All of the following are equal to one million BTUs.

10 Therms of natural gas.

1 Decatherm of natural gas.

1,000 cubic feet of natural gas.

1 MCF of natural gas.

7.30 gallons of number 2 oil.

10.91 gallons of propane.

1,000 lbs of steam

As an example, let's say you wish to compare the following prices; gas at $ 10 per Decatherm, # 2 oil at $ 3 per gallon, and propane at per gallon. Using the conversion data, energy costs per one million BTUs would be as follows:

Natural Gas $ 10 per million BTU

# 2 oil (7.30 x $ 3.00) $ 21.90 per million BTU

Propane (10.91 x $ 2.00) $ 21.82 per million BTU


Steam costs fluctuate due to changing fuel and water costs. If your boilers are running at 80% efficiency, the energy costs of steam using our example would be as follows:



Natural Gas $ 12.50 per 1,000 lbs of steam

# 2 Oil $ 27.38 per 1,000 lbs of steam

Propane $ 27.28 per 1,000 lbs of steam

Producing steam also incurs water and chemical costs. As an estimate, figure water costs at $ 10.00 per 1,000 gallons and chemical treatment at $ 40 per 1,000 gallons. Converting, you would need to add $ 6.00 for water and chemical costs for each 1,000 lbs of steam produced. Total steam including fuel, water, and chemical costs using our example would be as follows:



Natural Gas $ 18.50 per 1,000 lbs of steam

# 2 Oil $ 33.38 per 1,000 lbs of steam

Propane $ 33.28 per 1,000 lbs of steam

All steam traps fail. You can expect service life from the average steam trap at 100 psig to be about five years. Higher pressures will result in shorter service life and lower pressures will extend service life. Service life will also be a function of the type of trap, brand, and application details.

At 100 psig, the typical 1/2" or 3/4" trap will blow 100 lb/hr of live steam. Using current steam costs, a failed steam trap in this size range will cost you $ 16,206 in fuel and waste 105,120 gallons of water in one year. Payback on keeping your steam traps in good working order is about 3-4 months maximum.