Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

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jgman
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Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

Looking to purchase my retirement house in the Delaware beach areas. Trying to decide between a house with propane vs gas heat.

House with Propane is in a slightly better location (closer to beach), and is a built by a more desirable builder (Schelll Brothers).

House with gas is less expensive in a slightly worse location with a so so builder (Ryan).

Thoughts on which way to go. How big of a factor is Propane...I've heard it diminishes resale values and is more expensive.

Thanks!
beardsicles
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by beardsicles »

Propane house, install heat pumps.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by JoeRetire »

jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:26 am Looking to purchase my retirement house in the Delaware beach areas. Trying to decide between a house with propane vs gas heat.

House with Propane is in a slightly better location (closer to beach), and is a built by a more desirable builder (Schelll Brothers).

House with gas is less expensive in a slightly worse location with a so so builder (Ryan).

Thoughts on which way to go. How big of a factor is Propane...I've heard it diminishes resale values and is more expensive.
We've had both propane and natural gas in our houses.
Propane is fine. Natural Gas is better. We currently have propane.

I doubt if this choice would be a big factor for me when choosing among houses.
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snackdog
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by snackdog »

Always go with the best builder. Change out propane furnace for heat pump and gas stove for induction. Install solar.
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galawdawg
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by galawdawg »

While propane can be more expensive than natural gas, it is more efficient so you use less propane to produce the same energy as a larger quantity of natural gas.

For the propane home, does it have a buried tank? Is the tank owned by the seller or leased? Unlike natural gas, you can choose different propane suppliers depending on pricing when you want/need a refill as long as you own the tank. If the tank is leased from a propane company, you'll have to purchase your propane from that company. So an owned tank is preferable for the best propane prices.

Another consideration is that with propane you can refill your tank during a period of the year when prices are lowest in your locality, which is likely late summer or early fall. Then you avoid the spike in prices during the heating season. With natural gas it is supplied on demand so you'll pay whatever the price is when you use it. While there are fixed price contracts available for natural gas, you won't lock in the lowest rate available in the late summer/early fall for the entire term of the contract, instead you'll pay something between the lowest and highest predicted rates for the coming year.

Hope that helps...
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by bradinsky »

Around here, the quality of Ryan Homes construction is suspect at best. They sell homes based on price & not much else.
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jgman
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

Thanks for the feedback everyone......I really prefer the better built house with propane despite being more expensive. Sounds like propane is fine and is not a deal breaker. Changing over to a heat pump makes great sense.

FYI the community tank is above ground.....not sure if its owned or leased.
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jgman
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

bradinsky wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:52 am Around here, the quality of Ryan Homes construction is suspect at best. They sell homes based on price & not much else.
That's what I was told also, although they are about 15 percent cheaper than my alternative.
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galawdawg
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by galawdawg »

jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:54 am Thanks for the feedback everyone......I really prefer the better built house with propane despite being more expensive. Sounds like propane is fine and is not a deal breaker. Changing over to a heat pump makes great sense.

FYI the community tank is above ground.....not sure if its owned or leased.
Ahhhh. A community propane system. Ignore the positives about propane pricing and tank ownership in my earlier post. They won't apply to a community system.

As far as a heat pump, look for a dual fuel system if the winters there routinely have temperatures below freezing. Then the system will kick over to propane heat when needed. And I'll disagree with the poster who recommended going with an induction cooktop. Nothing beats cooking with gas! :beer

jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:55 am
bradinsky wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:52 am Around here, the quality of Ryan Homes construction is suspect at best. They sell homes based on price & not much else.
That's what I was told also, although they are about 15 percent cheaper than my alternative.
There's a reason they are about fifteen percent (15%) cheaper!
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by Valuethinker »

jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:54 am Thanks for the feedback everyone......I really prefer the better built house with propane despite being more expensive. Sounds like propane is fine and is not a deal breaker. Changing over to a heat pump makes great sense.

FYI the community tank is above ground.....not sure if its owned or leased.
Propane is fine in this situation. A new home should be decently insulated.

But always buy the better built home (if you can afford it). Unless the location of the other one is superior (but it is not, in this case). You will (more than) recoup the higher cost at resale (in essence, you start with more equity invested and over time that will rise with inflation in cost of building homes, plus any land price inflation).

