The Propane Education & Research Council and propane industry are taking proactive steps this fall to ensure that propane heating customers and agribusiness operators, among others, fill up early and make arrangements with propane providers to keep their tanks full.
"America makes more than enough propane to meet U.S. demand, yet the transportation challenges we faced last winter stressed many propane providers and customers," said Roy Willis, PERC president and CEO. "The best thing propane customers can do to avoid any weather-related difficulties this winter is fill their tanks now."
A multimedia safety campaign, featuring TV and online advertising in states hit hardest last winter by temporary price surges and deliverability challenges, began Sept. 9. The campaign directs customers to the Propane Comfort website where they can take a quiz to determine if they are adequately prepared.
For those who haven't already made arrangements, the quiz encourages users to consider early fills, automatic refills, and payment programs.
According to Willis, the most important step customers can take this winter is a simple one: to start a conversation with their local propane provider.
"By filling tanks early, customers and propane retailers, many of whom are small businesses, can better plan for supply needs and work together to ensure that everyone has a comfortable and safe winter. Because delivery and payment programs vary by company, it's important that customers have a conversation with their provider to start making plans for winter today."
Top 5 safety and efficiency tips for storing, using and purchasing propane this winter
PERC recommends that residential consumers follow a few steps to ensure a worry-free winter of propane use.
1. Make sure that you have an adequate propane supply. Ask your propane provider about payment programs and scheduling regular visits so that there's always enough propane in your tank. This will help avoid ever running empty if inaccessible roads delay deliveries.
2. Confirm that your heating system and appliances are running efficiently. Before the start of each heating season, have a qualified service technician inspect and service your appliances and propane system. When appliances are running as efficiently as possible, you conserve fuel and save money.
3. Install and set a programmable thermostat. You could save an estimated 10% per year on heating costs by using a programmable thermostat, and by resetting it when you are asleep or away from home you won't have to sacrifice comfort.
4. Use sunlight to your advantage. During winter months, you can take advantage of sunlight by opening your curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home.
5. Reduce energy for water heating. Water heating is a large energy expense, accounting for about 14% to 18% of most home utility bills. By taking low-cost steps such as making sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit and installing low-flow showerheads or temperature sensitive shower valves, you can reduce your water heating bills.