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Discussion Starter #1
Lately I have had the past on my mind, namely propane lighting. In researching that period in history between non-electrical society and widespread electrical adoption when kerosine lanterns, candles and gas lights where more of a mainstay I have began to wonder how economical a modern house with no electricity, only propane would be.

For a proper comparison let's say the house in question is a two-story 850 sq foot home and is occupied by one human and a dog. The house is could possibly or off-grid or on-grid. Within the house you find a great room, Kitchen, guest bathroom and food pantry on the first floor. On the second floor are two bedrooms, and 1 bathroom.

Let's use this house layout since it is the same as described above. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/downloads/Enesti_Study_Plans.pdf

Now for this propane home a tankless propane water heater, propane refrigerator/freezer combo, extra propane freezer, propane gas lighting, propane cook stove, and propane fireplace have been installed within the home. No electrical devices exist.

If the house is off-grid, assume an 1000 gallon propane tank has been installed.

In another home, electric equivalents same as above along with other electronic devices such as televisions, stereos, computers and other modern devices the most people simply can't live without are installed.

When comparing the typical average American home with electricity to the whole house propane home, which how practical and/or economical would this propane house be in today's society? Keep in mind that there is still only one person and a dog living in either home.

For the math wizards, assume the average price of propane is $2.87/gal (residential) or $1.24/gal (wholesale). The electric home can expect an average price of 11.6¢/kWH. By the way, I'm not a math wiz by no means.

If thinking of an Off-Grid home, could propane compete with solar? Forget about which one is cleaner or more sustainable at the moment. I just want to know how practical and/or economical would this propane house be in today's society?
 

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I don't think a 1000 gal. L.P. tank would last long using all propane.
If the grid is available, use it. LED lighting is very economical.
Have a backup plan if the grid is down.
It would be hard to compete with .11/KW electricity.
Have several sources of heat. Use what is most available and economical.
I don't know how you could get propane wholesale.
Personally, I think it would be best to set up a house like an RV. AC, DC and propane.
 

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You installed 1000 gallon bomb next to your house. What if one guy with one high powered rifle fires one steel core/AP round at your 1000 gal tank?
It will create nice crater from which anybody can pick remains of your “prep”.
 

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You installed 1000 gallon bomb next to your house. What if one guy with one high powered rifle fires one steel core/AP round at your 1000 gal tank?
It will create nice crater from which anybody can pick remains of your “prep”.
It would punch a hole in the tank, not explode it. Propane Vapor has a VERY narrow ignition range. A steel core/AP round might put a hole in the tank but there would have to be a follow-on source of ignition to ignite the resulting vapor cloud.

You can avoid the entire issue by installing an underground tank, they're available and quite common.
 

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My best guess is your projected home would use somewhere on the order of 2500-3000 gallons/year of normal living. Your residential price estimate is resonable but your whole sale price (currently) is too low. IF, (and thats a big if), your able to buy at a wholesale price I'd look for more in the $1.50/gal range.
 

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I don't think a 1000 gal. L.P. tank would last long using all propane.
...
Personally, I think it would be best to set up a house like an RV. AC, DC and propane.
Two is one & one is none. One source is setting yourself up for trouble imo. Don't leave out wood, though.

One consideration I think needs to be taken into account is that the old homes weren't near as "tight" as modern ones. So that if you were going to be using gas lights, you'd want a positive air exchange system, not just a passive one like opening a window.

It would punch a hole in the tank, not explode it. Propane Vapor has a VERY narrow ignition range. A steel core/AP round might put a hole in the tank but there would have to be a follow-on source of ignition to ignite the resulting vapor cloud.
A few years ago, out at a friend's property, he tried a "Mythbusters" by shooting a 5 gal propane tank with a 7.62 tracer round. :cool:
Still got nothing but a vapor cloud. :sleep:
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I was just reading up on propane use during disasters and came upon the following "However, in the event of a disaster which cuts the electrical power to your home, it is not uncommon to have the natural gas service disrupted as well."

Natural Gas and Propane are two different fuels but they are delivered much the same way for grid-connected systems.

I don't think this is true, because if it were it would render standby generators moot. If propane service stopped during an electrical outage, your standby generator wouldn't work. And neither would your propane stove, provided they don't use electric ignition systems.

Has anyone experienced a loss in propane service during a power outage? If so what causes propane service to stop during a power outage?

Also I finally sat down and did the math using a standby generator as way to calculate consumption, hope I did it right. If one was to install a 45KW Generator and operate in under 50% load during an 1 week power outage, at it's rate of consumption of 151 ft³/hr and the installation of a 800 Gallon tank, one would have enough fuel to have power for 1.5 week(s) at most. Granted this is a most extreme scenario.

100 cubic feet per hour (ft³/hr) = 2.7 Gallons and 1 Gallon = 36.5 cubic feet per hour (ft³/hr)

24 Hrs X 7 Days = 168

168 Hours X 151 ft³ = 253.68 ft³
253.68 ft³ X 2.7 Gal = 685.94 Gal. / week

So that means if you're without power for a week with a non-grid connected standby generator you would have consumed almost $2000 of fuel in a week. Granted this has nothing to due with a propane only home but it gives one an idea of how to calculate consumption. Talk about an expensive power source. Now would just need to do the calculations for a propane only home. I would hope it doesn't use 3000 gal/yr. These calculations make electrical homes, even those off-grid with solar and wind power much more economical.

This makes me think that I would rather go completely off grid as it seems that grid connected systems are expensive. However the maintenance on an off-grid system might off set any savings. (ie. Battery Service and Replacement every 3 - 5 years, or 10 years if really good)
 

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CowboyPride,

45 KW is a huge generator! To run a normal house at full load a 15KW would do it all. So using your figures that turns into about 6 wks running time. And why would you have to run 24/7?? Run the genny for 2 hrs then shutdown for 6 hrs ..now your run time is about 3 months.

