Author Topic: Natural Gas Burner Cost  (Read 883 times)

Offline alestateyall

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Natural Gas Burner Cost
« on: January 06, 2014, 08:30:48 AM »
I am exploring the idea of switching to natural gas.  In doing so I am exploring potential cost savings of natural gas versus propane.

The Blichmann Floor Burner can use propane or natural gas. With propane the Blichmann is rated at 72,000 BTU/hr and with natural gas it is rated at 60,000 BTU/hr.

First propane: one 15 lb. propane refill costs me $20. One lb. propane yields approximately 22,000 BTU. To burn the Blichmann for one hour it will take 72,000/22,000 = 3.27 lbs. of propane.  Propane costs $1.33 per lb. meaning running the Blichmann for 1 hour costs $1.33*3.27 = $4.35. 1179 BTU are required to bring one gallon of water to 212F from 70 F.  I boil 7 gallons, so 1179*7 = 8253 BTU are required to raise the temperature. The Blichmann in propane mode would require approximately 8253/72000*0.8 = 0.14 hours or 8.6 minutes to boil water.

Next natural gas: Based on my gas bill one CCF costs $0.744. One CCF of natural gas has approximately 100,000 BTU. Running the Blichmann for one hour will require 60,000/100,000 = 0.6 CCF which in turn costs $0.744*0.6 = $0.45.  The Blichmann in propane mode would require approximately 8253/60000*0.8 = 0.17 hours or 10.3 minutes to boil water. The difference in boil time will add a few cents to the natural gas bill.

My boil times seem too low. I used 80% efficiency. Maybe I should use a lower efficiency. Not sure.

Is the above math correct?

Bottom line it looks very cheap to use natural gas. However, since I would have to hire a plumber to run a gas line in my back yard it would likely take quite a while (I only brew once per month) to recover the upfront costs. I am assuming the plumbing costs would be $200 or more.


Offline BrewArk

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 09:47:57 AM »
Don't forget the capital cost of hiring a plumber to set up your natural gas, and the possible inconvenience of being hard plumbed to that gas.  You could pay for quite a few batches with that cost.
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Offline euge

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 11:08:49 AM »
Or, you could do the work yourself. I was able to do it- patched easily into a line next to my HW heater and diverted to my brewery.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline philm63

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2014, 11:42:00 AM »
@ euge - How much would you charge me to do MY garage? Got a hot water heater gas line near by...

Just kidding. Well, maybe not...

Please remember safety when messing with gas lines - it only takes one mistake and, well... you know.
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Offline euge

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2014, 12:09:51 PM »
I think it is important to note one should shut off the supply to the house first before attempting any work on the gas lines. No open flames necessary regardless. A pipe wrench and tape usually is sufficient.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2014, 02:05:57 PM »
Those are best case numbers. You never get all of those BTUs into the water, as the transfer from the flame to the metal is a little inefficient. Those of use that stand around the flaming burner to warm can attest to that.
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Online FLbrewer

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 02:14:33 PM »
Have you seen the Edelmetall? It looks identical to Blichmann in design and is a little cheaper.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/review/product/list/id/6772/category/460/

Offline alestateyall

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2014, 02:26:28 PM »

Don't forget the capital cost of hiring a plumber to set up your natural gas, and the possible inconvenience of being hard plumbed to that gas.  You could pay for quite a few batches with that cost.


I agree. I don't think I will convert. I don't brew enough to make it worth it.

Offline alestateyall

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2014, 02:27:09 PM »

Have you seen the Edelmetall? It looks identical to Blichmann in design and is a little cheaper.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/review/product/list/id/6772/category/460/

I saw that but it doesn't explicitly state on the description it can burn natural gas.

It looks good though.

Offline alestateyall

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2014, 02:29:26 PM »

Those are best case numbers. You never get all of those BTUs into the water, as the transfer from the flame to the metal is a little inefficient. Those of use that stand around the flaming burner to warm can attest to that.

I agree. I think the math is not exact but it makes a good case for natural gas if you brew a lot.

Offline alestateyall

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2014, 02:30:27 PM »

I think it is important to note one should shut off the supply to the house first before attempting any work on the gas lines. No open flames necessary regardless. A pipe wrench and tape usually is sufficient.

Yes. I have changed a gas fitting before but I don't think I would do this type install myself.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2014, 03:11:14 PM »

I think it is important to note one should shut off the supply to the house first before attempting any work on the gas lines. No open flames necessary regardless. A pipe wrench and tape usually is sufficient.

Yes. I have changed a gas fitting before but I don't think I would do this type install myself.

When it comes to permanently installed gas lines it is best to hire a pro (IMHO).  If only for the ability to spread the liability.  They have to carry insurance and or bonds to protect themselves and their customers from mistakes.  It protects you from burning something down and having your claim denied because the work wasn't up to code and/or illegally installed.

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Offline gruversm

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2014, 04:04:20 PM »
I converted from LP to NG 3 years ago for my three burner Brutus 10 brewstand using a bbq grill quick disconnect. Even though I don't have the BTUs of LP, it is really reassuring that I never have to worry about running out of gas during my brew day.
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Offline BrewArk

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2014, 05:14:39 PM »
Have you seen the Edelmetall? It looks identical to Blichmann in design and is a little cheaper.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/review/product/list/id/6772/category/460/

Three legs instead of four.  Probably enough. ;)
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Offline dcbc

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Re: Natural Gas Burner Cost
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2014, 08:11:29 PM »
I converted from LP to NG 3 years ago for my three burner Brutus 10 brewstand using a bbq grill quick disconnect. Even though I don't have the BTUs of LP, it is really reassuring that I never have to worry about running out of gas during my brew day.

This!  The time and money I spent running over to the propane place to get my tank filled is not something I miss since I went NG. 

Best uprgrade evah!
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