Propane is a popular source of energy because it is delivered directly by a propane company to your property and stored in a large propane tank outside your home. This is particularly convenient if you are not connected to the natural gas piping network or if you are looking for an alternative (and often cheaper) source of energy to electricity or heating oil.
Propane delivery process
Propane is delivered by specialized trucks with their own, larger, tank. These trucks, called bobtail trucks, are specifically equipped to drive onto your property and pump propane into your tank. Therefore, the first requirement in terms of propane delivery is to ensure your propane tank is accessibly by road and that nothing hinders the propane truck when it comes to fill your tank (such as cables).
Running out of propane
Controlling propane delivery is important for two reasons: First, running out of propane means your propane appliances stop functioning (this is particularly inconvenient in winter since propane is often used to heat homes); second, running out of propane implies having a leak test (which is required by law and involves your propane company checking your propane system for potential leaks before it can be turned on again).
The most convenient form of propane delivery is automatic delivery. This means it is up to your propane company to monitor your propane usage and fill your tank when it reaches a certain level (around 20% capacity). Usually, propane companies estimate your consumption and schedule deliveries accordingly.
Automatic delivery is convenient because you do not have to systematically check your tank level or be at home when they fill your tank. However, it is advisable to keep an eye on your tank capacity and call the propane company when you expect they will delivery to check the price at which they intend to charge you for propane and ensure it is as close as possible to the market price.
Will-call delivery implies that you call your propane company each time you need your propane tank filled. This requires you to monitor the level of propane in your tank and order a delivery when your tank capacity reaches 20%. Propane tank level is done by checking the fixed dial gauge, which indicates how full your tank is.
Will-call delivery also means you have to be home for each delivery. However, it allows you to plan for propane deliveries when the price per gallon is lowest. For example, if your tank is at 40% capacity but the propane price is low, nothing stops you from ordering a delivery and saving on the propane price until the next delivery.
Other delivery and pricing options
Whether you are on automatic delivery or will-call, some propane companies also offer fixed pricing, which can be advantageous if well-negotiated and convenient in terms of budget planning. Similarly, propane companies sometimes offer the possibility or paying in several installments or offer a discount if a delivery is paid in full and on time.
Advantages of comparing delivery services
Therefore, it is advisable to find out what various propane companies offer before making a decision. Your interest is to find the right combination in terms of pricing and peace of mind and the best way of doing that is by comparing what different companies offer in terms of propane delivery. It is important to note that should you need propane urgently, propane companies charge special fees that vary between $100-200.