How Much is Home Heating Propane? A Comprehensive Guide

The cost of home heating propane can vary significantly based on several factors, including geographic location, supplier, and market conditions. According to the latest data, the current price of propane in Illinois is $1.93 per gallon. However, historical trends show that prices can fluctuate widely, ranging from $0.88 to $2.86 per gallon in Illinois over the past three decades.

Understanding Propane vs. Natural Gas

When comparing propane to natural gas for home heating, it’s essential to consider the energy content and consumption rates of each fuel. Propane has a higher energy density than natural gas, with one cubic foot of propane delivering 2,516 BTUs (British Thermal Units) compared to 1,030 BTUs for natural gas. This means that propane can provide more heat per unit volume, potentially making it a more cost-effective option depending on the relative prices.

To calculate the cost of heating a home with propane, you’ll need to consider the energy content, consumption rate, and price per unit. For example, if a home uses 800 gallons of propane per year and the price is $1.93 per gallon, the annual heating cost would be $1,544. In contrast, if natural gas is available at a price of $15.00 per 1,000 cubic feet and has an energy content of 1,030 BTUs per cubic foot, the cost of heating the same home with natural gas would be $1,492 per year, assuming the same energy efficiency.

Factors Affecting Propane Prices

how much is home heating propane

The price of propane can be influenced by a variety of factors, including:

  1. Geographic Location: Propane prices can vary significantly based on the region or state. Factors such as transportation costs, local supply and demand, and regional market conditions can all impact the price.

  2. Supplier and Distributor: The specific propane supplier or distributor you choose can also affect the price. Some suppliers may offer discounts or special pricing for larger volume purchases or long-term contracts.

  3. Seasonal Demand: Propane prices tend to be higher during the winter months when demand for home heating is at its peak. Prices may be lower during the summer when demand is lower.

  4. Global Market Conditions: Factors such as crude oil prices, refinery output, and international trade can also influence the cost of propane, as it is a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining.

  5. Government Regulations and Taxes: Local, state, and federal taxes and regulations can also impact the final price of propane for consumers.

DIY Installation and Maintenance

When it comes to installing and maintaining a propane heating system, it’s crucial to follow all safety guidelines and regulations. Propane tanks should be installed and serviced by certified professionals to ensure safe and efficient operation. However, homeowners can perform some routine maintenance tasks, such as:

  1. Leak Checks: Regularly inspect the propane tank, lines, and connections for any signs of leaks or damage.

  2. Ventilation: Ensure that the propane heating system is properly vented to the outside to prevent the buildup of dangerous gases.

  3. Filter Replacement: Replace the air filters in the heating system according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to maintain optimal efficiency.

  4. Thermostat Calibration: Ensure that the thermostat is accurately calibrated to maintain the desired temperature in the home.

  5. Safety Device Inspection: Check that the safety devices, such as the pressure relief valve and the automatic shut-off, are functioning correctly.

By following these maintenance guidelines, homeowners can help extend the lifespan of their propane heating system and ensure its safe and efficient operation.


The cost of home heating propane can vary significantly based on a variety of factors, including location, supplier, and market conditions. Understanding the energy content and consumption rates of propane compared to natural gas can help homeowners make an informed decision on the most cost-effective heating solution for their home. While propane heating systems should be installed and maintained by certified professionals, homeowners can perform routine maintenance tasks to help ensure the system’s performance and longevity.

Propane and Natural Gas Compared
Illinois Propane Prices
U.S. Energy Information Administration – Residential Propane Prices