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Is propane friendly??? Options
#1 Posted : Monday, August 04, 2003 11:34:49 AM
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Propane as with any other energy source has gone up in price the last few years.Propane is a fairly clean burning fuel.The viability of propane for your energy needs depends on several factors,is there a dealer in the area?Hopefully more than one,for the competition factor(price per gallon).Are you going to heat home and water as well as cook and dry clothes with it?Are you going to use energy efficient appliances,furnace?The best thing to do is call a couple dealers and ask them to come out and evaluate your site,most offer this as a free service.If they are a reputable dealer they will be glad to work you up an estimate for the work.I would do my own shopping around for appliances and furnace,the propane companies usually have a pretty hefty markup on what they sell.
#2 Posted : Monday, August 04, 2003 1:40:15 PM
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Propane is a fossil fuel. If you intend to use it as you would natural gas, it would work. However, if you wish to use it to run a generator, then it is no where as "green" as wood. You did not say how much land you have. If you have a "wood lot" you should be able to cut one cord of wood per acre of land forever, provided you manage the wood lot properly. If you use the wood to produce alcohol, you will just be recycling carbon. More information would be helpful. Also, look up wood gas production in Mother''s index. You can drive your car on wood gas. Also, welcome and thanks for the good question.
#3 Posted : Monday, August 04, 2003 10:28:39 PM
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DanR i think propane to run a generator would be "green" in that it is clean burning isn''t it?
#4 Posted : Tuesday, August 05, 2003 12:22:51 AM
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If you have an older, carburated vehicle, you could convert it to propane and fill your vehicle fuel tank off your home propane tank, thus (illegally) avoiding road-use taxes.

Also, I would suggest you ask the propane dealers about purchasing your propane tank, as opposed to a freebie, as (I''ve heard) many dealers won''t fill another dealer''s tank.

A propane-powered generator will cost plenty, and the cost is commensurate with the size of the unit...but none are inexpensive or maintenance-free.

I would go back to the electric company and revisit the situation. They are reluctant to quote you a price because they don''t know how much electricity you are going to use. For example: If you told them you were going to connect a 100-horse air compressor and run it 24/7, they would probably bring in power for free.

To get a hard number from them, I suspect you''ll have to agree to a minimum amount of useage. Appliances are pretty-well understood when it comes to energy consumption...if you tell them what appliances you will be using and your family size, they can accurately predict your needs.

You may also want to investigate plowing-in your own underground wires from their pole to your house. And you may have some negotiating leverage if the power company needs an easement across your land to service another parcel...just a thought.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!
#5 Posted : Tuesday, August 05, 2003 2:24:07 PM
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It is still a fossil fuel. Cleaner than gasoline, but not as clean as wood. Better still, if ashabean can find it, would be methane. Chicken dropping are best and when run through a digestor also give high quality organic fertilizer. And again, methane will run a car''s engine. The big questions here are how big is the wood lot and are there chicken farms near by? Many different solutions to their problems, but we need more info. Still, a very good question.
#6 Posted : Wednesday, August 06, 2003 1:30:37 AM
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Staying off "the grid" because you''ll have to remove some trees, IMHO, is borderline insanity. Having said that, heres what you''re up against.

The electric company generally charges roughly $3/foot to run service. Around here, they strongly encourage underground service, and greatly discourage overhead service. They will need a swath 10 feet wide to run service.

Should you decide that a 10 foot wide swath through those precious trees is unacceptable......dig into your wallet......deep. A decent generator not only has an expensive initial purchase price....they are costly to operate.
Solar power has a long ways to go before it is even close to being competitive to "the grid". A modest system will run you $10000+. No monthly electric bills, but huge start up costs....as well as some maintenance costs.

Propane is a viable alternative for some (but not all) of your household needs. It will work fine for heating. Some use it for lighting, but many areas ban its use for lighting purposes. They make refrigerators that run on propane (personally, I think they are overpriced and undersized), stoves, hot water heaters, etc.
You can even power a generator with propane.

