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Is a Propane Furnace Worth the Cost?

Homeowners today are faced with a multitude of options when it comes to heating—with propane, natural gas, electric, and solar being just a few of the many choices available. On the face of it, it’s absolutely great to have such a wide variety of heating methods, since you can weigh the pros and cons of each one before settling on a choice that meets your specific needs. On the other hand, however, an increased amount of choices can just make your job more difficult. How do you choose? What type of heating is right for your home?

It goes without saying that one of the most important variables when it comes to selecting a heating method is cost. Homeowners are always on the lookout for the least expensive way to keep their houses warm, but as with most things in life, it’s rarely as simple as “one method is cheaper than another method.”

This brings us to the purpose of this article: many homeowners balk at certain costs, such as installation and the cost of the heat source, because those things can tend to seem very expensive. The reality, however, is a bit more nuanced. For example, while installing a heating system can certainly be pricey, it may end up saving you money in the long run because the method you’ve chosen is more efficient.

Of course, cost should never be the only factor you consider either. Certain elements are worth a bigger price tag. For example, isn’t it worth it to spend a little more to ensure your heating system is safe?

If you’re considering installing a propane heating system in your home, you may have wondered, “Is it worth the cost?” We’ll try to break that down for you to help you decide if a propane furnace is right for you.

Installation

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The largest upfront cost for any heating system is almost certainly going to be installation. How much, exactly, you spend on installation depends on a number of factors. How it affects the propane furnace cost will depend on if you already have access to propane. Many homes already have propane systems in place, but if you don’t, you’ll have to have a propane tank installed somewhere on your property. These propane tanks are generally stored underground—though they can be stored above ground if necessary—and a 500-gallon tank should be able to heat a four-bedroom home for about a year.

The installation of this propane tank can prove to be costly. However, it does have benefits over other methods, such as natural gas, because you won’t have to worry about connecting your heating system to an existing pipeline.

You’ll also need to have a new heating system installed if your house isn’t set up for a propane furnace. You can also expect to pay to have your old system removed. These costs can add up, depending on your previous heating system and the size of your home, but fortunately, unless you switch heating systems again, it’s likely to be a one-time cost.

Maintenance

Here’s where the benefits of propane heating systems start to kick in over other types of heating: they require relatively little maintenance. Generally, a new propane furnace can plug along for years before any major repairs are required. That’s not to say you should become complacent, however. You’ll still need to have regular diagnostics, inspections, and upkeep performed.

If you’re in the Portland, OR, or Vancouver, WA, area, we recommend having one of our Entek technicians come and inspect your heating system about once a year. While it’s unlikely major problems will occur with a new furnace, especially one that’s regularly cared for, it’s still possible. Leaks do occur, and having a good technician on call can help to prevent major problems that could lead to a lot of expensive repairs.

Safety

For many homeowners, the propane furnace cost becomes well worth it whenever the issue of safety arises. The fact is that propane furnaces are simply a lot safer than most other heating methods. People tend to think of gas furnaces as posing a risk of explosions and fires, but propane won’t combust in air temperatures of less than 1,000 degrees. Therefore, it’s quite unlikely that your home will face any serious risk of fire from a propane heating system.

Like natural gas and oil, propane produces carbon monoxide as it burns. This could pose a risk to people and pets in the home. That’s why regular maintenance and the use of carbon monoxide detectors is important, no matter what type of furnace your home has.

The Environment

Environmental concerns are a major factor for many people as they shop around for a method of heating their homes. Simply put, some heating methods are more environmentally sound than others, and propane is one of the most “green” ways you can choose to heat your home. It’s a relatively clean-burning fuel and it doesn’t produce the same level of harmful emissions as other heating methods, such as gas, oil, and coal. Because of its status as a green choice for heating, propane users may be eligible for tax credits in their areas.

Comfort

While propane fuel does tend to cost more per gallon than other options, it also burns a lot hotter than many choices, and you’ll therefore need less of it. While other methods of heating can really struggle to heat your home during the coldest days of the year, people living in homes heated by propane rarely report problems.

A propane furnace just makes your house warmer. The speed at which it warms up is a lot faster than other methods as well. This is of particular benefit when you’re using your propane furnace to heat your shower water. Other methods can take a while to give you water hot enough to shower with. Propane can usually do it within minutes.

So, is a propane furnace worth the cost in your home? It very likely might be. Consider your house and needs, and choose the best option for you and your family. If you have any questions, please give us a call.