Over 14 million homes in the U.S. rely on propane for heat. While that number is small compared to electricity, it’s growing. In fact, more people are realizing the benefits that come with switching their home over to propane. Despite this, there are still misconceptions about it, which unfortunately means that many homes aren’t saving the money they could be.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the key benefits of propane when compared to electric heating, and attempt to dispel some of the misinformation about this abundant, domestic fuel source.
Is Propane Cheaper Than Electric?
The question of whether or not propane is cheaper than electric heat isn’t easy to provide a blanket answer for. Electricity rates vary by region and by power source. In most cases, however, propane is consistently cheaper than electricity because it burns hotter and more efficiently. This means less of it is required to heat your home.
98% of propane is manufactured domestically, which means prices aren’t affected by international events as they are with oil. However, both fuel and electricity pricing are driven in part by demand. One additional advantage of propane is that, because it’s stored at your home and not delivered via the grid, you can fill up when prices are low — saving you money during the heating season when demand increases.
Is Propane Safe?
Propane itself is non-toxic, lead-free and low in sulfur. It has a low flammability range and its ignition point is almost double that of gasoline. All these factors make propane an extremely safe fuel to use and store. Provided your tank is properly inspected and serviced by a knowledgeable technician, there is no reason to have concerns about safety when using propane to heat your home.
Is Propane Clean?
Propane has been listed as an alternative clean fuel by the 1990 Clean Air Act. Propane is exceptionally clean burning, which makes it better both for your wallet and for the environment — certain propane appliances operate at up to 98% efficiency. Propane isn’t considered a greenhouse gas and its vapor does not contribute to air pollution. If you spill it, there is little to no long-term environmental damage.
On the other hand, the majority (67%) of American electricity providers generate power from fossil fuels. 39% of American electricity is generated by coal, making it the single-biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions in the country.
Are Propane Appliances Better?
Houses that rely on propane for heat can also use it to run certain appliances, such as their water heater, barbeque, stove and more. Propane appliances last longer than electric and generally offer better performance — gas stoves and grills are favored by serious chefs, and gas water heaters recover up to twice as fast as electric.