Whether you are moving into a new home or want your propane bill to decrease, it can be useful to know how to save on propane costs.
Switching propane dealers to save on propane
An option, if you want to save on propane, is to look for a better propane deal. There are thousands of suppliers around the United States and it is possible that one or several are able to offer you a more attractive contract in terms of pricing. However, remember that propane contracts include more than just the residential propane price so you should enquire about other fees and services, such as fixed price options, delivery fees, maintenance fees, etc. Ultimately, you ought to have a global idea of what the company will charge you and the services it will charge you for.
Factors to consider when changing propane retailers to save on propane
When looking around for an alternative propane supplier, there are several other issues you should consider. First, if you do not own your propane tank but lease it from your current supplier you are not allowed to fill it with propane from another company. Changing propane companies will involve having your current tank removed and requesting the company you select to install a new one or buying your own propane tank. Second, you should check that the prices offered by competing propane companies reflect the current residential price and not an initial discounted price for new customers (otherwise you may have an unpleasant surprise after a few months).
It is not recommended to switch suppliers only because the pricing is different. When choosing a different propane company, ensure that your new company has good safety standards and reputation. Similarly, you might not want a propane company that offers lower propane prices but that does not offer satisfying services in terms of maintenance or customer care. Of the three largest propane companies in the United States, the Better Business Bureau places Amerigas ahead of Suburban Propane and Ferrellgas. But smaller dealers should not be neglected: Propane One, United Propane Gas, Southern States Cooperative and Thompson Gas all have good global BBB ratings (ratings can differ if state outlets have been rated independently from headquarters).
Improving energy efficiency
The easiest way to figure out how to save on your propane bill is to reduce your propane usage. This implies a better knowledge of your propane appliances system to understand which propane appliances you use most, which consume more propane and when you use each appliance. For example, you may decide to heat your home only when there are occupants in it or to reduce how much you use your clothes dryer.
Using appliance BTU ratings to increase energy efficiency and save on propane
Propane appliances are convenient because each one has a BTU rating. British Thermal Units (BTUs) are used to measure how much propane each appliance needs for an hour. For example, a 12,000 BTU/hr air conditioner will require 12,000 BTU to run for an hour. Given that there are 91,500 BTUs for a gallon of propane, this means the 12,000 BTU/hr air conditioner needs 0.13 gallons of propane if you use it for an hour at maximum power.
With this in mind, using propane affords you a certain degree of control over your energy usage (since you know how much energy each appliance uses and can therefore decide what appliances you prefer to use depending on your energy-saving goals). Similarly, BTU ratings enable you to improve energy efficiency by choosing propane-run appliances whose BTU rating match the reason you need a specific appliance.
In other words, BTU ratings will help you decide how powerful (in BTU ratings) you need your indoor air conditioner to be or whether you can save energy and save on propane by replacing an appliance that is heavy on propane with one that has a lower BTU rating. Your propane company should be able to help you determine which appliances are appropriate and energy-efficient for different uses.
Energy-saving tips that will help you save on propane
Various general energy-saving tips for propane users should get you started. For central heating, clean furnace filters improve energy efficiency. You may also choose to use heaters with thermostats (so you can decrease the temperature when not at home) or use the intermittent fan to circulate the warm air around the room. Turning down your water heater from 140 degrees (standard temperature) to 130 degrees can make you save up to 10% on water heating and draining it regularly (every six months) improves efficiency, as will installing flow-restricting showerheads (without affecting pressure) or running washing machines and clothes dryers will full loads.