Induction hobs are great, and are part of "future proofing" the home for an eventual switch to heat pump.
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jgman
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

Valuethinker wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:27 am
jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:54 am Thanks for the feedback everyone......I really prefer the better built house with propane despite being more expensive. Sounds like propane is fine and is not a deal breaker. Changing over to a heat pump makes great sense.

FYI the community tank is above ground.....not sure if its owned or leased.
Propane is fine in this situation. A new home should be decently insulated.

But always buy the better built home (if you can afford it). Unless the location of the other one is superior (but it is not, in this case). You will (more than) recoup the higher cost at resale (in essence, you start with more equity invested and over time that will rise with inflation in cost of building homes, plus any land price inflation).

Induction hobs are great, and are part of "future proofing" the home for an eventual switch to heat pump.
The winters are relatively mild so chances are the propane heat won't be needed that often.

The more expensive house with the better builder will probably require me to hold a small mortgage instead of paying cash. Not as optimal but I suppose it makes sense for a top quality house.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by Swansea »

This is probably a long shot, but check to see if there are any plans (HOA or gov) to switch to natural gas.
A friend in NM may be facing a mandatory switch from propane to gas. The pipe line installation will be expensive if approved.
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jgman
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

Swansea wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:54 am This is probably a long shot, but check to see if there are any plans (HOA or gov) to switch to natural gas.
A friend in NM may be facing a mandatory switch from propane to gas. The pipe line installation will be expensive if approved.
That's a great question....I will be sure to ask.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jebmke »

A well sealed and insulated home should do fine with all electric on Delmarva peninsula. Our house is older but sealed and insulated. We have heat pump with electric resistance for recovery when very cold. The resistance heat rarely kicks in. In fact, our two stage compressor doesn't even go to high very often.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by notBobToo »

Swansea wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:54 am This is probably a long shot, but check to see if there are any plans (HOA or gov) to switch to natural gas.
A friend in NM may be facing a mandatory switch from propane to gas. The pipe line installation will be expensive if approved.
Natural gas is being pushed out from Fenwick Island west along 54 and into some (?) of the neighborhoods. (Not sure how much farther west of 20 they plan or need to go.) My neighborhood is made up of two separate associations, the larger of which has already voted to go natural gas. My smaller association is in the process of voting now. I voted "No" as I am happy with my all electric home. Still, my understanding, if the majority votes "Yes," the main line will be there and a future homeowner, if so desired, can run the line in and hookup ($$$). My neighborhood has some propane - individual buried tanks. Those with propane wanting to switch to gas will be responsible for having the tanks removed, and of course paying for the adapters to convert oven, fireplace, grill, etc. as well as a nominal fee (~ $500) for the initial hookup. I am pretty sure all homeowners have heat pumps, regardless of the source for heat and cooling (but I could be wrong).

An anecdotal story from a friend who lives in Ocean View with community propane. Last year, because of the price of propane, they drastically cut back the use of their fireplace and believe it or not, oven and cooktop. Apparently they now use an air fryer (Ninja dual basket) and combo air fryer (Breville) instead.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by Diluted Waters »

jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:26 am Looking to purchase my retirement house in the Delaware beach areas. Trying to decide between a house with propane vs gas heat.

House with Propane is in a slightly better location (closer to beach), and is a built by a more desirable builder (Schelll Brothers).

House with gas is less expensive in a slightly worse location with a so so builder (Ryan).

Thoughts on which way to go. How big of a factor is Propane...I've heard it diminishes resale values and is more expensive.

Thanks!
I had propane for 20 years and it was, at that time, about 5x the cost of gas for the same heating. I haven't compared pricing lately, but I expect it's still more expensive than gas. We had the opportunity to extend gas to the house and I'll never go back. I can't conform whether it's more efficient as another poster has said, but my research suggests to me it emits less CO2 for the heat production and it's much less expensive. It's also more convenient as one does not have to rely on a company to keep the tank full or risk running out. Cons are the prices has risen substantially recently and power plants have switch to gas from coal or oil, dramatically increasing demand.

