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alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to mityfowl

Re: Check my math - Propane vs. NG cost comparison for BBQ

said by mityfowl:

That gas line for the range will run you a pretty penny.

Why? Because they need a new bigger line from the meter?
At least my meter is in the basement under the kitchen, about 15 feet from under the range.


cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27
reply to alkizmo
May I?

Perhaps stay with propane. It has double the BTU than NG which means you'll use more NG to heat/cook than Pp.

What about inflation of gas prices, or pricing of tank exchange services (like BlueRhino...which is less for me than buying a tank, taking it to filling place which charges more to fill than swapping)? You'll need to get a new grill (not all propane grills are swappable or available for NG...and those that are NG are usually more $.. E-330 Weber NG is $20 more than the PP version... and line/prices scale up).

Now, you might consider a home (external 75-250gallon) propane tank versus portable with a hookup for outside grill. That way you can get filled once a year, heck even have kitchen range and H/W heater off it. Again, that option if Pp gas is cheaper. But watch out, if you rent the tank, you will pay the filler's price. If you buy a tank, you can shop around for best price for filler to visit. And I think summer Pp prices are less than winter...

Unless you are a pro-chef that caters outside, or have lots of cookouts, you'll have to weigh (pun) the cost of the fuel, the cost of equipment (change for NG over Pp), and value (BTU, inflation of fuel prices...)

Good luck! I was going to do NG for my house (since everything else in it is) but then, I use only 2 tanks/annually, 3 if parties... YMMV...
--
Splat


macsierra8
Baby Newfoundland
Premium
join:2003-11-30
Minden, NV
reply to fifty nine
said by fifty nine:

said by macsierra8:

[
It's kinda out of our hands with the advent of OPD valves. They are engineered to close the fill valve at 80% liquid by use of a float arm.

With tank exchange it has nothing to do with OPD. Ferrellgas (blue rhino) and others are putting 15lb in the tank now and charging the same price. They said flat out that it is because of pricing pressure.

I was referring to the 80% rule. Agreed, weight is much more accurate and 15 lbs is 3.19 gallons liquid. Wow, at $20 that's over 6 dollars a gallon..
--
Hey There, Voter! Do you remember that on Inauguration Day (Jan 20th) 2009, the national average for a gallon of gasoline was about $1.78? How's that "Hope & Change" working out for you? Anyone But Obama Nov. 2012.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
said by macsierra8:

said by fifty nine:

said by macsierra8:

[
It's kinda out of our hands with the advent of OPD valves. They are engineered to close the fill valve at 80% liquid by use of a float arm.

With tank exchange it has nothing to do with OPD. Ferrellgas (blue rhino) and others are putting 15lb in the tank now and charging the same price. They said flat out that it is because of pricing pressure.

I was referring to the 80% rule. Agreed, weight is much more accurate and 15 lbs is 3.19 gallons liquid. Wow, at $20 that's over 6 dollars a gallon..

A 20 lb tank holds 20 lbs at 80% full. Forget the exchange ripoffs and go to a propane company to have your tank refilled. I don't remember the price offhand for the smaller cylinders but a month or so ago I had a 100 lb tank refilled and it was $74. Nice thing about the 100 lb tanks is they aren't required to have an OPD valve.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to alkizmo
I own two propane tanks (one purchased at Lowe's and the other purchased at Home Depot and both were purchased empty) and I have them filled at BJ's (which is a members only warehouse club) and I get member pricing on propane. It costs $13.49 to fill an empty 20 lb tank and they charge per gallon. Much cheaper than using an exchange service that only fills them to 15 lbs instead of the 17 1/2 lbs that they are designed to hold and they don't give you credit for fuel left in the tank. I think the business model used by propane exchanges is kind of deceptive myself. As for the NG, I don't have a choice as I don't have a gas line coming into the rental house I live in and I am not going to spend that kind of money upgrading a property I don't own to natural gas. At Grandma's house in Maine, NG is not even available (although I wish it was because it is much cheaper than heating oil).


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to fifty nine
Click for full size
said by fifty nine:

With tank exchange it has nothing to do with OPD. Ferrellgas (blue rhino) and others are putting 15lb in the tank now and charging the same price. They said flat out that it is because of pricing pressure.

