Propane 101: What is it and why you should care about the whole home energy option.
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When my mom and I started our home renovation business, Two Chicks and a Hammer, in Indianapolis, I wasn’t sure what we were jumping into. From navigating construction and filming timelines to learning about environmental building codes and obtaining my real estate license so we can sell homes, growing Two Chicks and a Hammer has been a massive learning process.
Because we mostly renovate homes in the city, one thing I didn’t know much about until recently is propane. Did you know more than 13 million homes in the U.S. run on propane? We completed a new build outside of Indy’s city limits in spring 2023 (watch the process on Season 8 of the Good Bones) and because the home is outside of the natural gas lines, we had the opportunity to use propane. Here are the top things I learned and why I think propane’s pretty great!
It can power a lot!
Take a look around your house right now. Think of all the appliances you use every day. Turns out, there are propane fueled appliances, like your furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, fireplace, and cooktop. And if you live in Indiana like me—where the fall chill starts to creep up in September—propane can even extend your outdoor living season with grills, firepits, and heaters.
It’s SUPER efficient!
When you go to select your energy source, you could choose to go all electric. But there are a lot of downsides to that decision. One thing I’ve found is that propane provides a warmer heat and is more efficient than electricity. For instance, a propane-powered clothes dryer dries clothes faster than electric. Or what about a fireplace? A high-efficiency propane-powered fireplace has up to six times the heating capacity of an electric fireplace.
Propane tankless water heaters heat water only when it’s needed in the home, which reduces your energy consumption and increases your home’s efficiency. And an added bonus: propane tankless water heaters have the lowest annual cost of ownership compared with electric water heaters, heat pump water heaters, or heating oil-fueled water heaters.
It’s good for the environment!
One trend I’m seeing is that more and more homeowners are considering how their design choices may impact the environment. In my time learning about propane, I discovered it’s an environmentally friendly option. Propane produces 52 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the U.S. grid.
It’s there when I need it!
If you haven’t faced a power outage in recent years, consider yourself lucky. It happens way more often than you think, and being prepared ahead of time is key. Propane can be your solution. It’s reliable and can be used even when the electric grid is down. You can go one step further and use a propane powered generator which can support important functions like refrigeration and internet services. Since propane is safely stored right on site at your home and doesn’t degrade over time, it’s always accessible regardless of the weather or other interruptions.
While it may have been one of my client’s needs that introduced me to working with propane, I’m glad I’ve had the chance to learn about it. I’ve found if you don’t educate yourself on what you’re doing, you might not make the wisest decision for your family. Be open to new ideas and learn as much as you can.