If yours is one of the nearly six million households around the United States that heat their homes with propane, then you know that making that tank last for as long as possible is a priority. No one wants to find out in March that their tank is running low and they need to fill it up to make it through the last weeks of the cold weather season. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help reduce the amount of propane needed to heat your home efficiently.
1. Installing electric igniters. Electric igniters start your furnace on demand as opposed to the traditional pilot light that burns propane continually. Eliminating that constant flow of propane for the pilot light will help to conserve on the energy you use.
2. Scheduling regular maintenance. A clean furnace is an efficient furnace. You'll waste propane if your furnace has to work extra hard to push heated air through a dirty filter or a dust-filled unit. Most HVAC professionals recommend having your furnace checked once a year before the cold weather season begins and changing your filter at least once a month during the winter.
3. Filling your tank in the summer. Propane is a commodity and is subject to fluctuations in price due to demand. Because of this, you'll pay less to fill up your tank during the warm weather months than you will in September and October when all of your neighbors are worried about staying warm during the winter.
4. Joining a co-op. Many areas have organized fuel co-ops, where a group of homeowners get together and purchase their propane in bulk, qualifying them for a discount from the fuel company. Usually, these groups charge a nominal fee for administrative costs, but the savings more than make up for the fee. If your area doesn't already have such a group, talk with your neighbors about forming one.
5. Locking in your price. Some fuel companies offer the option of paying a fixed price for the coming year or several years. By doing this you lose any savings you might realize if the market price drops, but you won't be struggling to pay to fill your propane tank if the price skyrockets.
While there's no way to guarantee that your propane tank won't run low in the early spring months, you can reduce the likelihood of this happening by installing electric igniters on your furnace, buying your propane during the off season and inquiring at companies like Graves (John) Propane Of Arizona Inc about a fixed price.