Help me ballpark what my heating costs might be?
May 7, 2007 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me come up with a general estimate as to how much propane used for home heating might cost in NH?

We are in the process of buying a home in NH that currently has a propane heating system. We're waiting for copies of actual heating bills from the current owners, but they said that they typically have the tanks filled up twice a year and that it costs about $500 each time. The house is 1750 square feet, and only the heating & boiler use propane (and one small gas stove used for heating). All of the appliances are electric.

I'm a little nervous because my uncle heard about the house and told me that $1000 a year for propane heat is ludicrous and that it's going to be MUCH MUCH MORE. He said that for his 3000 square foot house in Scarsdale, NY, some *months* cost $1000 for propane. To me, THAT sounds ludicrous. I also know that they are sort of wasteful and stupid and they probably keep the heat cranked way up all winter long, and also many of their appliances use the propane.

So... while I know my best estimate will be the actual bills from previous years, in the meantime can anyone help me to determine what I might have to look forward to in terms of heating costs? Even general responses like "$1000 is way too cheap to be realistic" or "Your uncle is a moron" would be helpful.

Natural gas is not an option, as gas lines do not reach our property. There is an old electric radiant heat system that is partially in tact and we might look into restoring that. This is our first house, so I'm unfamiliar with typical heating costs.
posted by catfood to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Don't have propane heat, but do have a cold house in NH of a similar size to yours. If the prices are similar to natural gas, then your number sounds closer than your uncle's. Maybe a little low, but I think gas is a little higher than propane so that could explain that.
posted by DU at 9:11 AM on May 7, 2007

I don't have propane, I have natural gas, but I just wanted to point out that the whole electric vs gas appliances thing is a bit of a red herring. We have a gas stove, gas water heater, and gas furnace, and the fuel consumption of the stove, oven, and water heater is basically insignificant compared to the furnace. It's maybe a few bucks a month for the WH and stove, and we're big on cooking and use the stove a lot. In the summer our gas bills are generally around $20/mo, IIRC, and that includes all the crap they tack on.

So anyway, just keep that in mind -- gas appliances, unless they're really really old and hideously inefficient, are not going to make a hundreds-of-dollars difference in the bill.

You might find this link, from even further up north (Canada), worth looking at. It's basically a sheet that helps you to compare various heating costs, but in there are some fairly decent estimates of the energy consumption of heating various types of homes. You can toss in the value from somewhere like Montreal and you'll probably be about on target (probably overestimating, which is OK).
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:55 AM on May 7, 2007

I don't know what your uncle keeps his thermostat at, but your estimate is much more reasonable than his. What is the size of his propane tank? You can use this page to help you estimate your potential costs over the winter. We use natural gas in a NH home 3 times the size and spend about $1200/winter on gas.

Also, there is a good reason why the electric radiant heating sysem is no longer used. Electricity prices in NH are the second highest in the country, and almost double what many other states pay. We converted to gas in our previous home because of this. I would not encourage you to heat your home with electricity.
posted by Flakypastry at 11:22 AM on May 7, 2007

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