And to other replies: for consumption most new propane fridge and freezers use 1- 1.5 lbs of propane per day (24 hr period)
Also if you live in the north watch for freezing. (propane will freeze at -40 sustained temps.
Also why waste propane on heat? Put in a woodstove, u can also cook on it so you again save propane as you are not using a propane stove....
I could make that tank last for months.
 

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Sedoy: Bury the tank underground solves that solution.
I do not need to solve any solutions. I do not have a problem

I see houses with gigantic tanks next to them all over.
I did shoot small propane tanks. They blow up quite nicely with slightest source of ignition. Mythbusters do not know how to shoot.
People are not thinking rationally when they place 1000 gal bomb next to their houses.
 

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For a small house like that, a 5k gennie would work fine. Propane (bulk) from the local coop here is $1.55/gallon currently. I recently posted in another thread that a 250 gallon tank would give me 13 days of 24/7 run-time on a 7k generator, and running an on-off cycle would extend it far beyond that.
 

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"Has anyone experienced a loss in propane service during a power outage? If so what causes propane service to stop during a power outage?"

In our parts propane is stored in a large tank in the yard. Natural gas is delivered via a gas line. Usually wouldnt loose either during a short term power outage. Natural gas companies have backup power to keep the supply running.

BIH
 

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The longest time I've lost power was for about a week and the natural gas kept flowing. However, this was in central Jersey, a major metropolitan area.
The only problem with natural gas is most modern/high efficiency appliances that use it, such as forced air furnaces, also need electric to function.
 

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Lots of thoughts on fuels for after an event. For me and my family we went with wood for heat and cooking,hot water and can even make some power via wood gasification. However Propane has one quality most other fuels dont have and that is its unlimited shelf life. We have a 500 gallon tank (holds 400 gallons) attached to our propane generator. Used just for pumping water and emergency power tools we can make it and the 4 100 pound cylinders we also have last near 20 years. To do this we only run it once a week for 1/2 hour. In my opinion this is the best way to use Propane. Longevity is its greatest feature. It will outlast diesel or any other liquid fuel. I am surrounded by millions of oak trees so wood is my greatest asset. However having that Propane and the Generator that runs on it gives us an extra boost when we need it. KF
 

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In the rural areas around here, a lot of people use propane for just about everything. You never know when a tree will take down the power lines. Having propane allows people to cook and heat their homes without electricity.

If nothing else, I like the idea of having a propane space heater and a propane stove.
 

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Imcan answer to the loss of natural gas during a disaster.

In our case it was tornado damage at work, and the fire dept. mshut off the gas which powered our server room generator. After they deemed it safe , after 24 hours they turned the gas back on. Other than that here in Oklahoma we have gone as much as two weeks without power, and never lost gas. Other than isolated incidents.
 

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I had a similiar idea providing propane lighting simply because other forms of gas can be made that flow similiarly, methane and hydrogen,and wood gas.
Having solar the dependency on the sun remains ,and during the winter months it is weak.
I am hoping some day to have a wind mill in operation.
Propane is not cheap, but your right it stores very well.
If things level out for a while, I hope to have my 100 lb tanks revalved and filled too, just as a back up. last time they tried to fill one of the 100 lb the valve leaked, so new valves all around.
If I have to bug out at least the 100 pounders can be brought along. hate having to leave the 500 gallon behind. even half full. such is life.
 

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Propane ain't cheap. I have a commercial account, and the rate is about $2.19 on a good fill. As has been mentioned...If the grid is available USE IT!!! Propane ishowever, a good back up.
Oh, and to all the mad bombers...I have 2- 500 gallon tanks, 1- 270, 3- 120, and about 15 23 gallon tanks. I am getting one more 500, just cause... If I have to worry about the zombies shooting up my tanks, then it is already way to late, as I will have been over-run. You gotta be right on top of the tanks to get a clear shot. If you are out in the open, burying them is not a bad idea...One might consider sand bags as an option... Meanwhile back at the ranch...Tank it up...The mad bombers have probably never messed with anything bigger than a BBQ tank....Then there is the wood pile...Heaven forbid that some raider ever sets that sucker on fire...
 

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i have 750 gallon tank and except for the wood stove on really cold nights, it does all the heating and cooking. i usually use about 70% of the tank a year, 1300 sq foot house with a basement. you can get a propane refrigerator at an r.v. dealer. a small propane generator to run an hour or 2 a day. 1000 gallon tank will last half the year. i would keep a couple 75 gallon tanks as back up just in case. but dont let it get below 30% full and even a month long power outage would not affect you if you watch the genie use.
 

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there is just ONE DRAWBACK to LPG. you WILL eventually run out.

If planned correctly Solar will last for years, even decades. I light my BOL with Solar and batteries, works great.

LPG for heating is great, BTU content is about twice that of NG. but if you have a a forced air furnace and the power goes out, your screwed unless you have a Backup generator.

You can get a Gravity Furnace that is Propane fired, Empire Heating makes a nice little direct vent wall unit that does not need power ( I don't like vent free stuff)

http://www.google.com/products/cata...=X&ei=CauET8-VNoLh0QHa7_TsBw&ved=0CI8BEPMCMAM

I have installed many of these systems and they work very well for what they are. If you decide to get one and need help, shoot me an Private message or e-mail me and I'll see if I can help you out.


I would not go with propane lights, they will require maintenance and cleaning, *most* people don't like to clean things. If the house is tight and well insulated you'll need to circulate air.
 
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