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Propane for baseboard (water) radiators?

new_explorer Member Posts: 11
True or false, propane is worse fuel for hydronic baseboard radiators than oil? Been told that water for radiators needs to heat to 180° & propane just doesn't produce enough BTUs/gal to do it efficiently, compared to oil. Contractor says this heating system is a natural fit with oil, while propane is for forced hot air. Gas boiler will work harder to produce the BTUs & shorten it's lifespan? I've got no experience with this, not HVAC-educated. Is this true?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,426
    No. A BTU is a BTU, and it doesn't matter whether it comes from oil, natural gas, LP, or whatever else is handy. A properly designed boiler will do the job just fine on whatever fuel it is intended to use.

    The contractor to whom you have been listening either doesn't know what he's talking about or is trying to sell something. Either way, perhaps finding another one...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,613
    There's nothing wrong with propane, it sounds like you talking to an oil guy.

    Propane can be more efficient than oil if you use a condensing boiler.

    The problem is in most areas propane is more expensive than oil.

    Oil is 140,000 btu/gallon. Propane is 91,000btu/gallon.

    so get a price on oil/gallon get a price on propane/gallon and multiply the propane price by it by 1.54 then compare.

    That will give you the equal cost of btus for each fuel.

    The you have to compare a gas boiler to an oil boiler. Oil usually wins