Propane vs. Electric: Which Is Better?

Forget the chicken or the egg, the most common debate for homeowners is deciding between propane vs. electric to fuel their home. While the two are energy sources, that’s where the similarities end.

propane vs electric comparison

For starters, propane is a primary energy source, whereas electricity is a secondary energy source. That means propane can be used ‘as is’, while electricity can only be used once it’s been created by another energy source. This of course means that it takes more energy to create electricity, and directly affects the cleanliness, efficiency and cost to produce it.

Below we’ve highlighted more comparisons to see which is the better energy source for your home.

Which Is Cleaner?

Fact: Propane

  • Propane is one of the cleanest carbon-based fuels.

  • The average propane-powered home reduces carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30% compared to all-electric homes.

  • Direct use of propane for space heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 50%.

  • Because propane is nontoxic and doesn’t pose a threat to soil and water, above or below ground.

Which Is More Efficient?

Fact: Propane

  • Propane appliances typically reduce energy costs, delivering better value and comfort than other heating sources.

  • Propane is more efficient than electricity when evaluating the total energy consumed (this includes the energy consumed in the extraction, production, processing and transportation of the fuel to the point of use). Based on this analysis, propane is 87% efficient; electricity is 32% efficient.

  • With a clean-burning, high-efficiency propane furnace, less than 10% of fuel is wasted in the combustion process. In comparison, more than two-thirds of the energy used by a power plant to generate and transmit electricity is wasted.

propane gas burner

Which Is Cheaper?

Fact: Propane

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating a home in the U.S. with a propane heating system in recent years has cost far less than heating with an electric system

  • When comparing appliances such as water heaters, propane water heaters generally cost 30% less to operate than electric ones—or 60% less if you use a tankless propane water heater.

  • Propane is considered an efficient fuel, which means it holds more energy per volume than other sources, which can reduce its overall usage cost.

Which Is Warmer?

Fact: Propane

  • A propane gas furnace heats air to about 130°F to 140°F and operates in short intervals to minimize operating costs. An electric heat pump produces heat below body temperature (98.6°F), so the air actually feels cool when placing your hand in front of a vent.

Which Is More Dependable?

Fact: Propane

  • Propane is safely stored in storage tanks on your property, while electricity is subject to power outages.

  • A propane generator can be used in times of power outages and is more efficient than “electric resistance” back up.

When it comes to choosing an energy source for your home heating and appliances, there’s a variety of factors to consider, however, there’s no question that propane far outweighs electric in every category. Are you ready to make the switch? Contact our Nelson Propane offices today!

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