So, you just purchased a propane-heated home but don’t know much about the fuel. Or maybe it’s your first home purchase and you aren’t sure about the heating process in general. First, congratulations! Second, relax. We’ve got you covered. Here are a few tips for moving into a propane-heated home that will warm you up to the benefits of propane and what you need to know.
What is Propane?
Propane is primarily a byproduct of natural gas processing. It can also be a byproduct of petroleum refining. Propane is a liquified petroleum gas (LPG) that is stored and compressed as a liquid, delivered by a truck, stored in a tank, and burned in a furnace. It is one of the safest and most efficient fuels there is. When burned, propane doesn’t produce a significant amount of carbon dioxide. It’s an approved, clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. And it is nontoxic and nonpoisonous, so it won’t contaminate ground soil in the unlikely event of a leak.
Almost 6 million U.S. households heat with propane and millions more use it to power appliances, such as ranges, cooktops, generators, pool heaters, grills and more.
Who Owns the Tank?
This question was probably asked before you went to contract to buy the house. But if it wasn’t, make sure you know the answer before you need a propane delivery. Many homes own their propane tank, while others rent it from a propane company. If the tank is rented, you need to know the terms of the contract to understand the costs you will be responsible for on an annual or monthly basis.
And you will only be able to purchase fuel from that contract company. Federal and state regulations prevent another propane company from filling or repairing tanks they or their customers don’t own. But the good news is that the same company will be responsible for the maintenance of the tank and ensuring its safety. But if the tank is owned, you will need to keep up with the inspections and make sure it is functioning properly and pay for any necessary repairs.
Ask for the Propane Tank Maintenance Records
Regardless of who owns the tank, ask the previous homeowners for evidence that the tank and the heating equipment have been regularly serviced to ensure they work at peak efficiency. If they cannot provide these, try calling the service company they use for the information. If neither option works, call a reliable propane company and have them perform a safety inspection of the tank, lines and any other equipment in your heating system.
Learn How to Maintain Your Tank
If the previous homeowners owned the propane tank, you now own it. So, living in a propane heated home means making tank maintenance a regular part of your routine. First, understand what size it is, how much fuel it holds and the average propane usage for your home’s size and your family’s lifestyle. In addition to asking for maintenance records, you can also ask about what the previous owners did to maintain the tank and what their usage was like.
If you took over a well-kept propane tank, then continue that trend to get the most out of your tank. If the tank is above ground and needs a little cleaning, consider removing rust and possibly a fresh paint job. Only tanks that are owned can be painted! To remove rust, use a wire brush and scrub the affected areas. If you’re painting the tank, you must adhere to specific paint-color guidelines and use a heat reflective color. A dark color absorbs heat and can expand the gas, which could be a safety hazard.
Additionally, you’ll want to know where your gas lines are underground.
Install Detectors in Your Propane Heated Home
Many states require carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in houses that use propane as their fuel. Even if your state does not require one, we recommend installing detectors for your family’s safety. The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. A detector should be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door and there should be one near or over any attached garage. Replace each detector every five to six years. And remember to regularly check the batteries of your sensors to make sure they are working correctly.
Recognize the Smell of Propane
First-time propane users should be able to identify the smell of propane. While leaks are rare, it is essential to be informed and prepared. Propane is colorless and odorless. Therefore, an odor compound is added upon production to make detection easier in the unlikely event of a leak or spill. Propane is highly flammable when mixed with oxygen. If leaked gas vapor reaches an ignition source in your home, such as smoking materials, electrical sparks, or unshielded flames, then a fire or explosion could occur. Running out of propane in the tank can also emit a propane smell. The best safety measure is to sign up with a reliable propane provider that offers automatic delivery and tank monitoring to lessen the likelihood that you run out of propane!
Choose a Reliable Propane Supplier like Levco!
Selecting a reputable propane supplier is probably one of the most important steps in owning or leasing your propane tank. here are some considerations to help you choose. Do they:
- Offer fast and efficient customer service.
- Have a track record of quick delivery and service times?
- Offer automatic delivery service
- Perform tank and equipment installations by licensed, rigorously trained industry experts
- Offer various payment plans to fit each family’s needs
- Explain pricing and costs upfront and don’t hit customers with hidden fees
- Have experienced, highly trained staff & technicians who understand propane, the HVAC industry and put the safety of you, your family and your property first!
Levco is a leader in helping customers understand and adhere to industry standards for the safe LP-Gas storage, handling, transportation, and use of propane. Give us a call at (203) 533-8249 or contact us today!
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