Eastern Panhandle homeowners evaluate many considerations when upgrading their home comfort systems and appliances. What will provide the best heating and hot water? Which products can save me time and lower my energy bills? How can I reduce my home’s carbon footprint?
At Roach Energy, we speak to people weighing whether they should consider electric or propane appliances. Here are some things you should know if you’re choosing between these two energy sources.
Electric furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers and other appliances may not produce greenhouse gas emissions from your home, but the power stations generating that electricity do. West Virginia’s grid’s carbon intensity (how much carbon dioxide is generated to produce a given amount of energy) is nearly 3.5 times higher than propane’s carbon intensity. Our grid is heavily reliant on coal for power generation.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has found that roughly 29% of the average home’s energy use comes from heating. It makes sense to have the most efficient heating option.
Propane furnaces are exceptionally efficient, with Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings between 90% and 98%. They consistently generate heated air of 120 degrees in icy winter months.
Electric heat pumps often top out below the human body temperature (98.6 degrees). These systems can struggle to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures in sustained freezing weather.
Hot water generation comprises roughly 20% of U.S. home energy usage, per the DOE. Propane storage tank water heaters can warm up water about twice as fast as electric models. Meanwhile, propane-powered tankless water heaters are even more efficient! They can supply virtually unlimited hot water on demand while using even less fuel.
In a survey of 100 professional chefs, 96% said they preferred cooking with gas over electricity. Gas-fired ranges and ovens generate quick, robust heat and offer precise temperature control. Unlike electric stoves, they will still work in a blackout.
You might have heard some concerns recently about “gas stoves” and indoor air quality. Some recent studies have drawn a link between cooking with gas and respiratory issues, but there has been a lot of fearmongering that isn’t borne out by facts.
For example, most of these studies involve natural gas stoves, and the health concerns they raise aren’t relevant to propane stoves. Many point to the issue of methane leaks, but propane contains no methane.
Another concern is particulate matter, the microscopic liquids and solids humans can inhale. All cooking produces particulate matter, including cooking with electric stoves. That’s why it’s so important to ventilate your cooking space with a stove hood or an open window. This will minimize the presence of particulate matter and other emissions.
And the link between gas cooking and respiratory health is far from uniform. A Lancet Respiratory Medicine abstract found “no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.”
Finally, it’s worth considering the safety concerns of electric stoves, too. The National Fire Protection Association found that electric ranges cause household fires at a rate 2.6 times greater than gas ranges; civilian injuries at a rate 4.8 times higher; and civilian deaths at a rate 3.4 times higher.
Propane can power other appliances with incredible efficiency. Propane clothes dryers typically have shorter drying times than electric products (and also leave fewer wrinkles and less static electricity).
Plus, there are lifestyle-enhancing appliances that you can propane can power but not electricity. These include fire pits, standby generators and gas fireplaces.
Talk to the friendly team at Roach Energy to explore your propane equipment options.
Sources: The Propane Education & Research Council, Choose Energy (“Electricity Generation by State”)