Propane Or Electricity

Propane or Electric?

You can heat your RV with either electricity or propane, but which is cheaper? It depends. Being a cheapskate, full-time RVers, we use electric heat when we’ve paid a flat extra fee for 50-amp service. The answer is less clear-cut with metered electric. So, here is a down and dirty “22” cost conversion that could help you decide how to stay warm.

Propane for RV use is priced per gallon; electricity is priced in kilowatt/hours. They must be equated in a common measure to allow us to compare them. Manufactures of electric resistant heat space heaters state that the input of one kilowatt/hour produces 3,412 BTU’s. That is not the heat output. They aren’t 100 percent efficient. Standard reference guides give conversion of electricity to heat as only 95 percent efficient, producing an output of 3,241 BTUs per kilowatt hour. Each gallon of propane contains 91,691 BTUs of heat energy. Our furnace label claims it is 80 percent efficient, but standard reference guides say burning propane is only 78 percent efficient. Seventy-eight percent of 91,691 BTUs input computes heat output at 71,519 BTUs per gallon of propane. Dividing 71,519 BTUs for propane by 3,241 BTUs for electricity shows that the heat energy of one gallon of propane equals the heat energy of 22 kilowatts of electricity.

If a gallon of propane costs more than 22 kilowatts of electricity, use electric heat.

(found on SKP forums)

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