If you choice was for the same house and the choice was to go with propane or gas, I'd say go with gas. However, the above notwithstanding, since your choices are between two different houses, I'd suggest not letting the fuel drive the purchase decision. I would get the better house and deal with the propane issue separately. Propane is inconvenient and expensive, but having a lesser house is probably a worse thing and some things can't be fixed no matter how hard you try. Energy for your house though is one thing you can fix in a variety of ways.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

galawdawg wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:18 am
As far as a heat pump, look for a dual fuel system if the winters there routinely have temperatures below freezing. Then the system will kick over to propane heat when needed. And I'll disagree with the poster who recommended going with an induction cooktop. Nothing beats cooking with gas! :beer
Old news re: cold climate heat pumps, they do work and work well; the issue is managing expectations and giving homeowners a good operating approach. They heat slow and steady, setbacks are not worth much. Look here for some good information:
https://neep.org/blog/neep-finalizes-ve ... cification

As to cooking with induction, not sure if the poster has ever used it? I have used gas for decades, recently switched to induction and marvel at the benefit. If you haven't ever used it I don't think you can offer comparisons.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by galawdawg »

TheGreyingDuke wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:19 am
galawdawg wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:18 am
As far as a heat pump, look for a dual fuel system if the winters there routinely have temperatures below freezing. Then the system will kick over to propane heat when needed. And I'll disagree with the poster who recommended going with an induction cooktop. Nothing beats cooking with gas! :beer
Old news re: cold climate heat pumps, they do work and work well; the issue is managing expectations and giving homeowners a good operating approach. They heat slow and steady, setbacks are not worth much. Look here for some good information:
https://neep.org/blog/neep-finalizes-ve ... cification

As to cooking with induction, not sure if the poster has ever used it? I have used gas for decades, recently switched to induction and marvel at the benefit. If you haven't ever used it I don't think you can offer comparisons.
Sure, heat pumps can work well in cold climates but when customer satisfaction relies on "managing expectations" that says there is an issue. For some who live in colder climates, they simply dislike the feel of "cooler than expected" air coming from their vents on a frigid day and prefer the rapid warm-up and feel of heating with natural gas or propane. Some even feel a chilled sensation when air movement in the home combines with the feel of "cooler" air coming out of the vents. Others prefer to sleep in colder temperatures but want that warm air when they rise in the morning. All-electric heat pumps do not do that well. Dual-fuel heat pumps are a good solution to combine a preference for warmer heat on frigid days with the energy efficiency of a heat pump.

As far as cooktops, I've used both induction and gas and my preference based upon my cooking style is for gas. While there has been significant growth in induction cooktops driven, in part, by younger cooks and their emphasis on going "green", gas is still the most common, and the most preferred, cooking method of professional chefs.

But as to both HVAC systems and cooktops, it is really up to the personal preference of the homeowner. Different strokes and all! :beer
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jgman
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

Lots of great points. I would love to have a gas range but will have to settle for electric if I go with the Propane house. Perhaps as the poster mentioned, they will push gas out my way (I am buying in Ocean View) and I can convert to gas. I'm going to check into it when I meet with the builder.
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CommitmentDevice
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by CommitmentDevice »

I've found cooking on an induction stove superior to gas. The negative health impacts of gas stoves are also an issue.
Big +1 to getting a heat pump. More comfort, cheaper operation, new tax incentives.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by bradinsky »

galawdawg wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:35 am
TheGreyingDuke wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:19 am
galawdawg wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:18 am
As far as a heat pump, look for a dual fuel system if the winters there routinely have temperatures below freezing. Then the system will kick over to propane heat when needed. And I'll disagree with the poster who recommended going with an induction cooktop. Nothing beats cooking with gas! :beer
Old news re: cold climate heat pumps, they do work and work well; the issue is managing expectations and giving homeowners a good operating approach. They heat slow and steady, setbacks are not worth much. Look here for some good information:
https://neep.org/blog/neep-finalizes-ve ... cification

As to cooking with induction, not sure if the poster has ever used it? I have used gas for decades, recently switched to induction and marvel at the benefit. If you haven't ever used it I don't think you can offer comparisons.
Sure, heat pumps can work well in cold climates but when customer satisfaction relies on "managing expectations" that says there is an issue. For some who live in colder climates, they simply dislike the feel of "cooler than expected" air coming from their vents on a frigid day and prefer the rapid warm-up and feel of heating with natural gas or propane. Some even feel a chilled sensation when air movement in the home combines with the feel of "cooler" air coming out of the vents. Others prefer to sleep in colder temperatures but want that warm air when they rise in the morning. All-electric heat pumps do not do that well. Dual-fuel heat pumps are a good solution to combine a preference for warmer heat on frigid days with the energy efficiency of a heat pump.

