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Colorado Propane vs Electricity Energy Comparison Cost Chart

propane vs electricity

In Colorado, you have a lot of options when it comes to energy and powering your home. There’s natural gas, electricity, propane, solar, fuel oil, kerosene, geo-thermal, and even wood. Most households in Colorado use utility gas for their home heating needs, with 65.5% of households doing so. The second-most common home heating fuel is electricity, with 26.3% of households in Colorado using this energy source.

But in third place is propane, with 4.9% of Colorado households using propane gas as their home heating fuel. If you don’t have access to utility gas, then it’s understandable that homeowners and businesses both often deal with the question: Which is cheaper in Colorado, propane or electricity?

Get quotes from up to 5 propane dealers in your area today to get the best pricing on propane delivery.

Propane vs electricity energy cost calculator

Both energy sources come with their unique advantages, but their cost implications for running everyday household appliances can vary significantly. Here, we’ve laid out a detailed comparative analysis of energy costs between propane and electricity. Additionally, we assembled charts laying out the costs associated with powering common household devices with propane versus electricity. 

Whether you’re considering a switch in energy source, or simply curious about where your dollars go when the bills arrive, this comparison provides a comprehensive understanding of propane and electricity costs in Colorado and America overall. All prices are based on the most recent price data compiled by the National Council on Energy (NCOE), sourced from EIA estimates.

HVAC appliances energy cost comparison

First, we tackled what is usually the most expensive use of energy in your home: heating systems. Why are heating and air conditioning systems usually the most expensive?

It’s because converting one form of energy — such as electrical energy or chemical energy — into heat requires a lot of power (Note: Power is measured in watts, W). And more power means more money coming out of your wallet. Colorado, high up in the Rocky Mountains, can experience some vicious winters. So, bear in mind how often you’ll be using your home heating system, because that will have a significant impact on total cost.

The wattage of most home heat pumps, in the warmer months of the year, typically ranges from 545 to 4,285 watts, with an average of 2,415. In the colder months, the range is from around 1,000 to 7,500 watts. Another popular generator of residential heat are space heaters. These are especially common in cities where access or usage of utility gas is limited. Not surprisingly, these same cities are where electrification has grown as the main home heating fuel. Colorado has witnessed both an increase in homes using electricity and homes using propane gas for heating since 2010.

Below is an energy cost comparison chart for a heat pump running for five months of the year during the warmer seasons, five months of the year during the colder seasons, a space heater running for five months, a 10-20 gallon water heater running for two hours per day, and a 30-80 gallon water heater running for two hours per day, in Colorado:

Appliance (W, average)Length of Time UsedCost per Month: ElectricityCost per Month: PropaneCost per Year: ElectricityCost per Year: Propane
Heat pump (2415 W)5 months during warm weather$264.83$142.92$1,324.13$714.58
Heat pump (4250 W)5 months during cold weather$466.05$251.51$2,330.25$1,257.55
Space heater (1500 W)5 months during cold weather$164.49$88.77$822.44$443.84
Water heater (10-20 gallon – 1600 W)2 hours per day$14.62$7.89$175.55$94.74
Water heater (30-80 gallon – 4500 W)2 hours per day$41.12$22.19$493.74$266.45

As you can see, when it comes to heating systems, using propane as a source of heat and energy is considerably more cost-effective than electricity in Colorado. Even though propane prices tend to rise in winter months, the increase in energy costs is usually still less than the increase in electricity prices.

From 2010 to 2022, the number of households in Colorado using electricity for their home heating fuel nearly doubled, from 315,317 homes in 2010 to 627,876 homes in 2022. Plus, the percentage of all homes using electricity rose from 16.4% of homes in 2010 to 26.3% of homes in 2022. Fortunately, the percentage using propane increased too, with many Coloradans realizing the potential savings by switching to propane. Our energy comparison and cost analysis should really make those 26.3% of households rethink their energy and heating, and check out propane providers in Colorado.

Kitchen appliances energy cost comparison

The kitchen is filled with appliances that can run on either electricity or propane. These include more obvious appliances like your oven and stove, as well as some appliances you might not have expected could run on propane. For instance, propane can also be used for refrigerators. What’s more, since the hot water in your dishwasher must come from a water heater, your dishwasher too can be powered by propane, because propane can fuel your water heater.

To estimate how much it would cost to power these appliances per month and per year in Colorado, we assumed your:

  • Refrigerator will be running all hours of the day
  • Oven/stove will be run for a total of 1 hour over the course of a day
  • Dishwasher will be run for 1 and a half hours per day

An important note on refrigerators: Refrigerators generally have a much lower “running” wattage than their stated average wattage. This is due to the fact they cycle on and off throughout the day. As a general rule of thumb, you can divide your refrigerator’s wattage by three to estimate its actual energy usage. So, a 550-watt refrigerator actually will use about 183 running watts.