Correct I have a customer statement from Americagas who was sued for shorting the weight. Note that the tanks were being only filled to 17 lbs to start with for safety reasons and laws.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to macsierra8
said by macsierra8:

I was referring to the 80% rule. Agreed, weight is much more accurate and 15 lbs is 3.19 gallons liquid. Wow, at $20 that's over 6 dollars a gallon..

That's about 3X what I currently pay. Propane pricing is just ridiculous sometimes..

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Note that the tanks were being only filled to 17 lbs to start with for safety reasons and laws.

Can you find anything to back up their claim that 17 pounds is the correct fill for "safety reasons and laws"?


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

Nice thing about the 100 lb tanks is they aren't required to have an OPD valve.

haha except you have to transport 100lbs + tank weight
Plus what's the downside to OPD?

It's true though, a 20lbs tank is designed to actually hold 20lbs of propane while still being at the 80% capacity limit. OPD has no impact on that.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

1 edit
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

said by Jack_in_VA:

Note that the tanks were being only filled to 17 lbs to start with for safety reasons and laws.

Can you find anything to back up their claim that 17 pounds is the correct fill for "safety reasons and laws"?

The statement from Amerigas approved by the judge detailing the standard practice since around 2000 that 17 gal was the safe fill. See image I posted earlier. I'm sure if you need more info you can Google it.

I have my tanks manually filled and he puts 17 pounds (~4 gal) in them for $20 ($5/gal). Propane is expensive here. It might be different at another location that fills tanks.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by Jack_in_VA:

I have my tanks manually filled and he puts 17 pounds in them. It might be different at another location that fills tanks.

I had a 20# propane cylinder filled often some time ago (before I had built with a house propane grill hookup), and they didn't use a scale at all. The guy at the local filling station opened a bleed screw and when liquid propane started spitting out he stopped filling it. I have no idea how much propane the tank actually had in it.

Thankfully, nothing bad came from it.. but I'm guessing that wasn't the right way to fill it..


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to cableties
said by cableties:

Perhaps stay with propane. It has double the BTU than NG which means you'll use more NG to heat/cook than Pp.

By the same logic, kerosene, gasoline, diesel, or fuel oil would all be better choices because all have higher energy content per gallon then propane.

If you are paying the same amount per unit of measure between the two, then your argument would make some sense. But since you're paying for different amounts for different units of measure between the two, BTU content is fairly irrelevant. And it's not like cooking time gets adjusted whether you're using natural gas or propane.

The final $/BTU difference would be the only thing that matters and the OP has essentially already done that with his original calculations (even though his conversion rates are slightly off).


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by cdru:

The final $/BTU difference would be the only thing that matters and the OP has essentially already done that with his original calculations (even though his conversion rates are slightly off).

Correct.
I corrected the original post with more accurate numbers in terms of BTU per propane tank so the subject doesn`t come up anymore.
The difference is still substantial at 12$ more for propane per refill.

wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to LazMan
said by LazMan:

said by wth:

As for refilling a propane tank, I get mine refilled for $14.88 AND that's for 20 lbs of propane. You may want to check with your refiller or exchanger as some places are only putting in 16-18 lbs in the tank to increase profits.

That's the law, actually... Not allowed to fill past 80% by volume, as to allow expansion and vaporization room... 18# would actually be overfilled on a 20# cylinder in most circumstances.

I just assumed that even with the current specs for 20# tanks (the ones with a float valve in them) would still allow a legal 20lb fill.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to alkizmo
Click for full size
Click for full size
Click for full size
I just expanded my deck to over double what it was and had another grill quick disconnect box added (inside the deck space). That way, I can plug in my portable generator and gas grill and use both at the same time. It's also easier as I can simply use the shutoff in the grill box inside the deck rather than having to walk around the deck to shut it on and off for use. Plus there's a shutoff right on the regulator to shut off propane to the entire deck.

Very nice convenience!


