Rome, NY Sucks

But At Least We're Not Utica

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hank Hill Would Be Ashamed

The Propane industry has rolled out a preemptive strike against winter heating prices. In effect, the argue propane is cheaper and a better heating fuel than electricity. Gas heating is generally cheaper where people do not have an energy co-op. That's too bad since any space heater you pick up at the drug store is about 99% efficient while the most expensive gas furnace is only 95%. What bothered me is that they took a swipe at electric heat pumps, because propane furnaces are supposed to last 5 years longer on average.

First of all, propane prices will be going up significantly. A heat pump delivers more equivalent energy than is uses. If propane is cheaper, demand will rise and the price of propane will meet that of every other fossil fuel. Propane is produced from petroleum and natural gas production and will see similar fluctuations.

The fine print in this propane furnace over heat pump claim is that they compare air-to-air heat pumps. Ground source heat pumps are nearly twice as efficient and last for decades. Even with the high cost of electricity, ground source pumps beat propane furnaces hands down, with an energy in to energy out ratio of about 4:1.

Using their own energy calculator, you learn that propane includes the same cooling costs for both fuels. That's because they haven't actually figured out how to make a propane air conditioner. So, now when you figure the replacement cost calculations, you can have a heat pump for heating and cooling for 15 years or a furnace PLUS an air conditioner that are both replaced in 20 years.


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