As far as cooktops, I've used both induction and gas and my preference based upon my cooking style is for gas. While there has been significant growth in induction cooktops driven, in part, by younger cooks and their emphasis on going "green", gas is still the most common, and the most preferred, cooking method of professional chefs.

But as to both HVAC systems and cooktops, it is really up to the personal preference of the homeowner. Different strokes and all! :beer
I think a dual fuel set up would be ideal if they can afford it. We have been in our current home for 9 1/2 years & we are 100% electric, but gas is available at the curb. We have inverter heat pumps which we had installed in 2015 & they do a good job. Prior to moving here, we were in homes with gas heat for 35 years & to be honest we really don’t miss gas.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by galawdawg »

jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:33 pm I would love to have a gas range but will have to settle for electric if I go with the Propane house.
Gas cooktops also come in LP models (liquid propane) and natural gas models can often be converted to LP with a simple swap of the burner orifices. If there is an LP line to the cooktop location you'd have no problem installing a gas cooktop if that is your preference.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by Atilla »

With natural gas you are at the mercy of the ability of the utility company to constantly provide it, or being willing/allowed to provide it to you.

Propane - plan ahead and you are officially off the grid when it comes to heat.

We live in increasingly crazy times...
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by HomeStretch »

galawdawg wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:34 pm
jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:33 pm I would love to have a gas range but will have to settle for electric if I go with the Propane house.
Gas cooktops also come in LP models (liquid propane) and natural gas models can often be converted to LP with a simple swap of the burner orifices. If there is an LP line to the cooktop location you'd have no problem installing a gas cooktop if that is your preference.
+1

My Wolf cooktop uses propane (along with one fireplace, pool heater and built-in outdoor grill).

If you think you might ever want propane for outdoor uses (such as a pool heater, generator, fireplace/fire pit or outdoor grill) have the lines trenched and stubs installed now as it’s cheapest and easiest to do so during construction.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by galawdawg »

Atilla wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:35 pm With natural gas you are at the mercy of the ability of the utility company to constantly provide it, or being willing/allowed to provide it to you.

Propane - plan ahead and you are officially off the grid when it comes to heat.
In most cases this is correct but in OP's situation the house with propane he is considering doesn't have an individual tank. Instead it is apparently served by community propane which is essentially a "mini-utility" operated by the town, an HOA or some other entity that has a large commercial propane tank they own and who then sells and supplies to each customer with an individual meter at each house.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by Valuethinker »

jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:33 pm Lots of great points. I would love to have a gas range but will have to settle for electric if I go with the Propane house. Perhaps as the poster mentioned, they will push gas out my way (I am buying in Ocean View) and I can convert to gas. I'm going to check into it when I meet with the builder.
Gas ranges create indoor air pollution. We are beginning to understand this is a worse health problem than we thought.

You mentioned having to take on a small mortgage. I still think that is better than buying a home from a builder with a bad reputation (confirmed by other posters here). The cost and hassle of having things needing fixing - visits to assess, scheduling workers, the inevitable cancellations and delays. And there will be problems out of warranty if the builder used cheap materials or took shortcuts.

I don't think the propane v natural gas thing has much in it. Not in modern well-insulated homes. You'll be fine with induction elements - people really like them. Your heat pump will provide heat down to quite low temperatures these days.

It's always location first because it is the one thing about a house that cannot be changed. But home quality is second. Usually "premium" means simply a fancier kitchen & other trim - that is readily obvious to a buyer but the fabric of the house is the same. But if it's genuinely a better built home - that's worth a lot in this world.

Way back before WW1 houses were built much larger to accommodate larger families, servants etc (from late Victorian times, not live-in servants, but certainly ones who came every day). In the 1920s & 30s, and post WW2, these houses often became rooming houses, old age homes, convalescent hospitals, hotels etc. (at least in England). Now here (London) they are owned by very affluent people indeed, or in the poorer neighbourhoods, by immigrant families that typically live 3 generations together, etc. (or let bedroom by bedroom "Houses in Multiple Occupation").

If we look at today's McMansions, they are on a similar size- 4000 square foot+. But they are cheaply built. And it would not be easy to adapt them to other uses eg into duplexes and triplexes.

