Choosing Propane

by | Dec 22, 2014 | Blog | 0 comments

As we approach the colder months of the year, people may be paying more attention to their propane needs. Propane, often called natural gas beyond the mains, has similar burning characteristics to natural gas as far as efficiency is concerned. However, propane is slightly more expensive than natural gas because of the required infrastructure.

While natural gas only needs to be extracted and sent through a pipe, propane production requires trucks for transportation and tanks for storage. For this reason, most people choose natural gas over propane if it is available in their area. Propane will typically be comparable in price to a heat pump, or less expensive than oil and electric baseboard heat.

Boulden Brothers always maintains ownership of the tank, mainly because of the required maintenance that homeowners are traditionally not prepared to do themselves. We install both above ground and underground tanks and we will take care of all the responsibility involved with maintaining the tank. (This is especially necessary for homeowners who choose underground tanks, because there have been some recent changes in the cathodic protection requirements.)

When we install an underground propane tank, we bury it with a magnesium anode that draws any potential corrosion away from the steel tank itself. By regulation, it must be checked at the time of installation, within six months of installation, and then every three years thereafter. Homeowners can be confident that this maintenance will be done reliably and in a timely manner because we offer full service for all household propane needs.

In terms of choosing between an above ground and underground tank, the main consideration would be whether you want it to be hidden from view. Most people choose an underground tank because of this reason. The exception would be for people that don’t use propane for their home’s heat. If it is used for a fireplace or cooking, we can install a smaller tank and place it right next to the house. It can then be hidden to a certain degree with landscaping.

Boulden Brothers encourages homeowners to sign up for automatic delivery to ensure that propane is always available when needed. We use degree days and history to determine when the home will be due for delivery. We then try to schedule delivery when the tank is between 20 and 25 percent. Otherwise, homeowners can occasionally monitor their tank’s propane levels and call us once it is down to around 30 percent. This will give us adequate time since we need about five working days to schedule deliveries. Especially during these cold months, we may experience inclement weather that increases delivery time.

If you have an underground tank, there is a small plastic gauge that can be lifted and read to monitor the amount of propane. Some people may think this dial measures pounds of pressure, but it actually measures percent. 80 to 85 percent is a full tank (allowing room for expansion). Additionally, we do offer wireless tank monitors for propane tanks used in heat pump backups or generators that are not used on a consistent basis. Otherwise, for home heating or hot water, we can usually calculate use accurately using our degree day system.

If you would like to learn more about propane tank installation in your home, give us a call today.