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how to prepare your home propane system for winter

When winter comes around, so does the chilly weather. Your first instinct is to turn the temperature on your thermostat up and let your propane heating system do the rest. Propane needs to be in gas form to heat your home, but it can turn from a gas to a liquid at -44 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it’s unlikely that your area will experience temperatures this low.

While the winter chill can affect your propane tank, the pressure is more important than the temperature. The cold can lessen the pressure in your propane tank, preventing propane from heating your home efficiently. You can prevent a decrease in pressure by preparing your propane system for the cold season.

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Shipley Energy
Shipley Energy

Check Your Propane Supply

In the summer, you won’t use much propane, if any at all. When the temperature starts dropping and you turn on your propane heating system, your fuel supply will naturally begin to deplete. You may think half a tank is enough to get you through the winter, but you can run out sooner than you think.

Cold weather will increase your energy demands, and you’ll be using your heating system every day. Your propane heating system will work harder in the winter, especially if you live in a colder environment, and you’ll want to be prepared.

Starting in the fall, and once the temperature drops, create a weekly schedule to monitor your fuel supply. If your propane fuel levels begin to dip below the halfway mark, you’ll want to schedule a professional to refill your tank as soon as possible. A full tank ensures you and your family will be kept warm during the winter months. Continuous checks will prevent you from running out of fuel in freezing temperatures or a storm.

While it is possible to request an emergency refill from your propane supplier, you don’t want to be left in the cold while you wait for your emergency fuel to be delivered. Instead, you should either enroll in automatic deliveries or contact your propane supplier once you’ve determined your fuel supply is running low.

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Make Sure Your Propane System Is Working Efficiently

Up until the temperature starts to drop, you’ve likely only been running your air conditioner for the last couple of months to keep the heat at bay. Now that it’s time to kick-start your propane heating system, you’ll want to ensure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Ideally, you don’t want to wait until you need your heating system running properly to perform maintenance. If a problem exists and you haven’t made the necessary repairs, you may be left without heat for the first few colder days.

Check your heating system throughout the year to prepare for future maintenance costs. Annual inspections are also an excellent idea to ensure your system is working as it should. Schedule an inspection with a certified technician each year to determine if your system needs any repairs or replacements to keep your home warm during the winter months. Hiring a professional is more efficient than conducting these inspections yourself and will save you money in the long run.

Your technician should look at your tank, ducts, furnace, and other essential components responsible for heating your home. They’ll ensure each is functioning correctly and make any recommendations for repairs or replacements. Like with maintenance, consider scheduling inspections before you need your heating system. Waiting until the temperatures drop can make it challenging to set an appointment since winter is a busy season for many HVAC technicians.

Planning gives you time to set up other necessary appointments for repairs or replacements and ensures you’ll have heat once you need it, keeping you and your loved ones warm through winter.

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Fix Drafts or Insulation Issues

fix drafts or insulation issues

Heat is naturally attracted to cold air. If your home isn’t properly sealed from drafts or has insulation issues, heat could escape. Your furnace will have to work harder to catch up, increasing the strain on it and raising your heating costs. Your home may not feel as warm as the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat, and your propane supply will dwindle more quickly than it should.

Drafts can happen in any home area where cracks or gaps develop, such as doors, windows, ceilings, and similar sites. A professional can conduct an inspection to determine if you have any drafts and seal the gaps with caulk or weatherstripping.

Additionally, a professional HVAC technician can inspect your insulation to determine if you have enough or if any damage is present. Sometimes, homes are built without enough insulation to prevent warm air from escaping. Installing additional insulation is a simple fix.

Your insulation can also become damaged over time. The elements, pests, and natural deterioration can reduce insulation’s quality, preventing it from functioning as it should. Your HVAC technician can spot the signs of damage and replace your insulation so it can stop warm air from escaping your home.

You’ll also want to change your furnace filter once a month to allow proper airflow through your heating system. Dust and other particles can gather in your filter, forcing your furnace to work harder to maintain your ideal home temperature. Filter issues paired with drafts and damaged insulation can damage your propane heating system and drive up your monthly heating bill.

Handle Your Propane Tank With Care

Your propane tank is a vital part of heating your home, so it’s essential to ensure it’s properly taken care of during the winter months. A few things you can do to ensure your tank is handled with the utmost care include:

  • Clearing a path: When your propane supplier comes to refill your tank, they’ll need at least 10 feet of space. Clear away any bushes, overgrowth, trash cans, or other items that could prevent suppliers from reaching your tank.
  • Marking the location: Snow buildup can make it difficult for propane suppliers to identify your tank, especially in emergencies. Mark your tank with a flag or other brightly colored object so professionals can find it at all times.
  • Familiarizing yourself with the components: Understanding how your tank works will help you quickly identify the need for repairs during an emergency. You’ll also be able to easily find and close your gas valve if necessary.
  • Preventing snow or ice accumulation: Use a broom to clear away ice or snow built up around your propane tank, meter, and other components. Snow and ice buildup can cause leaks and shifting parts.

Proper care of your propane tank will prevent frequent repairs and keep your home heated during the winter.

Check Your Fuel Before a Storm

People prepare for winter storms differently, but many individuals don’t often think of checking their fuel supply beforehand. A storm can prevent an HVAC technician or your propane supplier from reaching your location, especially if roads are closed or other hazards are present. It’s even more important to check your fuel supply ahead of time in areas that don’t see a lot of winter weather.

When winter storms hit these areas, they tend to shut down, and schools, government offices, and other facilities close until the weather has passed. Their infrastructure isn’t always prepared for these winter storms. Shutdowns can make it challenging for a technician to reach you and refill your fuel supply if you run out in the middle of the storm. You could be left without heat when you need it most, making you and your family vulnerable to the elements.

If weather forecasters believe a storm is on the way, check your fuel supply and determine whether a refill is necessary. You’ll keep yourself and your loved ones safe and warm by preparing ahead of time.

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Keep Your Propane Tank Filled With Shipley Energy

Having enough propane to last through winter is essential for keeping your home warm and comfortable for you and your loved ones. Shipley Energy Home Services has been in business for over 90 years, supplying our customers with the fuel they need to heat their homes.

We make ordering propane online easier than ever, with different prices and plans available so you can choose the best option for your budget. Get in touch with our team today to start, or call us at 1-800-839-1849.

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Came home from being away for a week amd didnt realize in the new home how much propane we would use. Called other companies, including the one that serviced here before, and they all told me a week (wind chill currently at 0). Called shipley, set up automatic delivery, and for a small service fee got same day delivery!