Converting from pellets to propane,,, need advice, please.

I have used a Quadrafire for many years,,,,with help from here, to heat my 15 x 24 workshop (10ft ceiling) it has done a wonderful job, it’s over 30 yrs old, had it rebuilt some years back for about $800. I use two tons (50bags) of pellets per year. Those bags are getting heavy,,,, Years ago I had a ventless propane heater that heated my whole house at the time,,(an A-Framer). Don’t remember how much propane I used per year.
So now I’m thinking of selling my Quadrafire (wonder how much I can get for it?) and getting a ventless propane. I can figure roughly how many BTU’s i get from a bag of pellets, and how many from a 100# cylinder of propane.....The figures show that a 100# cylinder will just about equal the output of. my 50 bags of pellets. My problem is that some sites show a 100# cylinder will burn about 80 hours,,,,,well, that doesn’t match up.
right now I keep the shop at 55, unless I will be working in it. And like I said 50 bags lasts all winter. So will a 100# cylinder do the job.??
Any help and advice is appreciated.
 

ManitobaSky

Member
Nov 20, 2013
50
Manitoba, Canada
Depending on the btu of the unit you are installing 80 hours per cylinder seems about right if the unit is running continuously.
 
Well, that is what confuses me,,,would that be 80 hours at max heat? If a 100# cylinder has equivalent BTU”s to 50bags of pellets, that would be much more than 80 hours. I can’t calculate hours now because I have it connected to a thermostat,, and keep it at 55 all the time, except when I am out there,,,,,,and 50 bags lasts all winter,,,,,so I know it is running more than 80 hours..
 

ManitobaSky

Member
Nov 20, 2013
50
Manitoba, Canada
100 Pounds of propane is (100lbs x 21591 btu) 2,159,100 btu's. 50 bags of pellets is closer to(8600btu x 40lbs x 50 bags) 17,200,000 btu's, of course that would be if the stove was 100% efficient so the actual amount of heat you would get is based how efficient your stove is.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
538
Eastern Long Island NY
So now it looks like I would need about 6 refills of a 100# cylinder to get me thru the winter??
8+, for systems with the same fuel to heat conversion efficiency.
 
This is not looking so good now,,, it will be difficult for the propane dealer to get in to refill the cylinder 8 times in the winter, so that means a 500# cylinder.. I haven’t gotten prices on propane yet,,,,,,,need to do that for planning.
 

ManitobaSky

Member
Nov 20, 2013
50
Manitoba, Canada
Assuming your pellet stove at 70% efficiency 6 fills would be close to 50 bags. I would also point out you said you burn 2 ton of pellets that is 100 bags not 50. So if you are using 2 tons you would need double the propane.
 
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Ok, I think I have my math straight now... I use 100 bags of pellets for one winter. Total cost is $517 delivered....To get the same amount of heat I estimate 800 to 100 lbs. of propane, current price for propane in my area is $1.877. Even if I figure low,,, say 800# it is going to cost about $1,000. Almost twice as much as pellets.
It doesn‘t make sense to change, does it.? I mean I can get a neighbor kid to haul the bags for me if they get too heavy, and my pellet stove runs like a dream, no problems.
So I would appreciate if someone would double check my numbers, and give me some advice.
thank you.
 
$1.877 per gallon, So my figures were wrong again,,,,a 100# cylinder has about 23.46 gallons, so at $1..877 per gallon it comes out at about $44.50 per 100# cylinder,,,, so 1000 # would cost about $445. So now do I have it right,,,,geez.....I thought I knew math,,,whew.
 

ManitobaSky

Member
Nov 20, 2013
50
Manitoba, Canada
That looks correct. With the number of fills you are needing a 100 gallon tank or two may be a better fit for your needs.
 
Okay, talked to a local propane dealer today,,, They don’t seem able to estimate how much propane I will need to equal my 80-100 bags of pellets I use each year. I realize the amount of time a propane heater is on,, the outside temp, etc, etc,. Will all factor in......But I consistently use 80-100 bags of pellets,, I figure I will need about 800 gals of propane. They figured a max of 660 gals, actually two fills of a 330 gallons tank, which actual hold 200 and some gals. doesn’t seem right to me???? And if I get a 330 gal tank, I need a permit from my township for $100. Or they recommended a 100 # tank and refill it 5 or 6 times during the season. The first 330 gal tank with permit, etc, is $666.,,,,, the refill maybe $545. the 100 # cylinder is $145 first shot, and same each fill.

