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NDSU Extension Service, Published March 19 2012

New NDSU app helps identify cost-effective heating fuel

FARGO - Heating Fuel Comparison, a new mobile device application the North Dakota State University Extension Service developed, can help people determine the most cost-effective fuel source when selecting new heating appliances.

"The app allows users to compare costs of various heating fuel sources," says Carl Pedersen, NDSU Extension energy educator. "You simply choose the fuel types you are considering and the efficiency of the heating appliance you are looking to purchase, and the app will provide relative costs of each fuel source."

For example, electric baseboard heating at 10 cents per kilowatt-hour is equivalent in price to heating with propane in a high-efficiency furnace at propane prices of $2.48 per gallon. If propane prices are below $2.48, then using propane heat would be more cost-effective.

If a consumer has more than one heating system, the app will allow them to determine which might be less expensive to use as well.

"Some buildings have multiple heating sources," Pedersen says. "As fuel prices fluctuate, the app will allow people to choose the fuel that will be the least expensive at a given time."

The app is intended to provide general comparisons based on fuel costs. You have more costs to consider when choosing which fuel source would be best to provide the desired heat. They include the initial purchase and installation costs of heating equipment, as well as delivery or service charges.

In addition to providing information on fuel sources, the app also includes information on ways to reduce energy use in buildings. For example, the better the structure is air-sealed and insulated, the longer heat will stay in the building.

The app is available for Android and Apple-compatible devices.