First Time With Propane Fuel? Here's How To Ease The Transition

Posted on: 11 March 2015

If you're moving to a rural location, it may surprise you to learn that your home uses propane fuel because it has no access to piped natural gas. This is quite common, but it may take some getting used to on your part. Here are some tips for easing the transition to propane.

Propane as a Fuel Source

Propane can be an efficient and easy source of fuel. How much you use depends first of all on the number of appliances in your home that run on propane. These can include:

  • furnace
  • space heater
  • water boiler
  • oven/stove
  • dryer

If your heat is powered by propane, you will likely have one very large propane tank. The tank size is mostly determined by your geographic area (climate) and the size of the house you are heating. (If you are building new construction or converting to all propane, your area propane supplier can help you select the appropriate tank size.)

If your home is heated with electricity but you use propane for other appliances, like the stove, your tank can be considerably smaller. You may even have several tanks for different appliances, especially if the house is older or a winterized former summer home.

The Advantages of an All-propane Home

Having everything powered by propane and having one big tank for the house can have its advantages. You only have one propane delivery every so often and one tank volume to keep track of. Your electric bills are likely to be very low.

Better yet, you can purchase propane in large quantities when the price is lower (typically during the summer), so you save money.

The Disadvantages of Using Only Propane

The biggest problem of having nearly everything in your home running on propane off one tank is that if the tank runs out, you lose the operation of many appliance at once. This can happen if there's a large storm and the supplier can't get through. You could also have a malfunction with your tank or line, which would cause you to go without fuel until it's repaired.

Tips for Smaller/Multiple Tanks

Multiple tanks get around the above issue, but they have their own problems. With multiple tanks, you have more to keep track of, and the smaller tanks run out faster. You may wind up filling them or exchanging them when the price of propane is higher. Some strategies for dealing with this include

  • Keep a log of all your propane fills, and you'll get a sense for your budget of how often you need to replenish.
  • Try to use tanks with gauges, so you can order before you run out of propane. (In a pinch, you can sometimes run your hand down the side of the tank and feel a line of coldness where propane begins. This won't work in super cold weather, though.)
  • Get to know your local propane supplier--their hours, how much lead time you need for orders, etc.
  • Keep small spare tanks for emergencies and know how to switch them over.

As the price of natural gas, oil, and electricity continue to rise, many people are electing to use propane fuel. If you are new to propane, you are in good company and likely to be joined by many others in the near future. Contact a supplier like Mrohs Gas Inc to learn more about using propane.