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Forum topic by moke posted 10-07-2020 08:26 PM 872 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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moke

1655 posts in 3752 days


10-07-2020 08:26 PM

I am planning and about to build my dream shop. I am ready to start but the contractors are not. We had an inland Hurricane or Derecho the 10th of August and contractors are slammed. The building is about 150’ behind my house and up a slight hill. A gas line is estimated to be about 3 to 5K. I have varying opinions as to whether I will need high pressure lines or not. I think our city will allow LP in extreme cases like mine. ( It is still under review)

I have absolutely no experience with Propane. Aside from have to have the tank filled occasionally, what is the downside from using it vs natural gas. I was just told it is currently 1.09 per gallon. That sounds cheap to me.

Any help is appreciated.

-- Mike


37 replies so far

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Fred Hargis

6746 posts in 3469 days


#1 posted 10-07-2020 08:42 PM

The cost seems to vary quite a bit from supplier to supplier. Some of them charge tank rent, some don’t. Buying your own tank is fairly costly, then you have to get it hooked up. Generally, you will pay slightly less for LP if you own your own tank. LP is a common fuel around me and most suppliers will put the tank in and hook it up at little to no cost (they do limit how much in parts like copper pipe and fittings they give away). The $1.09/gallon is cheap…at least in comparison to what we have. Usually a supplier (around here) will fill your tank up in the summer at a reduced rate, and may offer a pre-buy arrangement for however many gallons you think you will need through the winter. That allows you to lock in a fixed cost so if the market bounces around you aren’t stuck paying a higher price. Generally what you don’t use of the pre-buy is credited back in some form. Some of them that give you the tank rent-free expect you to buy a certain minimum of gallons. There are so many variations on what they can do, it’s best to just call a few and ask. A gallon of LP will have about 93K BTUs, so you can compare that to nat gas. My shop has 960 square feet (10’ ceilings) with 6” walls and R40 ceiling, I burn about 375 gallons a year keeping it at 50 at night and 65 during the day (retired, so I’m in there almost every day). That’s with an 85%(?) ceiling hung furnace, and I’m in west central Ohio.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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controlfreak

1636 posts in 577 days


#2 posted 10-07-2020 08:42 PM

I think they behave about the same but the heater is going to need a different set of gas jets or nozzles. The thing with LP is a truck will need to fill the tank so there may be a delivery charge on top of the per gallon price. Not sure how cold your winters are but if real cold do your math on total cost and tank sizes. If no too cold you may want to look into a mini split.

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tvrgeek

1170 posts in 2625 days


#3 posted 10-07-2020 09:31 PM

I made the mistake of spending several K on a gas line to my shop only to find out my split HVAC does fine without supplemental heat. No wall furnace needed. Propane is VERY expensive. More than the heat pump here.

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Fred Hargis

6746 posts in 3469 days


#4 posted 10-07-2020 10:15 PM

I should have mentioned above, the tank (at least for my suppliers) needs to be within 100’ of wherever the truck stops…that’s as long as their hose is. Actually, I think it’s 125’, but they tell me that 100’ is the distance. TVgeek made a recommendation that’s worth considering, depending on where you are. A mini split does a nice job, gives you AC and heat…and it’s economical. Except for the installation cost.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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moke

1655 posts in 3752 days


#5 posted 10-07-2020 10:18 PM

Thanks guys, you are telling me just what I want. The company I just talked to, said that I won’t use enough LP to justify giving me a tank, so unless he can find a used one it’s 1750.00. I asked him if his trucks would break up my brand new driveway and he said,”That’s always a concern” NO S&*T thats why I asked.
Fred, my shop is also going to be 960 sq feet. but with 8 foot ceilings. How many BTU is your furnace?

Thanks control freak…I’ll look into the extra charges

tvrgeek- I’m in Iowa most generally we hover around 0, but it can get to -15 or lower. I have considered a heat pump, but they are not used much here in Iowa.

-- Mike

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yesIcan

9 posts in 3663 days


#6 posted 10-07-2020 10:39 PM

I live in southern Missouri, where winter temps usually fall between 20 and 40 (exceptions down to zero happen, but not often). I heat my 600 sf garage with a ventless wall heater and use a 100 lb propane tank. I circulate the heated air with ceiling fans. Installation was easy—just purchase the same line and regulator needed for a barbeque grille, set the tank outside and run the line through a 1” hole in the wall. The tank and necessary regulator will cost you around $150, and the ventless wall heater runs about $125. It takes about a half hour in the mornings to warm the shop to a comfortable 60 degrees. I’m in the shop most days in the winter, and I only have to refill the tank a couple of times per winter. Refill usually runs about $75. The only drawback is that I have to take the tank to my local propane supplier for refill because they won’t make a delivery that small. I use a moving dolly and transport the tank to the supplier on my lawn mower trailer, so it’s not a big deal. This works well for me and is very cost efficient.

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northwoodsman

479 posts in 4722 days


#7 posted 10-07-2020 10:47 PM

I was going to bring up the issue in getting the truck to your tank also but you figured it out already. I would go with the mini split as well. It would be nice to have AC in the summer. You could always supplement it with a portable LP or Kerosene heater on the really cold days if needed. Once it gets up tote,mp the right size mini split should be able to maintain temp. The mini splits aren’t that expensive and you could install much of it yourself. I would get an HVAC contractor to run the lines and charge it. You can probably get a mini split for about the same price as the LP tank itself.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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ibewjon

2225 posts in 3769 days


#8 posted 10-08-2020 12:35 AM

A friend prebought his propane. He was then charged for storage over the summer,negating the pre buy savings. I am in Illinois, 30 miles south of I 80, near Joliet. I only have a 400 sq ft shop, but with a 10’ ceiling. I bought a mini split from LG, it is 28 seer ac, and I don’t remember the rating for heat. It is supposed to be efficient down to minus 14, but I shut it off at -10 to be safe, and used my backup heat, an in the wall 4 kw. But I ac the shop for about 25 cents a day, and heat it to 60 degrees for about 50 cents a day. I have hour meter and kilowatt-hour meter on it, so that is fact, not a guess. A foot of insulation in the ceiling and 6” walls. It works for me. (From what I understand, for a long natural gas line, larger pipe can be used in place of higher pressure. Higher pressure requires different regulators, and another at the garage. This is from a pipe fitter that installs gas lines.)

