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Old 12-06-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
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Default Investigating propane vs. natural gas...

I just purchased a Blichmann floor burner, along with a natural gas conversion kit. I have a gas line outside where our patio will be (coming in spring 2013!), and figured that would be a convenient location for brewing outside in the summer. Out of curiosity, I looked into the cost of propane versus natural gas. Here's what I came up with:

Propane:
------------------
20lbs of propane / 4.11lbs/gal of propane = 4.87 gallons per tank
4.87 gal x 91,690BTU/gal = 446,180 BTUs per tank of LP
Cost to refill a tank..? $20?! (Let's say it's even $15 per tank refill, shall we?)
Cost per 100,000BTU: $3.36

Natural gas:
------------------
Per my local utility company, NG is $0.803 per therm
1 therm = 100,000BTU = $0.803
Cost of NG vs tank of propane: $3.58 vs $20 tank refill!

NG is approximately 1/4 the cost of propane. Holy jeebus! Propane is expensive! Look who's glad I got that conversion kit, now, huh..? THIS GUY!

In short, if you're thinking about using NG instead of propane, DO IT! You'll save in the long run. I should make that extra $15 I spent on the conversion kit back in about one tank of LP!



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Old 12-06-2012, 11:41 PM   #2
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Thanks. From reading here and there, I thought this was the case. But I never ran the numbers myself.



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Old 12-06-2012, 11:41 PM   #3
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That's quite the savings. I'm in the process of switching over (having my new stand built with NG burners). Initial setup is expensive though. I went with gas tubing which costs $80 + QD + gas valve...... Well worth not having to stop at the orange box store after every 2.5 brews.

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:45 AM   #4
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Based on your numbers, the cost difference will be made up quickly for the QD, hose, orifice, etc.

I never ran the numbers myself (but knew it was way cheaper), but the convenience factor of always having gas is worth a lot.

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Old 12-07-2012, 02:09 PM   #5
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Nice, I made the switch about a year and a half ago, primarily for convenience. I knew I'd be saving money in the long run but this gives me a better idea of how much.

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Old 12-07-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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After brewing with propane for several years, I made the switch to NG without even checking if there were savings involved. Having a plug and play brewery is fantastic. No more tank fills. No more frozen tanks. Just hook up the hose and light the fires.

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Old 12-07-2012, 03:34 PM   #7
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I switched my Blichmann burners to Natural Gas a while ago, and the convenience is amazing

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:41 PM   #8
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I know some guys brew 2-3 times per month or more, so, using NG instead of propane should really add up over time. I'm also looking forward to never worrying about pressure dropping over the life of the LP tank, running out of gas, or having to lug the tank out to brew.

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:53 PM   #9
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The only convenience of the propane tank is it gives you options on where to brew. I like to brew on the deck in summer, but often in the garage in winter or if it looks like rain. How much play is there in the NG line to the burner.

If I have a propane burner, I need a conversion kit to go to NG. Are they pretty much standard?

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:51 PM   #10
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as someone who sells propane, the price of natural gas is great. its cheaper to heat my house on natural gas than it is for me to buy propane at wholesale cost.

i have customers who come in mad at the gas company for one reason or another. they say they are switching to propane to stick it to the gas company. as much as i would love the business i tell them not to switch.



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