As fall fades and winter creeps in, it’s vital to make sure your heating system is fully operational. Many homes use propane for a number of purposes, including running appliances, space heaters, water heaters, backup power, fireplaces and more. As you get ready for cold weather, here’s a checklist for your propane heating system:
Call a professional: You should have your propane heating system examined yearly. A qualified technician can test and check your system, highlighting any areas of concern before winter hits. It’s important to develop a schedule for annual cleaning and inspection — especially if you’re new to a home and there’s no existing schedule in place.
Check your appliances: A qualified technician can also help check your appliances, ensuring they are in full working order and running at peak efficiency before the coldest months of the year. For example, your water heater should be set to no more than 120 degrees — this and other efficiency steps can help reduce your heating bill.
Install detectors: In addition to carbon monoxide detectors, your home should be equipped with well-charged propane detectors. While rare, propane leaks are possible. Propane is denser than air, so it will collect at the lowest possible point in the area of the leak. Place detectors accordingly.
Establish autofill: In the depths of winter, the last thing you want to do is head out into the cold and check your propane levels. By opting into an autofill program, you don’t have to worry about how much propane is in your tank. Your provider will fill the tank before the coldest months of the year and check it regularly to top it off.
Your propane tank should never fall below 20 percent capacity. If it runs out entirely, your pilot light will extinguish, and you’ll have to arrange for a qualified technician to perform a leak check and reconnect your gas.
Stay ahead of the weather: Extreme winter weather can create a problem for propane customers. Homeowners must increase the amount of propane they use, and harsh conditions can limit the transportation and shipping of propane — increased demand with reduced supply. That’s why it’s so vital to get on an autofill program that keeps you fully stocked even when winter weather strikes. If you choose not to use an autofill program, stay on top of forecasts and check or fill your propane accordingly.
Start early: The price of propane ebbs and flows with supply and demand, just like with any other fuel. You’ll typically find the best prices in the middle of summer, well before the use of propane spikes. Fill your propane tank in June or July to ensure you miss the price increases of September and October.
Manage your account online: Just as autofill ensures you never have to worry about your propane level, autopay ensures you never experience a service slowdown for nonpayment. Autofill your tank and autopay your bill, and then sit back to enjoy winter’s beauty from the warm comfort of your propane-heated home.
Family-owned for 94 years, Foster Fuels can be your local source for expert guidance as you get ready for the coldest months of the year. We provide full propane services, and we can partner with you to ensure you and your family stay safe and comfortable this winter.