Comparing costs of LP, Natural Gas, and Electric

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ah2bwise

Member
Hello,

We're in the process of a new build and I am trying to determine if it is worth the cost to connect natural gas.

I was hoping you could confirm that my process in calculating this is correct.

House details:
- Location: Western NY
- 80'x30' footprint, w/ 10-foot ceilings (2,400 square feet)
- R-38 in the attic, insulation batts in 2x6 walls
- Radiant floor heating on a concrete slab
- Single story ranch

Heating Demand:
- 10 BTU/sq ft/HDD
- Heating Degree Days (HDD): 5,866
- Total Annual BTU Requirement: 10 × 2,400 × 5,866 = 140,784,000 BTU/year

Natural Gas cost:
- Assumed Efficiency: 90%
- Actual Need: 140,784,000 / 0.9 = 156,426,667 BTU/year
- \$0.78 per ccf (I averaged my last 3 bills at my current address)
- btu/cu.ft: 1,037
- 156,426,667 / 1,037 = 150,842 ccf per yr
- 150,842 ccf × \$0.78 = \$1,176 total cost per year

Electric Boiler cost:
- Assumed Efficiency: 100%
- Conversion factor: 3,412 BTU/kWh
- Total KW need: 140,784,000 / 3,412 = 41,265 kWh
- Electric cost: \$0.175 per kWh (I averaged my last 3 bills at my current address)
- Total Cost: 41,265 kWh × \$0.175 = \$7,221.38

Propane cost:
- Assumed Efficiency: 90%
- 91,500 BTU/gallon
- Annual requirement: 140,784,000 BTU/year / 91,500 = 1,538 gallons
- Propane cost: \$2.149 per gallon (local quote just received)
- 1,538 gallons x \$2.149/gl = \$3,305

It would seem that the cost of an electric boiler is unfeasable.
The cost per ft the gas company quoted me to run a main down our road that doesn't have NG comes out to be around \$10,000 total.
So, if my math is correct, it should take \$10,000 / \$2,129 saved per yr = around 4.7 years to pay for itself.

Is the way I am approaching this correct?

Thank you

Fitter30

Well-Known Member
STOP . your looking for the cheapest? Ground source heat pump by far. DHW can be made. Blower door test with everything sealed . Or wshp radiate heat

ah2bwise

Member
I am looking for the cheapest per month, with an install that will pay for itself within a reasonable time compared to Propane (since it seems like the baseline at this point)

Breplum

pretty much looks right to me
other factors: price inflation for any number of reasons
higher efficiency appliances if appropriate...like 96%

Ballvalve

General Engineering Contractor
Imagine that here in California PGE is charging .43 cents per KW, and up toward .53 cents in higher tiers. We were paying .10 cents until the lawyers decided to make the utility pay for all the wildfires. What a cluster f**k this state has become. Can't even think about a plug in electric car at those rates, gasoline is much cheaper. So much that a gen set that also uses waste heat in the house becomes attractive.

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Natural gas or propane could power a whole house generator, so that you could have heat when the electricity goes out. Gas furnaces need electricity, although there are some gas stoves/fireplaces that do not.

ah2bwise

Member
Where I am the least confident in my above calculations is:
- factoring in the 10 ft ceiling vs currently just using sq ft
- factoring in things like attic insulation (having R38 vs, say, R60 and how that would impact BTU requirements)

Jeff H Young

Where I am the least confident in my above calculations is:
- factoring in the 10 ft ceiling vs currently just using sq ft
- factoring in things like attic insulation (having R38 vs, say, R60 and how that would impact BTU requirements)
If you have better or worse insulation . The decision between paying 1100 a year natural or 3 to 7 times greater for the other choices seems the same.
are you thinking you can some how reduce your energy consumption by like 50 percent or 75 percent that it would be worth going all electric ? or paying well over double for propane would be better no 10k cost to run pipeline?
Id be leaning heavy toward Natural given your numbers , no idea how remote this is but even a small back up generatorId call prudent so many run on nat, propane, or petro

John Gayewski

Nat gas is still the cheapest per unit.

Heat pumps are more effeciant, but more complicated, hard to get parts, more up front cost.

ah2bwise

Member
I already know that natural gas is going to be much cheaper per month.

What I am trying to determine is how long it will take for the NG to pay for itself, since it will cost around \$10k for the NG supplier to run a main, etc to connect me.

If NG is is significantly cheaper, but it still takes 10+ years to pay for itself (especially given the direction NY is going with NG), then that makes the decision harder.

