pay for the label changes.
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On 03/01/2014 09:16 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Exactly!
Besides, if the food is processed and requires an ingredient label, it's essentially junk food anyway.
And if the FDA wasn't controlled by the food industry, there would be GMO labeling as well.
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wrote:

The price of food is so high that recently when a thief stole groceries out of a car, the thief had committed 'grand larceny'. What made the owner of the car really angry - the thief broke the glove box!
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On 2/27/2014 11:24 AM, HerHusband wrote:

SM: My last power cut, I did just that. Use the generator to run the blower.

SM: For oil you sub diesel fuel or kerosene. For propane, you have a couple gas grill tanks on site.

SM: And that's your choice. Me, I'd prefer to have some fuel onsite. (Which you do, with wood.)

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On 2/27/2014 11:24 AM, HerHusband wrote:

What are you paying? Our rate is 19 cents making it much more than other forms of heat.
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We're currently paying 8 cents per kilowatt.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On 2/27/2014 11:31 PM, HerHusband wrote:

I've not checked my bill in a while, but last I looked it was more like 11 cents plus all the various fees. That was a while ago. Much more now, I'm sure.
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