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squazo

204 posts in 2621 days


#9 posted 10-08-2020 01:30 AM

Does your house not have natural gas plumbed to it? I ran a gas line from my house to my shop last year, they sell gas line that is basically PEX tube, I think 100 feet and fittings and stuff was like 200 bucks.

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CaptainKlutz

4015 posts in 2470 days


#10 posted 10-08-2020 04:33 AM

Gas work is just like major electrical work, requires inspections/permits and professional knowledge.
Even the smartest DIY’er need to hire a professional first couple times, and they don’t come cheap.

Shop around for quotes. I found a local fire fighter on CL who does off hour work installing gas appliances that was half the next highest quote. He let me do the permit paperwork and inspections for additional $1000 price reduction. Paperwork was a PIA, time consuming, but not hard.

IME – Gas line/fittings are cheap, average ~$2-5/ft for single large appliance line. The expensive part is required building permit, time and travel for 2-3 inspection(s), and digging trench with proper depth/slope to hold pipe.

One tricky part with buried gas lines besides slope requirements is entrance/exit from ground. Plastic is common solution, but ground exit pipe typically has to be steel to prevent physical damage in most building codes. Alkaline Arizona soil will eat through unprotected black pipe in a few years. Needed to sheave the pipe in plastic, with gravel in tench below underground junction to let water drain away. Local expert knew exactly what to use to pass inspection, and the information was not shown in any local codes.

PS – While mini-split will work for shop,
might still want a nice fat 2” gas line to supply the wood drying kiln next to wood shop? LOL

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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therealSteveN

7013 posts in 1550 days


#11 posted 10-08-2020 08:08 AM

I too, was scared of the unknown some 35 years ago when we first were going to become LP users. After having been a steady user since. I now wonder why I was concerned.

BUY a tank. If you own a tank you are not stuck HAVING to buy from one place, so the prices Fred talked about will vary up to 3 bux a gallon, yes at the exact same time. Supposedly there is regulation, I cannot prove it, it seems to be a whatever the market will bear, but then some guy has top grade fuel and is selling for peanuts, when most of the competition is selling like it’s in short supply. I would also suggest a 1000 gallon tank, It doesn’t go bad.

Treat your tank well. If you mount above ground do it on a minimum 6” thick concrete pad, with at least a foot of crusher fill underneath. It doesn’t so well to buy, and have the weight of a full tank cause you to go off the pad, and lose $$$$$. If you bury, check around and get the best excavator who has a lot of experience putting in tanks, DO NOT let a gas company do it, they are hacks that just sell gas, and your tank is liable to float out of the ground with a heavy rain.

ALWAYS steer your purchase toward July, gas is historically much lower then, you can map this if the locals allow you to see pricing. This year I bought at 58 cents a gallon, tax, and delivery included. I had to buy in January once, and Yikes!!!!!! OUCH.

I was initially worried about some ticking time bomb near my house. Seriously, when is the last time you heard of a LP tank going boom. In our first home we had natural gas, and we used to smell gas stink all the time. With LP I have never smelled gas. It likes it inside the tank, and pipe.

I wouldn’t be comfortable though with Pex, it has too much crush possibility. Possibly those saying PEX are thinking the Stainless Steel jacketed line used for direct burial is PEX because it has a plasticy yellow jacket. Ultimately you should only have about 15 to 30 feet of line from the tank, to the heat source. If your home is on something else for heat, just put the tank at the shop. I have a 1000 gallon tank buried at the house, and a 500 on a pad at the shop, seems to work pretty well.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6746 posts in 3469 days


#12 posted 10-08-2020 10:23 AM


Fred, my shop is also going to be 960 sq feet. but with 8 foot ceilings. How many BTU is your furnace?

- moke

I have a 45K BTU furnace, and it’s plenty for me.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2225 posts in 3769 days


#13 posted 10-08-2020 01:10 PM

If you smell gas, be it natural gas or LP, YOU HAVE A LEAK!!! There is no reason to smell gas, ever. With either type, a combination gas/CO detector is a must, even in the shop. If you smell gas, do not turn on a light switch. You can’t see the gas. The internal arc can cause an explosion. Get out of the building and call with your cell phone. Gas utilities use yellow plastic gas lines with a tracer wire for locating later. It must come above ground through a metal adapter for protection. You will also need a gas valve outside the building before the line enters the building for emergency shut off.

View drsurfrat's profile

drsurfrat

398 posts in 162 days


#14 posted 10-08-2020 01:34 PM

Another thing to consider is that propane burns hotter than natural gas by alot (~2.5x). Nozzles are different sizes, etc.

https://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/gross-net-heating-values-d_420.html

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

4222 posts in 3324 days


#15 posted 10-08-2020 01:36 PM

For the cost of LP or propane you can get a good, professionally installed mini split that provides BOTH heat and A/C. There are numerous different sizes so you can spec one out that will properly maintain your shop temps and humidity.

For my money, it is a MUCH better solution to your question. A side benefit – no fire around saw dust and wood.

BTW – I live in the Quad Cities – I’m guessing you live in Cedar Rapids?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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