Propane vs. Electric Heat: Which Is Better?

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.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of propane use in your home? Contact Foster Fuels to speak with a representative today.

18 thoughts on “Propane vs. Electric Heat: Which Is Better?”

  1. Delores Lyon says:

    Wow, I had no idea that propane is considered a clean alternative source of energy for the home. In my opinion, that makes propane a lot more appealing. The last thing I would want is to burn fuel that has a lot of toxic waste– that isn’t healthy for anyone! However, if propane burns so cleanly, then I think it is worth considering.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      We love propane and are glad to see you are taking a liking to it too! If you would like to learn more about propane, you could visit our Propane page or call us and talk to the experts at 800-344-6457.

  2. Emily Smith says:

    My husband and I have been thinking about getting a propane heater. We have heard good things about it and wanted to look into it a little more. It is good to know that they are safe and propane powered appliances usually last longer. We may have to get a propane heater!

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Great Emily. We think you will be very happy with that choice! We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about propane heaters. Please feel free to contact us or give us a call at 800-344-6457.

  3. bryan flake says:

    I recently bought a home with a large propane tank in the yard. The other day I tested the heat in the house to make sure it works. It does not, sadly. How much will it cost to have someone come and examine my propane tank?

  4. Michael Lee says:

    A lot of people think of King of the Hill when the subject of propane comes up! But all jokes aside, I would say that electric heat and propane both have their benefits, sorta going along with what the author is saying. But overall which is the best choice for a larger residence?

  5. Wendy Cartright says:

    Thank you for sharing this information about propane heating. I have found that I prefer propane over electric for heating and appliances. In my area, propane is cheaper than electric.

  6. Christina Grover says:

    It is good to know that I don’t need to worry about whether or not propane is safe. I have been thinking about installing a propane system. This website has a lot of good information about the benefits of propane as well. Is there usually an odor to this kind of gas?

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hi Christina, Thank you for commenting. Propane gas naturally does not have an odor to it however, to ensure the safety of propane users, an odor is added in order to detect a leak and notify the propane provider to have it fixed.

  7. Nash Rich says:

    I liked the section about prices of propane and electricity. It’s something I had never thought of before but the point about storing it at home and you can fill up when prices are low was a good one. I also didn’t know that propane was that clean to burn, and I can imagine it might get better throughout the years, but I’m no expert. Thanks for the info!

  8. Derek Mcdoogle says:

    My friend recently moved into a new home and they have a propane tank. You mentioned that propane has been listed as an alternative clean fuel which makes it better both for your wallet and for the environment. I didn’t realize that this option was available for your home. Is there are a lot of equipment needed to convert your home over? I wonder if this is available in my area.

    1. fosterfuels says:

      Hello Derek, we would love to speak with you about propane and quantify the specific needs you would have. Can one of our propane specialists contact you to help you with more information?

  9. Shad Morris says:

    We have a pretty old system in our house, and I wanted to know more about propane systems. It’s interesting that propane is actually cheaper than electric in some areas. It would be nice to save a little bit on our heat this winter.

  10. John Mahoney says:

    I didn’t realize that propane was such a clean burning fuel. I can see how it si becoming a better choice to provide energy as well as warmth for buildings. I would want to make sure I get the best quality I can from a company that has a good reputation and cares about the buyers.

  11. Tamara Brendle says:

    Propane heater is the best option. I’ve been using this heater a year ago, and I have no complaints about it. It’s really good to my family.

  12. Sarah Smith says:

    I’m thinking about switching to propane heat. It’s good to know that with propane you can fill up when prices are cheap and save money. Something else to consider is to get propane from a place that is reputable and even make deliveries, so that you can get it in an emergency.

  13. John Ferrell says:

    You said that electric costs vary by power source. If I was going to get electric heating I would want to know that I would be able to get it cheap. Maybe I should speak with a professional to learn about the best prices that I could get.

  14. Kourtney says:

    When buying my home, my husband and I were debating on buying a home with oil or gas heating. After researching more in to it, we decided to go with propane gas. As noted here, it not only saves on the electricity bill, but is also much cleaner and better for the environment than oil heating. If you are questioning which to go with, I would definitely recommend propane gas.

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