As the winter months approach, we have to ensure our house is kept warm and there is sufficient hot water. This can be accomplished through the use of heating systems. However, due to a number of factors such as inflation and the unstable costs of energy bills, you’ll likely find yourself busting your budget. As energy and fuel costs are expensive, it should come as no surprise that people will tend to compare the various fuels in order to go with the most cost-effective and economical option. The thing is, comparing the cost of heating can be difficult as different fuels have different energy levels, units of measure, and even thermal efficiency. Therefore, in this article, we’ll look into the ways to calculate the cost of heating, and determine which is the suitable option for your home and lifestyle needs.

Determine Usable Energy

When it comes to comparing the various types of energies, you have to determine the usable energy, which describes the amounts of heat. The first thing you have to do is find out the amount of energy purchased for a minimum of one to two years. You can simply contact the supplier or inspect the energy bills from last year. Afterward, note the fuel cost. The last thing you require is thermal efficiency. This can be discovered on the nameplate of appliances or you can contact the manufacturer directly. Do note that heating appliances that date back to 20 years and more may not display thermal efficiency.

The Equation to Calculate Usable Energy

Once you have figured out all three factors, you can use the simple equation listed below to determine the usable energy. Usable energy is measured in Btu.

Usable Energy (Btu) = Amount of Energy Purchased X Energy Content X Thermal Efficiency

Is it A Good Investment?

As you select a fuel option to go with, it’s important to make sure it’s a worthy investment in the long run. In order to determine this, you can use the simple payback method. Simple payback works out the number of years it will take you to pay back the investment cost based on your annual savings. The equation usually goes like this:

Simple Payback = Investment Cost / Annual Savings

A good investment usually means that you’re receiving higher interest rates compared to others. For example, a 25% interest rate is a promising sign. As such, feel free to try and test the various fuel options to determine the most cost-efficient choice.

Different Fuel Options Have Different Energy Content

Take a look at the chart and compare the different fuels. There are some examples below to show how you can use this information.

Units Equivalent MMBtu/unit BTU per lb Cost per unit
Cord Wood cord 1 22,000,000 7,500-8,600  $         250.00
Anthracite ton 1 26,000,000 13,000  $         210.00
Pellets ton 1.63 16,500,000 8,000-8,600  $         250.00
Natural Gas therm 250 100,000 na  $              1.31
Fuel Oil gal 186 139,600 na  $              3.59
Propane gal 284 84,000 na  $              3.39
Electric kwhs 7620 3,412 na  $              0.17

Example of how to use the chart:

If you use 1,000 gallons of fuel oil to heat your home and if you pay $3.59 per gallon, that will cost you $3,590. 1000 gallons of fuel oil equals 139,600,000 BTUs.

Since 1 ton of coal equals 26,000,000 BTUs, it will take 5.4 tons of coal to equal 1,000 gallons of fuel oil. 5.4 tons of anthracite coal will cost $1,134. Switching to coal will save you nearly $2,500 every year!

Here’s another example:

If you use 1,500 gallons of propane to heat your home and if you pay $3.39 per gallon, that will cost you $5,085. 1500 gallons of propane equals 126,000,000 BTUs.

Since 1 ton of coal equals 26,000,000 BTUs, it will take 4.8 tons of coal to equal 1,500 gallons of propane. 4.8 tons of anthracite coal will cost $1,008. Switching to coal will save you over $4,000 every year!

Purchase High-Quality Heating Systems with Legacy Stoves

Here at Legacy Stoves, we believe that stoves are not just a heating option for your home. They serve as the heart of the home and legacy for the future generations that live in your home. This is why it is important to have quality options that can serve your home effectively over decades. Not only can you easily find amazing coal stoves at our online store, but you will also be able to purchase replacement parts and accessories to maintain your stove.