So looks like a min start up of over $600, and they can’t seem to tell me how much propane I might need, even when I insist I used 80-100 bags each season,
Looks like I pass on the propane.....Any ideas?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
538
Eastern Long Island NY
Okay, talked to a local propane dealer today,,, They don’t seem able to estimate how much propane I will need to equal my 80-100 bags of pellets I use each year. I realize the amount of time a propane heater is on,, the outside temp, etc, etc,. Will all factor in......But I consistently use 80-100 bags of pellets,, I figure I will need about 800 gals of propane. They figured a max of 660 gals, actually two fills of a 330 gallons tank, which actual hold 200 and some gals. doesn’t seem right to me???? And if I get a 330 gal tank, I need a permit from my township for $100. Or they recommended a 100 # tank and refill it 5 or 6 times during the season. The first 330 gal tank with permit, etc, is $666.,,,,, the refill maybe $545. the 100 # cylinder is $145 first shot, and same each fill.

So looks like a min start up of over $600, and they can’t seem to tell me how much propane I might need, even when I insist I used 80-100 bags each season,
Looks like I pass on the propane.....Any ideas?
I also note that pellets have a more consistent (predictable) price whereas propane fluctuates more. So your estimate is valid now but may be more and more off the mark later.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
538
Eastern Long Island NY

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thank you, I’ve seen that chart various places and it is a factor in making my decision. My only reason turning away from pellets is that those 40# bags are getting heavy, However for the cost difference, I’ve got a neighborhood kid that will come haul them for me, whenever I need. Otherwise no advantage to propane if it costs more,,,My pellet stove is on a thermostat, and runs fine,, I’ve had it for many years, had it rebuilt a few ago, and I can usually fix or replace anything that needs it,,,,
I just wanted to look into propane, and see what I would find.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
538
Eastern Long Island NY
thank you, I’ve seen that chart various places and it is a factor in making my decision. My only reason turning away from pellets is that those 40# bags are getting heavy, However for the cost difference, I’ve got a neighborhood kid that will come haul them for me, whenever I need. Otherwise no advantage to propane if it costs more,,,My pellet stove is on a thermostat, and runs fine,, I’ve had it for many years, had it rebuilt a few ago, and I can usually fix or replace anything that needs it,,,,
I just wanted to look into propane, and see what I would find.
Sounds like a plan - including a happy and able neighborhood kid!
 
Yes, It was an experiment to see if propane would be better, but I guess not...I enjoy the flame from the pellet stove, and I have it mastered, so sticking with it is the best choice.
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions and advice.
 

UpStateNY

Feeling the Heat
May 4, 2008
390
Catskill Mountains
I use to burn 160 quality pellet bags a year with over 300 gallons of fuel oil in a 23 year old boiler for domestic hot water and some heat for vacations.

I now have a high efficiency Navien combo propane hot water boiler for heat and domestic hot water. I only burn two bags of wood pellets last year and burned 740 gallons of propane at $1.50 per gallon.

This year I will be burning 560 gallons of propane with additional electric ductless mini-split heat pump for heating above 35F degrees outside. The electric bill increase I am guessing about $15 a month during fall/spring shoulder heating months.
I have my own 325 gallon propane tank. You can get your propane provider to give you two or three 125 gallon propane tanks that can sit next to your house. They will charge more for propane since they own the tanks.
 

bjr23

Member
Nov 2, 2009
124
Eastern WA
I use to burn 160 quality pellet bags a year with over 300 gallons of fuel oil in a 23 year old boiler for domestic hot water and some heat for vacations.

I now have a high efficiency Navien combo propane hot water boiler for heat and domestic hot water. I only burn two bags of wood pellets last year and burned 740 gallons of propane at $1.50 per gallon.

This year I will be burning 560 gallons of propane with additional electric ductless mini-split heat pump for heating above 35F degrees outside. The electric bill increase I am guessing about $15 a month during fall/spring shoulder heating months.
I have my own 325 gallon propane tank. You can get your propane provider to give you two or three 125 gallon propane tanks that can sit next to your house. They will charge more for propane since they own the tanks.
You Guys back east have the good life. Man, the local gas peddlers really take us to the cleaners with various taxes; inspection/handling fees and yeah they'll furnish tanks AT A PRICE. No one gives anything 'round here, YOU PAY. If you use their tanks you sign a lease that you have to use their gas and in these part you really have to shop as the prices really vary from vendor to vendor. I can remember maybe four or five years ago paying $4.50 a gallon because of shortages in the Midwest. Farmers had to dry their corn crops with propane and sucked up a lot. I've been really raising a fuss about having Natural gas lines run up our streets for house drops as there's a main just block and half from my neighborhood. I'll stop at that, 'cause once I get started I'm a real pain.
 
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