I've decided to use propane for an space about 750 square feet. There
is no plumbing up to the space (on second floor). Apparently someone
qualified can install a special plastic pipe now and you don't have to
use metal. I'm sure this is a lot less. Correct?
Forgive my ignorance but I know nothing about propane installs (or
propane for that matter- except that its pretty efficient for a gas).
I supposed i'll need to call my local gas company (amerigas) and get a
quote for leasing a tank which I presume will go outside (based on
whatever code is required, etc). I'm not too sure which size tank
to get because I only plan on using the gas on the weekends...I don't
want to buy some giant unsighly tank- i'd rather just refill it more
Also- on a sidenote- is propane cost regulated? Or does the gas
company decide what they'll charge? What is considered a good deal-
or a bad deal? Priced per gallon I presume?
Finally- what should I expect to pay for a nice/decent heater after
all the plumbing and tank install is said and done? $500? $1000?
A few observations that may interest you. LP Gas, propane or butane, or
an admixture of the two is a liquid when stored in a tank. What you
burn is the vapor above this liquid. As you draw off vapor some of the
liquid vaporizes. The energy that causes this vaporization has to come
from somewhere and it will mostly come from the liquid propane. As the
liquid gives up energy it cools. If you use the vapor (gas) at to high
a rate the temperature of the liquid propane will become lower than the
vaporization temperature and you will no longer form vapor to heat with.
The significance of this is that you may not be able to operate with a
small tank. The size of the tank is determined not by how much gas your
will burn but also by the rate at which you will burn it. For 750 sq.
ft I'd guess that a 5,000 to 10,000 btu/hr heater will be adequate. At
10F outside temperature you could take 10,000 btu/hr of LP gas from a 20
lb cylinder. If the outside temperature drops to -20F you'll need a
200 lb cylinder to burn at a 10,000 btu/hr rate. At 0 F you will need a
30 lb cylinder.
I am in an area with unreliable electrical service so we rely on our
generator quite often, as do my neighbors on theirs. When we converted
to LP gas I installed two, 420 lb LP gas tanks connected together. My
neighbors thought I was crazy and tied their generators (also recently
converted to LP gas) into their 100 lb cooking tanks. This winter they
were without power to run wells and furnaces because the tanks were too
small to sustain vaporization on cold nights.
Another thing to be aware of is, unlike natural gas, LP gas is heavier
than air. If there is a leak LP gas vapors will tend to pool in the
lowest part of the structure, like a basement. Unfortunately this is
where most furnaces are located. The danger from explosion is real and
I recommend a detector "tuned" to LP gas for such installations. Don't
be afraid of it, just respect its potential.
Some Dude wrote:
Unregulated in NY and probably varies all over the country. In
upstate NY I just paid $2.19 a gallon for my last delivery. [The
first time it ever broke $2 a gallon -- the lowest I've paid since
1995 was $1.30. Compared to Oil which has gone from $.80 to $1.76 in
the same period.]
$80 to $3000. My Lowe's just had a display of end of the season
wall heaters out. They were marked down to make room for spring
I don't know if these things are true everywhere, so keep that in mind....
- If you lease the tank, you usually have to sign a contract and are locked
in to buying the propane only from that company (your leasing costs are
probably figured into your per-gallon rate). Or, you can buy the tank and
then get propane from any company you want. I'm not saying one way is
better than another. I don't own my tank, and I don't think I want to own
- Around here, the smaller the tank, the higher the cost per gallon. I have
a 1,000 gallon propane tank buried in my yard and my neighbor has a 500
gallon tank. He pays 5 cents more per gallon than me for propane from the
same company, because his tank is smaller.
- If you don't want an unsightly giant tank, you can have it buried.
I dont know where you are at, but in most areas, that follow International
Gas Code, that would now be illegal, and you can not have the tank buried.
Many states also allow their Department of Agriculture to stipulate burial
of tanks. NC is one, and they prohibit it in a residendial setting.
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