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What is a Propane Furnace?

Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter

A propane furnace is considered an affordable heating system. A propane furnace lasts eight to ten years longer than an electric furnace and costs less to run on a monthly basis. Although heating costs vary across the country, the cost of electricity, on average, is 50% higher than the cost of propane, when compared by BTU.

Propane furnaces have other advantages over electric heating systems. When your home is heated by a propane powered furnace, you will have heat even if the electricity fails, such as during a winter ice storm. Many people feel that the heat provided by propane makes a home more comfortable in cold weather. This may be due to the fact that propane warms the air to a higher temperature than electricity. An electric furnace typically heats air to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Fahrenheit), while a propane furnace heats the air to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). This difference warms a room up quicker.

A propane tank.
A propane tank.

Propane furnaces are available as wall furnaces and combination heaters, but they are also available as central furnaces, much like electric heating systems. Propane central heaters are an excellent choice when adding central heat to a small home, because they are compact and very space efficient. Also, because the exhaust from propane heaters is cooler than the exhaust from conventional heaters, it is possible to vent the exhaust using PVC pipe.

Of course propane is not for everyone. While propane is less expensive than electricity, if your home has an electric heating system, the money saved from heating with propane will not make switching to propane an economical choice.

A side view of a residential propane tank.
A side view of a residential propane tank.

Some people do not like the idea of heating with propane, because it is flammable. A properly installed propane furnace should not present any hazards, but the work should be done by a professional furnace installer. Other sources of heating fuel, such as natural gas, are also flammable if not handled properly.

There are many different sources of heating fuel. Often the biggest factor when deciding what choice makes the most sense for your home is your location. In some areas of the country, heating oil is widely used, while in others natural gas or propane are considered standard. Using the same type of fuel as your neighbors means that the supply should be readily available and competitively priced. Nearly every part of the country can accommodate electric heat, but it is often the most expensive choice.

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    • A propane tank.
      By: Ty Konzak
      A propane tank.
    • A side view of a residential propane tank.
      A side view of a residential propane tank.
    • PVC pipe can be used to vent a propane furnace's exhaust.
      By: thejimcox
      PVC pipe can be used to vent a propane furnace's exhaust.
    • A propane furnace can last eight to 10 years longer than an electric furnace and costs less to run on a monthly basis.
      By: scaliger
      A propane furnace can last eight to 10 years longer than an electric furnace and costs less to run on a monthly basis.