step-up transformers

Thread Starter

Rmankty

Joined Dec 12, 2011
3
Hello, I live in a home with propane furnace.Propane cost has been higher than electricity.I want to install a more powerful portable electric space heater that 1500watts.I need either a new 240v line and wall outlet installed,or, I am looking at the feasibility of buying a step-up transformer. I would be able to simply plug in transformer to standard wall plug, and then plug heater into transformer. Is this not possible? I see websites all over the internet selling these units. Thank you for your assistance!
 

t06afre

Joined May 11, 2009
5,934
Hi have you tried google and something like this 1500 watt step up transformer or 1500 watt step down transformer. Many of those can be both step down or step up transformer. Depending on how you connect it.
Also be sure that the transformer has the propper approvel. Such equipment is not something a hobbyist would as DIY project. And a DIY project would end up to cost more than a comercial one.
 

jimkeith

Joined Oct 26, 2011
540
Unfortunately, a step-up transformer will not increase the power available from the standard 120VAC outlet--it remains limited to about 1500 to 2000W or so, depending upon the branch circuit capacity (15 or 20A).

Running a 240V line is a better solution. Operation during off-peak hours (if possible) will reduce your electric bill.

Do not be fooled by expensive electric heaters that claim to reduce your heating bill--ALL electric space heaters have exactly the same efficiency--100%.

Close your gas flu to reduce heat loss--only after removing the gas burner and capping the line.

Another less expensive option would be to operate perhaps (2) 1500W heaters, but they must operate off separate 120VAC branch circuits.
 
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russ_hensel

Joined Jan 11, 2009
825
It is somewhat odd that propane is more expensive than electricity ( but possible ) Be sure of you data and calculations, you might want to post them here so we can check.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
24,742
Here's a website that states if propane costs $2.40 a gallon then the electric heating cost is less if electricity is ten cents a kwh or less for a propane furnace with 85% efficiency. Don't know how accurate that calculation is.
 

Audioguru

Joined Dec 20, 2007
11,249
You do not say which planet you live on. We live on Earth. In in North America we have 120V AND 240V in our homes.
The 240V is used for electric stoves, clothes dryers, split receptacles in kitchens and other high power electric appliances.

A transformer will take your 120V/15A and convert it to 240V/7.5A. They have the same power.
 

Thread Starter

Rmankty

Joined Dec 12, 2011
3
Thanks for info and link. electricity here is .067 cents per kwh. If I had access to natural gas it would be energy used here,but its not on street yet.I will probably have a new 240 line run to living room.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
24,742
My Mom has lived in an all electric home in Wisconsin(!) for many years. The reason it's not prohibitively costly to heat is that the home was built as all electric with super insulation, of like six inches in the wall (6 inch studs), 12 inches in the attic, and double pane windows.
 

Audioguru

Joined Dec 20, 2007
11,249
Most homes today have super insulation. Then the cost to heat with natural gas is much lower than heating with electricity (or rubbing your hands together).
 

russ_hensel

Joined Jan 11, 2009
825
Thanks for info and link. electricity here is .067 cents per kwh. If I had access to natural gas it would be energy used here,but its not on street yet.I will probably have a new 240 line run to living room.
I doubt it. At least check your decimal point. Where are you. What is the transmission cost? What kind of cent ( what currency ).
 

thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,359
Here's a website that states if propane costs $2.40 a gallon then the electric heating cost is less if electricity is ten cents a kwh or less for a propane furnace with 85% efficiency. Don't know how accurate that calculation is.
That site is correct with current price on propane.

1 gallon of propane is roughly 4.23 pounds, so the 20lb cylinders for grills and whatnot hold just shy of 5 gallons (4.72). A refill is $18-20 (depending on if you go to a refill station for $18, or swap the tank for $20), so propane around here is $3.81 to 4.23/gallon when buying 20lb at a time (Grill size container).

Electricity averages 0.12 cents per kWh and is 100% Efficient:
1 kWh =1000 x 3600 watt.secs = 1000 x 3600 joules = 3600 kilojoules = 3600/1.055
BTU =3412.3 BTU per kWh ($0.12)

Electricity 28,433 BTU per $0.01 USD (penny) @ 12 cents/kWh 100% Efficient

1 gallon of Propane ~= 4.23 lbs ~= 91500 BTU per Gallon ($3.81)

Propane 24,016 BTU per USD$0.01 (penny) @100% Efficiency (Refilling 20lb at a time)
Propane 20,413 BTU per USD $0.01 USD(penny)
@85% Efficiency (Refilling 20lb at a time)

The propane cost would be higher if you swapped tanks for $20 instead of refilling for $18.

Dec 07, 2011 - U.S. Avg. Residential Propane Price, +.006, After Change = $2.852 Delivered to bulk tank @ Residencehttp://www.propane-prices.com/

Propane 32,083 BTU per USD $0.01 USD(penny) @100% Efficiency w/Bulk Home Delivery
Propane 27,220 BTU per USD $0.01 USD(penny) @85% Efficiency w/Bulk Home Delivery

Here's what I got from another site: Energy was cheaper when this was published.
Type of Heating System| Efficiency| Annual Heating Cost Est.| cost/unit of fuel
Geothermal Heat Pump |300% | $ 419 |6 cents/kWh
Shelled Corn Burner |70% |$ 579 | $2.00/bu.
Air to Air Electric Heat Pump| 200% | $ 628| 6 cents/kWh
Natural Gas Furnace | 90% | $ 953 |$1.20/therm
Natural Gas Furnace | 80% |$ 1,073| $1.20/therm
Electric Furnace | 100% | $ 1,257 | 6 cents/kWh
Natural Gas Furnace |65%| $ 1,320 | $1.20/therm
Propane Furnace | 90% | $ 1,493 | $1.72/gallon
Oil Furnace |80% |$ 1,564 |$2.45/gallon
Kerosene Portable Heater |95% |$ 1,653| $2.79/gallon
Electric Portable Heater | 100% | $ 1,676 | 8 cents/kWh Propane Furnace | 80% | $ 1,680 | $1.72/gallon
Oil Furnace |65% | $ 1,925 |$2.45/gallon
Propane Furnace | 65% | $ 2,068 | $1.72/gallon
Wood (Improved Fireplace) |20%| $ 3,095| $180.00/cord
Wood (Standard Fireplace) |10% | $ 6,190| $180.00/cord
 
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t06afre

Joined May 11, 2009
5,934
My Mom has lived in an all electric home in Wisconsin(!) for many years. The reason it's not prohibitively costly to heat is that the home was built as all electric with super insulation, of like six inches in the wall (6 inch studs), 12 inches in the attic, and double pane windows.
In my country double pane windows have been the rule for many years. Around 50 years I guess. And of course proper insulation also. Probably what you name "super insulation" I guess it has something with the climate
 

Audioguru

Joined Dec 20, 2007
11,249
My electrical utility company gave everybody a "smart" meter a couple of years ago. They are not "smart" yet maybe because they don't know how to do it.
 
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