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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    7

    Electric Boiler or Propane?

    I am building a house and trying to decide if I should go with an electric or propane boiler for the radiant heating system. At present it costs 7.5 cents per kilowatt of electricity and $2.03 per gallon for propane.

    With costs going through the roof for gas products, I'm wondering which will be the most cost effective over the next 5 - 10 years.

    Also wondering if my household hotwater should be on a different system than the heating system?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,285

    some values

    1 kilowatt = 3414 BTUs and is 100% efficient

    1 gallon LP gas= 92,000 BTUs times appliance combustion efficiency (not 100%)

    1 therm Nat Gas= 100,000 BTUs times appliance combustion efficiency (not 100%)

    1 gallon #2 fuel oil = 140,000 BTUs times appliance combustion efficiency (not 100%)

    Your mileage may vary, as combustion efficiency needs to be tested and verified.

    Noel

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,302
    100,000 BTUs of heat delivered

    Electric boiler= $1.98

    LP 82% boiler= $2.71 or 90% = $2.47

    how about oil?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,213
    oe2x

    With your location, moderate weather, inexpensive electric rate and new construction, why not a high eff Heat pump system with var speed air handler?

    IMO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    1,110
    Around here, you can "Pre buy" propane before the winter to save some money. If it were my house, I would put my money in some good insulation and air sealing, and reduce the loss as much as possible. Then go with a Thermolec electric boiler and a properly designed radiant system. If you want radiant heat so you can walk around your house barefoot, you will be disapointed though and you may be better off with some panel radiators.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    7
    DesMech - you are correct about prebuying the propane. This summer the price was around $1.80 a gallon and I could get a 1,000 gallon tank that should last through the winter for a 3,800 sq. ft. house. The propane dealer figures prices will hit $2.30 a gallon for winter rates.

    Tigerdunes - I'm honestly tired of force air for heat. I love friends homes that have radiant heat. This house also has walls of glass on the south and west exposures and I'm afraid that force hot air would be much more costly.We are going to have dyed concrete floors throughout the house for thermal loading and maintenance reduction.

    So it looks like electric would be the way to go?

    Have any of you used the on demand hotwater systems for household needs?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Grottoes VA
    Posts
    5,856
    How about geothermal in floor radiant? For every dollar you use in electric you get $5.00 worth of heat, hence 500% eff. Expensive to install, but since your building a house you can put build it into you home loan. Around here you have a 3-5 year payoff on geothermal compared to a conventional system.
    Karst means cave. So, I search for caves.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3
    I know this is an old thread but FYI. With 7.5 cent electric you would have to have a 95% effcient propane boiler and be buying propane for under $1.90 to break even with the operating cost of the 100% effcient Thermolec electric boiler. Plus the intial unit cost is lot less than a 95% effcient gas and installed cost is less with no need for venting or piping gas. Geothermal is great but if you don't plan on being in your home for the next 10 years you may not ever see the payback on it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,314
    Quote Originally Posted by tigerdunes View Post
    oe2x

    With your location, moderate weather, inexpensive electric rate and new construction, why not a high eff Heat pump system with var speed air handler?

    IMO
    He's installing a high comfort system.
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