Hi all, I want to know if my propane company is screwing me over. We
have 2 adults and one 3 year old in a house that has propane only for
the hot water and for the dryer, which is used maybe 2 or 3 times a
How much propane should I be using. They say I'm using around 30
gallons a month.
How are they screwing you? The tank has a finite capacity. The delivering
truck is metered and the meter is inspected and sealed by the weights and
measures department. You are given a metered receipt with each delivery.
How much should you be using? How often do you bathe, how much laundry and
how long does the dryer run? Is the dryer vent clean and operating
properly? A gallon of propane is 91,500 Btu, so 30 gallons would be
A gas dryer is in the range of 22,000 Btu per hour, so five hours run time
uses.110,000 per week or 440,000 per month. That still leaves a lot of
energy for hot water.
Where is the tank located? I'd also check for leaks in the lines outside
In addition, let me pass on a tip I got here in the past. When you
clean the lint trap for your drier, don't just pull the lint off dry.
Do that, but also wash it with dish soap and water. I found that my
stuff dried faster when I do that between uses of the drier. I never
did any comparisons of my electric bill (electric drier here), but I
did measure the time it took to try a load of laundry (same items of
clothing both times - its just me in this house). It cut about 25% off
my drying time. Of course, YMMV!
I would agree with you that the lint trap should trap lint and not let
it pass through. But the parts diagram that came with my drier also
indicates that air from the drier passes through the trap. If the trap
is clogged with lint, airflow is slowed - more and more drastically, as
the trap becomes more clogged. Since better cleaning of the trap
shortened drying time, I theorized that better airflow equated to more
efficient drying. The possibility remains that even with shorter
drying time, I am somehow NOT saving any electricity: I have no
effective way to quantify the actual power usage of the drier before
and after the change in "technique".
But, I'm into cars, and I know that a clogged air filter on a car is
bad. I KNOW an internal combustion engine requires airflow, and I
theorize that since the drier is moving air, it also requires airflow.
I KNOW an internal combustion engine should have an air filter to
prevent crap from getting into it, but when it gets clogged, the engine
can't get as much air as it wants and will not run as efficiently as it
should. You could run without an air filter to get even better
airflow. A lot of drag racers do so - speed is more important than
engine life. But most of us are better off with an air filter in place
to protect the engine; getting down to the next traffic signal a
hundredth of second faster than the next guy doesn't win us anything
(OK, despite the way a lot of people seem to drive, ha ha). And, you
don't want to run your drier without a lint trap, even if that gets you
an even faster drying time, because that could lead to the vent pipe
getting clogged and causing worse drying times (and potential fire
hazard?? <-- wild supposition here)
Anyway, all I can say is that cleaning the lint trap better shortened
drying time for me. The drier's instructions say to clean the lint
trap, it seemed possible that cleaning it better was better for the
drier. It actually happened, it was measurable, and that was enough
for me. I only measured the "before" time once, and the "after" time
twice, so this is obviously NOT scientifically valid. On the other
hand, if a whole bunch of people successfully repeat the experiment,
the theory becomes more valid. In fact, if others can measure more
accurately than I did, we could all get a better idea of the upper and
lower bounds of the potential drying time savings. If nobody on the
planet gets any savings from a cleaner lint trap, then my theory has a
value somewhere between cold fusion and phlogiston. :-)
You could also run a counter experiment. Never clean the lint trap and
see how well the drier works. The trap would still stop lint, but
alas, would also stop more and more air as it became more clogged.
It wasn't really a huge deal for me. I mean, my biggest electric bill
this year was $53 (and yes, I run central air, a TV, fridge - all the
luxuries of life that I like to consider necessities). What the heck,
as Dad used to say, "it couldn't hurt" to give it a try.
I've heard the same thing. Supposedly you can see the difference if you
run the filter under water. If you don't clean it with soap
occasionally, the fabric softener accumulates and you can run water over
it and it will bead up and run off. Once cleaned the water will run
Sounds reasonable, but on the high-ish side.
Do you have energy efficient appliances? Water tank big enough? Set
too hot? [especially with a kid in the house, if you need to add cold
water to your hot to hold your hand under it, you're wasting fuel &
creating a dangerous condition] Take long showers? Have a
dishwasher? Launder in hot water [instead of warm or cold?].
Just as a wild comparison-- Family of 4; my kids were 7 & 8 in 96.
My propane consumption for hot water, dryer, cooking stove. [no
dishwasher, laundry on warm- dryer high efficiency, hot water tank a
[1 July to June 31]
96-97 = 288gal
97-98= 335 gal
98-99= 306 gal
[99-00 I replaced my woodstove with propane & jumped to 543gal]
When I was using propane for water heating, it seemed to average about 1
gal/day during the warm weather, when that was all the propane was being
used for. I do have a propane cooktop also but ovens are electric, as is
the dryer. Your drryer probably burns more than my cooktop, so 30
gal/mo sounds pretty reasonable to me. I now have an electric water
heater, and dual fuel heat pumps with propane backup-- no regrets so
far. (Had the W/H about 10 years, H/P's about 5) Larry
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