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
Why didn't you use a Brass or Stainless coupling? You already have rust (or what appears to be rust). If it rusts on the inside than some can break off and contaminate equipment downstream like a generater. Personally if it were me I would change it out. It is a good installation and very handy.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by Jack_in_VA:

Why didn't you use a Brass or Stainless coupling? You already have rust (or what appears to be rust). If it rusts on the inside than some can break off and contaminate equipment downstream like a generater. Personally if it were me I would change it out. It is a good installation and very handy.

Thanks. The local propane company did the work and it was inspected by the AHJ. I don't think code requires stainless or brass, just black iron, but I'm not sure. Guess they could have used those materials, but didn't. So far, I've had no problems.

It is a great convenience to have propane always ready for grilling and generator use... and the ability to do both at the same time will be awesome if I want to cook but don't want to heat up the house and still provide power while cooking.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

3 edits
reply to Jack_in_VA
As a sidenote, I literally just got off the phone pricing propane from the three companies that supply propane for a customer owned 500 gallon propane tank in my delivery area, and here's the breakdown:

Amerigas: $2.299/gal as a first fill-up price only... then who knows...

Osterman Propane: $1.999/gal

Northeast Propane: $1.619/gal (including discount of 10 cents per gallon for payment within 10 days)

$1.61 is the lowest I've ever paid for propane... like I said, propane pricing in unreal at times... both to the upside and the downside. Northeast's price comes out to ~53,737btu/$

Needless to say, I'm expecting a top off from Northeast soon.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to wth
said by wth:

said by LazMan:

said by wth:

As for refilling a propane tank, I get mine refilled for $14.88 AND that's for 20 lbs of propane. You may want to check with your refiller or exchanger as some places are only putting in 16-18 lbs in the tank to increase profits.

That's the law, actually... Not allowed to fill past 80% by volume, as to allow expansion and vaporization room... 18# would actually be overfilled on a 20# cylinder in most circumstances.

I just assumed that even with the current specs for 20# tanks (the ones with a float valve in them) would still allow a legal 20lb fill.

They do or they should although OPD valves can stick and are not a reliable way to fill a tank to capacity.

"By the way, if your tank has an OPD or Overfill Protection Device, do not let your propane supplier convince you that the tank need not be weighed simply because it is full when the valve closes. This isn't necessarily true! These valves are notoriously unrepeatable and you will have no idea how much propane is actually in the tank. While the tank is full in that no more propane can be placed into it, it doesn't mean that you have received the maximum amount of propane that the tank was designed to hold (i.e. 42% of WC). Make them weigh the tank before AND after the fill."

As noted in the above quote, the correct way to calculate tank capacity is based on the WC number stamped on the tank. That number is how much water the tank holds in pounds.

"To fill the tank properly, the dealer must calculate the maximum safe fill from the Water Content (WC) value stamped on the tank. The maximum amount of propane that can be placed in the tank is 42% of the WC value. This ensures adequate room for the propane in the tank to expand safely. The empty (tare) weight of the tank is also stamped on the the collar and allows the dealer to calculate a full or gross tank weight."

As an example, I have a 20 lb cylinder that has a tare of 17.0 and a WC of 47.6. Multiplying the WC of 47.6 by 42% gives me a propane capacity of 19.992 lbs. Adding the tare of 17 shows that my tank should weigh 36.992 lbs when filled to safe capacity.

Above quotes taken from this webpage.

Alternately, the propane company uses a propane cylinder filling chart as shown below.






49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

Can you find anything to back up their claim that 17 pounds is the correct fill for "safety reasons and laws"?

It's purely economic as NFPA 58 allows a 20 pound cylinder to be filled with 20 pounds of propane.

Down here if I take my tank to an AmeriGas filling location and am serviced by a guy who has a clue, he will fill the cylinder with 20 pounds of propane, if he understands to add 4 or 5 pounds to the total weight needed to compensate for the weight of the filling valve. Conversely if I exchange my cylinder at an AmeriGas exchange location I will get a tank back with 15 pounds of propane in it.

With exchange you are getting easy propane based on a per tank price and depending on local propane prices that can be quite a rip…

Now propane exchanges do provide a useful service, they are a great place to dump out of date non-ODP tanks in exchange for in-date OPD equipped partially filled tanks.

