The Money Mustache Community
Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: MMMdude on March 22, 2013, 06:17:02 PM

I recently got a Weber 330 natural gas grill. I am wondering what the cost to operate this is per hour. It is 38,000 BTU and where I live, natural gas is $4 per Gigajoule. Does anyone know the math to calculate this?
I used to have a propane bbq and a tank here is $15 and would last maybe 12 hours, so operating cost was abit over $1 per hour. Curious if the nat gas grill is cheaper or not.

in general: NG is cheaper than propane. (I use propane for my primary heat/H20 Heat/cooking.) That doesn't help with your mathiness, though. Now, I don't know if that applies to the 20# cylinder.... but definitely for the 250 gal cylinder.

I recently got a Weber 330 natural gas grill. I am wondering what the cost to operate this is per hour. It is 38,000 BTU and where I live, natural gas is $4 per Gigajoule. Does anyone know the math to calculate this?
I used to have a propane bbq and a tank here is $15 and would last maybe 12 hours, so operating cost was abit over $1 per hour. Curious if the nat gas grill is cheaper or not.
Gigajoule is close to a therm. It's 947,817 BTU. At FULL flame, if it's 38,000 BTU total, you're looking at over 24 hours for a Gigajoule, or 16 cents/hour.
Propane is about 21,500 BTU/lb for reference, often you get 17 or 15 lbs of propane out of a 20 lb tank, so you're looking at $1+/hr. So if your figures are correct, the NG grill will be much cheaper to run.

I recently got a Weber 330 natural gas grill. I am wondering what the cost to operate this is per hour. It is 38,000 BTU and where I live, natural gas is $4 per Gigajoule. Does anyone know the math to calculate this?
I used to have a propane bbq and a tank here is $15 and would last maybe 12 hours, so operating cost was abit over $1 per hour. Curious if the nat gas grill is cheaper or not.
Gigajoule is close to a therm. It's 947,817 BTU. At FULL flame, if it's 38,000 BTU total, you're looking at over 24 hours for a Gigajoule, or 16 cents/hour.
Propane is about 21,500 BTU/lb for reference, often you get 17 or 15 lbs of propane out of a 20 lb tank, so you're looking at $1+/hr. So if your figures are correct, the NG grill will be much cheaper to run.
Forgive me for a totally offtopic interruption.... but how does one get 17 lbs of propane out of a 20lb tank?

Many of the companies that have the exchanges don't fill a 20 lb sized tank with 20 lbs. (Blue Rhino only puts 15 lbs in a tank. They TELL you this clearly: http://www.bluerhino.com/BRWEB/Help/FAQ/TankExchange/HowmuchpropanedoesBlueRhinoputinitstanks.aspx (http://www.bluerhino.com/BRWEB/Help/FAQ/TankExchange/HowmuchpropanedoesBlueRhinoputinitstanks.aspx) )
Also, you my may not get ALL the propane out before the pressure falls off enough to not work for your appliance.

Ah. I've never dealt with propane tank exchanges. Around here they cost generally about 2x what just taking it to a propane dealer and having it filled. When I've done that, they have a scale right there with the tare weight preset for the bottle and fill it to 20lbs.

For conversions of btus to joules & vice versa (or anything else for that matter), look here:
http://www.digitaldutch.com/unitconverter/energy.htm
38,000 btu ~=.04 gigajoules, which equates to $0.16/hr by my calculation. Seems pretty reasonable to me.