I want to make sure my numbers are as accurate as possible since it looks like it will pay for itself in a few years.

Jeff H Young

you also have to have a crystall ball on energy prices.

ah2bwise

Member
With that mentality then, it doesn't matter what I do, since the future is unknown so why does it matter...

I can work with the figures I know now, and make reasonable estimations accordingly. I just want to make sure my approach with how to caucluate this is accurate - hence the reason for the post...

If anyone has input concerning my calcuations that are acutally helpful, I'm all ears...

John Gayewski

We didn't measure your house or windows. Your numbers are what you say they are. Simple math that probably no one wants to follow along with. You can rationalize what is saving you money any way you want.

If you want effeciancy go with electricity like had been said it's the most effeciant and price could go down compared to gas if you can tell the future. If you can't go with gas as things likley won't change much in our lifetime.

Jeff H Young

With that mentality then, it doesn't matter what I do, since the future is unknown so why does it matter...

I can work with the figures I know now, and make reasonable estimations accordingly. I just want to make sure my approach with how to caucluate this is accurate - hence the reason for the post...

If anyone has input concerning my calcuations that are acutally helpful, I'm all ears...
exactly the future is unknown but perhaps there is some credible predictions on energy costs and the price of fuels or electricity youve got 1100 3300 or 7200 a year ? im sure you could crunch numbers better I cant tell you how but Id go with natural gas

ah2bwise

Member
Obviously my numbers are what I say they are - not sure what your completely useless comment is supposed to be getting at.

If you don't want to review the math, ignore the post. Pretty simple...

There is a correct way to use simple algebra to arrive at a house's energy needs. Its an objective measurement. My post is to inquire about if I am doing that correctly. This doens't involve my house, my "rationalizations" as you put it...

I NEVER asked what the most efficient approach would be. Anyone that is suggesting that I go with electric because its the most efficient clearly didn't even read beyond the first sentence of my original post.

Again, If anyone has input concerning my calcuations that are acutally helpful, I'm all ears...

Jeff H Young

Sorry no input on your calcs good luck

John Gayewski

Obviously my numbers are what I say they are - not sure what your completely useless comment is supposed to be getting at.

If you don't want to review the math, ignore the post. Pretty simple...

There is a correct way to use simple algebra to arrive at a house's energy needs. Its an objective measurement. My post is to inquire about if I am doing that correctly. This doens't involve my house, my "rationalizations" as you put it...

I NEVER asked what the most efficient approach would be. Anyone that is suggesting that I go with electric because its the most efficient clearly didn't even read beyond the first sentence of my original post.

Again, If anyone has input concerning my calcuations that are acutally helpful, I'm all ears...
Dude it's math. Ones cheaper. What do you want to know? You added numbers and asked which one is bigger, lol.

ah2bwise

Member
Where did I ask which ones is bigger?

What do I want to know? Take 15 seconds to actually read the original post and you will find the answer to that.

You have offered literally zero valuable input - why are you still here?

I hope you don't suck at your day job as much as you do answering questions on this site. LOL.

John Gayewski

Where did I ask which ones is bigger?

What do I want to know? Take 15 seconds to actually read the original post and you will find the answer to that.

You have offered literally zero valuable input - why are you still here?

I hope you don't suck at your day job as much as you do answering questions on this site. LOL.
I read it. That's what you asked. You want to know if getting natural gas will pay off for you and then added it up, but didn't then add the cost up over ten or twenty years and compare them to see which one will save you the most money and compare the to the cost to have natural gas ran to you house. Then you told a bunch of people you didn't want their input you wanted them to check your math and make sure you where using the right numbers. Then people told you the numbers didn't matter all that much becuse prices go up and down. And most people told you NG was the way to go, but you didn't like how they told you that either. Some people said don't even do all that just go with effeciancy and you didn't like that either. So maybe someone else will give you the handholding and easy math time instruction you want but not likley when people have lives and the question is so.... (trying not to be mean)

ah2bwise

Member

It took you longer to write that than it would take the average person to read the original post - sounds like your the one that has no life...

"A bunch of people"... bro there are like 5 individuals total that responded to this (you don't even count), and 2 of them didn't mention going with NG...

And next your going to tell me you have a "bunch of experience" with this stuff? lol

Maybe your just jealous that you either can't create or comprehend a simple financial analysis like I originally created above...

Please, keep the manipulative replies coming - I am finding them entertaining at this point lol

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