Wayne
--
Madness takes its toll, please have exact change ready…


49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3

1 edit
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

They do or they should although OPD valves can stick and are not a reliable way to fill a tank to capacity.

OPD’s have two common problems, the dangerous one is if the valve has been used repeatability as a re-fill shutoff it may begin bleeding allowing an un-weighted tank to be capped out with the operator shutting the fill down upon noticing (hearing) the pump going into bypass, and if not resolved this sends the customer on his way with a 100% filled tank, which if you will pardon the pun is not too cool as once that liquid warms up the over pressure valve begins venting.

The other problem with OPD’s is shutting down a fill before the tank is to capacity leaving the owner with two decisions, use the less than full refill and return the tank for another one or just put up with a pound or so loss.

Wayne
--
Madness takes its toll, please have exact change ready…


49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

If it rusts on the inside than some can break off and contaminate equipment downstream like a generater.

It's not going to rust in the inside as propane (the atmosphere within the pipe) is not an oxidizer.

Wayne
--
Madness takes its toll, please have exact change ready…


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

2 edits
said by 49528867:

said by Jack_in_VA:

If it rusts on the inside than some can break off and contaminate equipment downstream like a generater.

It's not going to rust in the inside as propane (the atmosphere within the pipe) is not an oxidizer.

Wayne

The gas co installer could have installed something like this and eliminated the unsightly rust problem.

»ep.yimg.com/ca/I/fittingsandadap···44426359


macsierra8
Baby Newfoundland
Premium
join:2003-11-30
Minden, NV
reply to 49528867
said by 49528867:

Now propane exchanges do provide a useful service, they are a great place to dump out of date non-ODP tanks in exchange for in-date OPD equipped partially filled tanks.

Wayne

Thanks.. You have me thinking now!
--
Hey There, Voter! Do you remember that on Inauguration Day (Jan 20th) 2009, the national average for a gallon of gasoline was about $1.78? How's that "Hope & Change" working out for you? Anyone But Obama Nov. 2012.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to alkizmo
Here's a great link that lists the propane dealers in a given area depending on services needed:

»usepropane.com/fpr.aspx

It's a great tool to help with price comparisons for propane (and help find the widest variety of dealers possible to help keep prices in check).


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to cableties
said by cableties:

What about inflation of gas prices, or pricing of tank exchange services (like BlueRhino...which is less for me than buying a tank, taking it to filling place which charges more to fill than swapping)?

I purchased my propane tanks empty (one in 2009 at Lowe's and one in 2012 at Home Depot, both were $29.99)

The propane exchange places around here (such as Big Y, Home Depot, etc in Springfield, MA) get about $19 for an exchange or $49 for a filled tank without an exchange. And those places only fill it to 15 lbs instead of the full 17 lbs that the tank was designed to handle.

I can get my tank filled at BJ's (members only warehouse) for $13.49 to fill a 20 lb tank to it's full capacity of 17 lbs And BJ's uses a meter so you only pay for the amount of propane that is in your tank. So if you top off a half empty tank, you only pay for the the amount of propane that you purchase. With the exchange programs, you don't get credit for propane that is left in the tank.

The rule of thumb when it comes to running out of propane is you run out of propane in the middle of a big neighborhood get-together.


mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to alkizmo
Price aside.

Wouldn't you love the convenience of never having to swap tanks or going to the propane store for a refill (usually on the hottest, coldest or wettest day of the year)?

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to IowaCowboy
said by IowaCowboy:

I purchased my propane tanks empty (one in 2009 at Lowe's and one in 2012 at Home Depot, both were $29.99)

The propane exchange places around here (such as Big Y, Home Depot, etc in Springfield, MA) get about $19 for an exchange or $49 for a filled tank without an exchange. And those places only fill it to 15 lbs instead of the full 17 lbs that the tank was designed to handle.

I can get my tank filled at BJ's (members only warehouse) for $13.49 to fill a 20 lb tank to it's full capacity of 17 lbs

Fulll capacity IS NOT 17 pounds. Since this is a "Check My Math" thread, do a little of math of your own. You have your own propane tanks. Look on the collar of the tank and find the tare W.C. for the tank. Then start calculating. You will find that no matter how you calculate it, 17 pounds is no where near 80% full.