I predict in 30 years many of them will be absolute millstones for their owners. Cheaply built. High cost of repairs. Expensive to heat and cool. The huge open plan spaces will get subdivided. (My mental read is that open plan kitchen & living works really well for people with young children (keep an eye on them) and can work well for empty nest couples (depending on noise tolerance). But actually having separate rooms for separate activities is really nice (particularly when your kids are sort of 11-18) - I love having a separate dining room).

Many McMansions will get knocked down. In 30 or 40 years, not 100 years.

When my parents bought in 1961, they were advised by neighbours (who had bought the houses new in the 1920s) as to which houses had been well built and which were cheaply built. 30+ years later, people remembered.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Fri Sep 23, 2022 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
ncbill
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by ncbill »

jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:33 pm Lots of great points. I would love to have a gas range but will have to settle for electric if I go with the Propane house. Perhaps as the poster mentioned, they will push gas out my way (I am buying in Ocean View) and I can convert to gas. I'm going to check into it when I meet with the builder.
Don't induction cooktops require a 50A circuit?

The standard, builder-grade electric stove circuit is only 30A.

Better check with your builder.
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jgman
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

I will check with the builder about induction stoves but it sounds like a good alternative to gas. Based on the responses, paying a bit more for a new home with a better builder is definitely a smart move. I will be a couple miles from the Ocean so a well-built house is very important.
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by cmr79 »

ncbill wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 7:55 am
jgman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:33 pm Lots of great points. I would love to have a gas range but will have to settle for electric if I go with the Propane house. Perhaps as the poster mentioned, they will push gas out my way (I am buying in Ocean View) and I can convert to gas. I'm going to check into it when I meet with the builder.
Don't induction cooktops require a 50A circuit?

The standard, builder-grade electric stove circuit is only 30A.

Better check with your builder.
Circuit amp requirements for both induction and electric resistance cooktops are based on size/number of burners. Induction is more efficient than electric resistance, so for similar cooking uses, the electricity draw should be less. There are a number of induction cooktops that only have a 30A requirement.
beardsicles
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by beardsicles »

jgman wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 8:18 am I will check with the builder about induction stoves but it sounds like a good alternative to gas. Based on the responses, paying a bit more for a new home with a better builder is definitely a smart move. I will be a couple miles from the Ocean so a well-built house is very important.
We have induction and gas stoves in our house. The gas stove doesn't get used and is getting ripped out. I'm fairly convinced that in 20 years we're going to look back at cooking with gas like we do smoking indoors. "Holy crap I can't believe we used to do that and think it was normal."
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by Big Dog »

Location, location, location.
Parkinglotracer
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by Parkinglotracer »

We love rehoboth beach - I’d go with Schell. We could live with propane. We have natural gas at home and love it.
North
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by North »

Hi jgman,

We built with Schell 9 years ago in Lewes and went with dual fuel system. The heat pump is awesome and would absolutely go that route. Our community was propane at the time, but a few years in, we converted the neighborhood to NG. It was a fairly painless conversion, although I remember being upset about the ~$2,000 fee per house to convert. Looking back, it was reasonable.

One thing to remember, Schell will tout the HVAC equipment as some of the most efficient you can buy, but it's really just builder's grade stuff, maybe slightly above. I honestly am pretty pleased overall with the build quality of the house and would not hesitate to go Schell again, assuming I didn't want to pay custom prices.
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jgman
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 7:21 am We love rehoboth beach - I’d go with Schell. We could live with propane. We have natural gas at home and love it.
Thanks for the feedback..Im leaning heavily towards the Schell built home
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jgman
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Re: Propane vs Gas New house purchase decision

Post by jgman »

North wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:45 am Hi jgman,

We built with Schell 9 years ago in Lewes and went with dual fuel system. The heat pump is awesome and would absolutely go that route. Our community was propane at the time, but a few years in, we converted the neighborhood to NG. It was a fairly painless conversion, although I remember being upset about the ~$2,000 fee per house to convert. Looking back, it was reasonable.

One thing to remember, Schell will tout the HVAC equipment as some of the most efficient you can buy, but it's really just builder's grade stuff, maybe slightly above. I honestly am pretty pleased overall with the build quality of the house and would not hesitate to go Schell again, assuming I didn't want to pay custom prices.
Hi North,
Thanks for the feedback....were you able to upgrade to the heat pump at purchase as a builder upgrade or did you convert after your home was converted to gas?
Thanks
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