Comparing Costs for Gas v. Electric


Old 12-20-00, 09:11 AM
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I am planning to renovate an old bungalow, and I need to consider the question of heating, both house heat and water heat. The question I have goes something like this:

Which is the most efficient source of energy to heat my home--natural gas, lp gas, or electric?

Please don't supply the answers wind- or solar-generated electric. These are not viable options for us.

I guess the answer to that question is tough, because the unit costs for each make a comparison apples to oranges. So electric is supplied in kW/h and lp gas is supplied in gallons.

so here is how I would restate my question:

Given that the formula for determining heating efficiency is based on how much it would cost to heat an equivalent amount of water to an equivalent temp for an equivalent amount of time (say 50 gal to 120 deg F for 24 hours), assuming you use the currently most efficient models of boilers for each energy source, what is currently the cheapest supply of energy for water heating?

I am focusing on water heating because I plan to install a water-based radiant floor heating system.

I realize these numbers vary depending on the unit costs for energy in my area, so a formula would probably be the most useful form of answer.

If you don't know the answer, but you can direct me to a place where I might get one, that would be great.

Thanks, boojieboy
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Old 12-20-00, 10:26 AM
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good start

booji, You have a good start with the plan to go with the hot water radiant and here's why; The water temp required for the system is only 80 to 120 degrees. This requires less energy to heat the water. Natural gas is likely to be the least costly, oil is likely second. here are some conversion factors

1 kilowatt = 3412 btus
Natural gas
1 cubic foot = 1000 btus
1 therm = 100,000 btus
1 gal. =91,800 btus
1 Lb.= 21,650 btus
1 cubic foot = 2550 btus
1 gal = 139,000 btus

Figure out the btus required then convert units to btus to get your answer.

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