Is Electric Wall Heat Cheaper Than Propane Heat?

When it comes to heating your home, the choice between electric wall heat and propane heat can have a significant impact on your energy costs. To help you make an informed decision, let’s dive into the details and compare the two options.

Energy Costs: Electricity vs. Propane

The cost of energy is a crucial factor in determining the overall cost of heating your home. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average cost of electricity in the United States is 16.21 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as of 2022. In contrast, the cost of propane can vary widely depending on your location and market conditions.

Propane prices are often more volatile than electricity, as they can be affected by factors such as supply shortages, refinery closures, and global market fluctuations. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average cost of propane in the United States was $2.95 per gallon as of January 2023.

To calculate the cost of electric wall heat, you can use the following formula:

BTUs needed = (1,000 BTUs/sq ft for mild winter climates or 2,000 BTUs/sq ft for moderate winter climates) x square footage of the home
kilowatts/hour needed = BTUs needed / 3,412
cost of electric heat = kilowatts/hour needed x cost of electricity per kWh in your area

For propane heat, the formula is similar:

BTUs needed = (1,000 BTUs/sq ft for mild winter climates or 2,000 BTUs/sq ft for moderate winter climates) x square footage of the home
cost of propane heat = BTUs needed / 91,452 x cost of propane per gallon in your area

It’s important to note that the cost of electricity and propane can vary significantly depending on your region and market conditions. Therefore, it’s essential to check the current rates in your area before making a decision.

Efficiency: Electric vs. Propane Heating Systems

is electric wall heat cheaper then propane heat

Another factor to consider is the efficiency of the heating systems. Propane furnaces are typically 90% efficient, meaning that 90% of the energy in the propane is converted into heat. In contrast, electric heat is 100% efficient, as all the energy consumed is converted into heat.

However, the difference in efficiency may not be as significant for smaller homes or for those living in areas with low electricity costs. In these cases, the higher efficiency of electric heat may not offset the potential cost savings of propane.

Maintenance and Lifespan

When it comes to maintenance and lifespan, both electric wall heaters and propane furnaces have their own considerations.

Electric wall heaters are generally low-maintenance, with fewer moving parts and no need for regular tune-ups or fuel delivery. They typically have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, depending on usage and proper maintenance.

Propane furnaces, on the other hand, require more regular maintenance, such as filter changes, cleaning, and tune-ups. They have a similar lifespan of 15 to 20 years, but the maintenance costs can add up over time.

Environmental Impact

Another factor to consider is the environmental impact of each heating option. Electric heating is generally considered more environmentally friendly, as it does not produce any direct greenhouse gas emissions. Propane, while cleaner than other fossil fuels, still produces carbon dioxide and other emissions when burned.

However, the overall environmental impact of electric heating can vary depending on the source of the electricity. In regions where the electricity grid is primarily powered by renewable or low-emission sources, the environmental benefits of electric heating may be more pronounced.


Determining whether electric wall heat or propane heat is the more cost-effective option for your home requires a careful analysis of your specific situation. Factors such as energy costs, efficiency, maintenance, and environmental impact all play a role in the decision-making process.

It’s essential to research the current rates and availability of both electricity and propane in your area, as well as the specific heating requirements of your home. By considering all these factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your energy needs and budget.

Remember, the choice between electric wall heat and propane heat is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to evaluate your individual circumstances and consult with professionals to ensure you make the best decision for your home.

One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning – Electric vs. Propane Heat: Cost and Maintenance Considerations
Reddit – Propane vs Electric Furnace
Kiplinger – Electric Heat vs. Gas Heat: Which Is Cheaper?
U.S. Energy Information Administration – Electricity and Propane Prices