Comparing Heating Costs

How The Different Heating Systems Stack Up Against Each Other

As you know, there are a number of ways to heat your home. All too oftenhomeowners assume they know which heating system is the cheapest to operatewithout doing any comparisons. Congratulations!! By reading this informationyou are doing more than the average homeowner. Just by asking questions,requesting cost comparisons, doing research, and evaluating your options,you will become an educated homeowner.

Obviously, there are a number system and structure issues that influenceyour heating costs. In order to compare the different heating systemsavailable, it’s important to look into the following three mainareas.

Factors That Affect Your Heating Costs
TheHeating Load -This is determined by the thermostat set point inside (heat) andthe outside temperature (cold). Once the temperature differencefrom inside to outside is determined, a calculation is made toestimate the amount of (heat) lost through walls, windows, doors,floor, and ceiling areas. Heating degree days are used throughoutthe winter (cold) to estimate the heating cost.
Heating System Efficiency -With the various heating systems available, there is a broad rangeof heating equipment efficiencies (60 – 400%).
Cost of Energy -Determine what your charge for energy will be per unit: electricity,natural gas or propane.

With these factors in mind, lets look at some cost comparisons of themore popular heating systems on the market, based on the following assumptions:

  • Ranch Style House = 1,200 square feet
  • Heat Loss = 40,700 Btuh

- Main floor = 22,500
- Basement = 18,200

  • Insulation levels

- Side Walls = R-21
- Basement Walls = R-13
- Ceiling = R-49

  • Windows and Doors occupy less than 15% of total wall area.
  • Heating Degree Days = 6500 (approximate average for Nebraska)
  • Energy Charges

- Electricity  =  $0.07 / kWh
- Natural Gas  =  $1.00 / Therm
- Propane  =  $1.40 / Gallon

  • The formula used for this calculation is:

Annual Use = Heat Loss (BTUH) x Degree Days x 17
Delta T x SPF x BTU’s per unit of fuel

You owe it to yourself to make an educated decision, because you do haveoptions and ultimately the decision you make is the one you will have to livewith for years to come.