Consumers often choose propane furnaces because of fuel availability. While natural gas is much less expensive than propane, as of 2015, a pipeline supplies natural gas, while a tank stores propane on site. Other reasons include a lower cost than electricity and a higher-quality heat.
About 5 percent of Americans use propane as their primary heat source, according to Furnace Compare. The cost of heating with propane depends on many factors, but choosing a fuel-efficient furnace, regardless of the fuel type, is essential in reducing heating costs. Propane furnaces are available with annualized fuel utilization efficiencies as high as 97 percent.
While propane is more expensive than heating with natural gas, it remains less expensive than heating with electricity, as of 2015. While heat pumps offer efficient heat in moderate temperatures, heat pumps often require the use of the back-up resistance heating coils that are not. The air from the vents of a heat pump is cooler than that from a propane furnace, causing many users to feel their home is drafty.
When compared to oil furnaces, propane units require less service. Propane burns cleaner, and the burners have less carbon buildup than when burning oil. However, both types of furnaces require regular filter changes and cleaning to maintain fuel efficiency.