New to Propane Heat - Question about Usage

Old 11-24-08, 12:14 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: PA
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Question New to Propane Heat - Question about Usage

Just moved into a new construction home this summer and i'm trying to find out if my propane usage so far is normal (it seems a little high to me).

The house is approx 3200 SF, 2 story foyer and family room. 2 furnaces (Carrier model 58MXB0060 - 1 for each floor) run on propane along with a 50 gal hot water heater and fireplace. All other appliances are electric. The house is 2x6 construction with R19 walls and R30 ceiling, and Simonton Pro Finish low-e windows.

I checked the propane tank on Nov-02 and it was at about 740 gals (1000 gal capacity). Checked it again Nov-16 and it was at about 710 gals. The weather during that 2 week period had highs 50-65 and lows 35-50. Checked it again Nov-23 and it was at about 660, meaning I went through about 50 gals in 1 week! The temps that week averaged highs in the mid 30's and lows 20-25. I'm in eastern PA.

At night, we keep the downstairs unit at 63 and the upstairs at 70, and during the day both floors at 68 (wife is home all day). The fireplace might get used 2-3 times a week for an hour at a time. When the heat turns on it runs for about 5-6 minutes anywhere from 3-4 times an hour, maybe more depending on the temperature.

Is this usage normal for my house and these types of temperatures? This seems a little high as I thought propane was more efficient than this. I've owned new construction in the past and this builder has a good reputation and didn't cut corners like other builders i've dealt with.

Any input or advice is greatly appreciated!
Old 11-24-08, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,524
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Hi Jhawk, I do so little with gas, northeast is almost all oil, that my mind doesn't convert well when thinking about gallons used. True, gas burns more efficiently, but it has much less energy per gallon. Oil is 139,000 BTU's per gallon, Propane is 92,000 BTU's per gallon. So a 95% efficient gas furnace will deliver 87,400 BTU's where an 85% efficient oil furnace will deliver 118,150 BTU's. Factor in the price per gallon of each and you get your comparison. Give me your cost per gallon and I will do that for you. Better yet, try this on-line heat loss calculator. Home Heat Loss Calculator Most of it is pretty simple, but the slab or basement considerations take a little adjusting, so if you try it, post back and I can get you through the rest. Use a winter design temp of 10 degrees and heating degree days at 6000 will give you a ball park. The bad news is if energy prices go back to where they were just a few months age, the r-19 and r-30 you mention are going to be way low. People were talking r-30+ walls and r-60 ceilings. See what the calculator says and let us know. Bud

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