Below is the energy comparison of the cost of electricity vs propane on a monthly and annual basis in Colorado:

Appliance (W, average)Hours of Use per DayCost per Month: ElectricityCost per Month: PropaneCost per Year: ElectricityCost per Year: Propane
Refrigerator (550 W)24$20.10$10.85$241.38$130.26
Oven/stove (3500 W)1$15.99$8.63$192.01$103.62
Dishwasher (1800 W)1.5$12.34$6.66$148.12$79.94

With electricity costing an average of 15.03 cents per kilowatt-hour ($0.1503 per kWH) in Colorado and propane averaging only $2.19 per gallon in the state, it is far cheaper to run kitchen appliances using propane vs electricity in Colorado. Fortunately for those shopping around for different energy sources, Colorado has several propane dealers across the state to choose from.

Laundry and living room appliances energy cost comparison

Finally, we took a look at the typical energy costs associated with the laundry room — specifically, the washer and dryer — as well as that common focus of many homes — the fireplace. Non-wood fireplaces can be fueled by electricity or propane, among many other fuel sources. Also, since the hot water in your washing machine comes from your water heater, propane can be used to power your washer as well.

In order to estimate how much it would cost to power these appliances per month and per year, we assumed your:

  • Clothes dryer will be run for approximately 4 hours total, one day per week
  • Fireplace that will be running for approximately 2 hours total per day during five colder months
  • Washing machine will be run for approximately 4 hours total, one day per week

Below is the energy cost of electricity versus propane on a monthly and annual basis in Colorado:

Appliance (W, average)Hours of UseCost per Month: ElectricityCost per Month: PropaneCost per Year: ElectricityCost per Year: Propane
Dryer (3250 W)4 hours, 1 day per week$8.49$4.58$101.88$54.98
Fireplace (1500 W)2 hours per day, 5 months during cold weather$13.71$7.40$68.54$36.99
Washing machine (900 W)4 hours, 1 day per week$2.35$1.27$28.21$15.23

As the table above makes clear, it is cheaper to run laundry appliances on propane vs electricity in Colorado. The average cost of electricity in Colorado is higher than the national average. Moreover, propane’s low average price in Colorado and its energy-efficiency makes it cheaper than electricity.

Get quotes from up to 5 propane dealers in your area today to get the best pricing on propane delivery.

Advantages of propane vs electricity

In terms of cost, propane is better than electricity in Colorado. In addition to the energy comparison breakdowns above, here are some other reasons why propane is better than electricity:

Environmental impact

While both electricity and propane have environmental footprints, the source of the electricity matters a lot. In regions where electricity is primarily derived from coal or other non-renewable resources, using propane might result in a lower carbon footprint. Propane burns cleaner than many other fossil fuels, producing fewer greenhouse gasses and pollutants.

Higher heating efficiency

Propane has a higher energy content per unit compared to electricity, which means it often delivers heat more efficiently. When used in furnaces, propane reaches higher temperatures faster than electric heat pumps. This makes propane heaters more effective in colder climates where rapid heating might be essential.

Reliability and independence

Propane can be stored on-site in tanks. This allows homeowners and businesses to maintain an independent energy reserve. This contrasts with electricity, which might be subject to grid failures or blackouts. Having a propane tank ensures that even in the event of power outages or disruptions, a consistent energy source remains available.

Economic considerations

In many areas, propane can be a more cost-effective energy source than electricity. While initial setup costs for propane might be higher due to the need for tanks and infrastructure, the ongoing costs can be lower in regions where electricity prices are high. This can result in substantial savings over time for homeowners and businesses alike.

Versatility and adaptability

Propane is a versatile energy source that can be used not only for heating. It can also be used for cooking, water heating, and even refrigeration. This multifunctional capability means that homes and businesses can consolidate their energy needs under one reliable source. Plus, as technology evolves, propane appliances are also becoming more efficient and adaptable. This further enhances their appeal over electric alternatives in certain scenarios.

Is it cheaper to heat with propane or electricity in Colorado?

Heating a home in Colorado with a propane heating system is cheaper than an electric system. Plus, over time, propane water heaters can cost one-third less to operate and heat water twice as quickly as electric water heaters.

Should I switch from electric to propane?

If you’ve been grappling with rising heating and energy expenses, it might be worth contemplating a shift from electric to propane. Colorado generally has higher costs of living than the national average overall. Propane stands out as a remarkably efficient energy alternative. It often delivers the same, if not better, results with a smaller energy input compared to electricity. This inherent efficiency means you could experience comparable or superior performance. At the same time, you’ll have a noticeable reduction in energy consumption.

Converting from electric heat to propane offers not just an energy-efficient solution. It is also a potentially cost-effective one. With propane’s capacity to heat spaces efficiently, homeowners might discover that their homes remain cozy and warm without the hefty price tag often associated with electric heating. Over time, these savings can accumulate. That makes the switch a financially smart decision for those keen on optimizing their home’s energy use and reducing monthly bills.

Get quotes from up to 5 propane dealers in your area today to get the best pricing on propane delivery.

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