If you pay close attention to your propane energy bill, you’ve probably noticed that your bill is actually lower in the summer. You may take it as a pleasant surprise and then put it out of your mind, but have you ever wondered why that is? You’re not the only one with a lower propane bill in the summertime. It may not make sense — you’re running the air conditioner, using the gas grill and taking advantage of your other outdoor propane appliances.
Your fuel costs are an important thing to keep track of in your budget. If you can save money on your propane costs, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that? Below you’ll find why propane prices are cheaper during certain times of the year and how you can use that to your advantage.
Why Propane Prices Fluctuate
When you refill your home propane tank or portable ones for other appliances, you pay per gallon of propane that you need. Your propane use depends on the time of year. In the winter, you’re using propane to keep your home warm as well as to fuel your propane appliances, like your oven or dryer. In the summer, you probably don’t have as much propane usage.
Here are some factors that affect propane usage:
- Supply: If your propane supplier is receiving intermittent deliveries of propane, it has to delegate when and how much propane to sell throughout the year. How much propane is made throughout the year also depends on several factors, like the weather where the propane is being extracted from.
- Demand: Propane consumers’ demand is probably the biggest factor that affects propane pricing. Propane is in much higher demand in the winter than the summer, making its price higher in the winter. If more people want and need propane refills in the winter, propane suppliers are able to raise the cost. It’s necessary to raise the cost during higher demands because, with a higher demand, the supply goes down.
- Delivery: Delivery is a smaller factor but still one to consider. In the winter, for many parts of the country, there is inclement weather. If there is lots of snow, ice or high winds, it will affect your propane supplier’s delivery capabilities. Your supplier may not be able to complete as many deliveries or may have to pay employees overtime in order to get all the deliveries done. This factor totally relies on your own propane supplier.
There are also always unexpected factors that could affect propane prices. Sometimes things happen that no one can control that can raise or lower prices. Even though it’s typical that propane is cheaper in the summer, that is not always the case. If saving money on propane is extremely important to you, you should check in with your supplier for estimates.
Summer Usage vs. Winter Usage
Propane is used for different purposes depending on the time of year. In the winter, your main propane usage will come from heating your home. Unlike summer usage, which happens more intermittently, your home’s heater is running constantly. Even if you’re not home for periods during the winter, you still have to keep the heat on to keep pipes from freezing. In the summer, there’s no propane appliance that’s running non-stop.
On top of your heating, you may have other propane uses during the winter. If your oven, dryer or other appliances are hooked up to your propane line, you’re using up your propane supply even more.
In the summer, your propane usage will be less regular. You’ll still be using your oven and dryer, but you’re not using propane to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Even if your dryer and oven run off propane, there are ways to avoid using those appliances in the summer. Make a salad for dinner once a week or hang your clothes outside on a clothesline to dry to lower your summer propane usage.
There are some propane uses that you’ll only have during the summer. You may have outdoor appliances that run on propane. Some of these appliances include:
- Pool heaters
- Patio heaters
- Outdoor lighting
- Gas grills
Unlike your home heating, you only use these appliances when you need them. If you’re going on vacation for a week, you won’t be using any propane at all. In the summer, you have much more control over how much propane you’re using.
Summer Refill Options
When it’s time to refill your home’s propane tank, you have a few options. How you choose to refill your propane tank is up to you. Here are the three main ways to refill your propane tank:
- Auto refills: Make sure you never run out of propane when you opt for automatic refills. Your supplier will monitor your propane levels for you and stop by for a refill when it reaches a certain level. If you don’t have time to keep an eye on your propane levels, this is an easy and convenient option.
- Will calls: If you like having control over your propane refills, you can opt for this refill choice. For this option, however, it’s entirely up to you to monitor your propane levels in the tank. Be careful that you don’t run out of propane! It would be helpful to set reminders for yourself or mark on your calendar when to check the propane levels so you’re doing so regularly.
- Emergency refills: If you do accidentally run out of propane, you’ll have to call in for an emergency refill. An emergency refill will be more expensive, so it’s smart to avoid having to resort to this option. If you are a will call customer and run out of fuel, a system pressure test will have to be completed before placing your system back in operation.
If you want to save money on propane, get a refill in the summer!
For more information about propane pricing or to learn more about our products and services, contact Foster Fuels today!