Be a tree hugger if you choose to......but realize the economics in play as the result of your choice.
#7 Posted : Wednesday, August 06, 2003 2:08:08 AM
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Heres a option, Tell the electric company that your running all electric home. Then once the service is installed put in propane. Secondly, you can get a 15kw generator that runs on diesel, gasoline and propane for around $4900.00 from northern tool. But you still won''t save much when you factor in the cost of the fuel. You would have to buy a 1000 gallon propane tank to bury underground to make it worth your while to run propane generator.
Cutting trees down for a electric line isn''t as bad as you think. I would do it in a heart beat with a little planning because i would be able to grow a garden in that space, as well as plant fruit trees that don''t grow tall and berrie bushes.
Think of it as a usable space for produce.
#8 Posted : Wednesday, August 06, 2003 8:14:59 PM
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It''s always recommended to put in as much propane/natural gas appliances as possible to offset the price of a solar electric system. Propane is refined natural gas, it burns clean but there''s a lot of embodied energy used to get it to your home. I would be very weary in building anything under powerlines. With the powerline comes an easement, typically 10'' on each side of the line. If the power company needed to access this 20'' line between trees (for whatever reason), they would be allowed to bulldoze anything in that path.
#9 Posted : Thursday, August 07, 2003 12:51:44 AM
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I believe that if you bury your electric cable up to the house from the road, that your easment issue is different. They need 10 feet on each side of the line due to trees falling.
#10 Posted : Thursday, August 07, 2003 1:37:14 PM
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Keep in mind that all these thing will differ from location to location. When I lived SOUTH of LR they would bury the cable from the road to the house but would charge me. HERE NORTH of LR they will bury it for no charge BUT I had to dig the trence provide PVC, due to rocky soil, and fill it in when they had finished. Different companies. HERE in AR the way things work is that the companies get the rules written the way they want them take them to the Public Service Commission and get them approved. They are called Tarriffs(I think) and they THEN tell customers that the rules are state imposed and the rules are the rules.

Actually HERE I find that the co-ops are less flexible than the BIG POWER company. (I hate to say that cause I REALLY don''t like the BIG POWER COMPANY).

All this to say check with your local power company to see what the WILL do for free. I have heard that in some places they are under pressure to get rid of as many over head liines as possible so they may just do it all or do underground cheaper or maybe not at all.

I got underground because I wanted to protect myself from electrocution when I was hanging wire ham radio antennas.

As to propane being friendly...if you really have the desire to choke the crap out of the meter reader when she comes to your house, then CERTAINLY propane or LP might well keep you out of jail and at the homestead.

Good luck and please keep us posted.
#11 Posted : Tuesday, September 02, 2003 2:40:26 AM
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The "build the house before we hook-up" rule is used to prevent people saying they are going to build, then leaving the pole and service behind.
I ran into the same problem, until i told them that it was going to be used as "seasonal". They agreed to put up the pole (my purschase), then they would give me 150ft of the road. They charge me a "seasonal" rate, has been about $200 a year, then adjust to useage. I talked to one of the guys that put it in and he hooked up a breaker box and a plug-in as a side job. I ran my own underground "romax" farmer style to my place. Works fine so far. I joined the CO-OP so i''m a member and get the newsletters etc. In our CO-OP all electric houses have a seperate meter for heat that is 1/2 price.
With this in place the switch to solar/wind power will be easier as the wiring is in place already.
If you produce more then you use some CO-Op''s buy back the juice.
I would check again, to see what your choices are as they (power companies) tend to blow you off until they figure out your serious.
Propane sounds too limited for a primary power source and the big company still have you. ( You can''t make it at home)
#12 Posted : Tuesday, September 16, 2003 3:33:49 AM
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Just ran across an article in issue #64 " Home Power For $15 a Month". That would be July Aug. 1980. The jist of it was the guy hooked up a Sears alternator (4000) watt and used a old ford pinto engine for power (will need to up date this to whatever is at the junk yard cheap. Ran his house lites 12 volt, camper appliances,etc and used the engine to charge up a battery bank. The alternator was used to run a 220 volt pump, pump water into a tower. The water that was circulated for the engine cooling ran thru a coil of copper in the hot water tank to supplement the propane heater.He ran it every other day for an hour.
I knew i saw this someplace and most engines can be converted to propane. Hope this helps
#13 Posted : Tuesday, September 16, 2003 3:33:49 AM
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Please excuse me for the fact that I know nothing about this topic, so I am sorry how ignorant I am.

My husband and I are about to build a house , and are on a very tight budget. Eventually we plant o have the house powered by solar and wind, but whilst we save up the money to make it so, we need a power source.

We can't get a price from the electric company for hooking up to the grid, well not until the hose is complete.(We also don't want to hook up because we would have to chop lots of trees down from the house to the pole)

But we were wondering about propane.

Can anyone tell me if this is at all more green thann chopping trees?

could anyone advise on roughly how much it wold cost to set up a system, and how much work is involved?

Thank you so much in advance.


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