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Five questions to ask when buying a home with propane heat

Important information about propane

In its natural state, propane is not considered a greenhouse gas and produces significantly fewer emissions than other energy options without compromising performance.

Dollar for dollar, using propane to fuel your home is similar in cost to other fuel options. Plus, because propane burns more efficiently--meaning it creates more heat--propane is often more affordable for many homeowners.

A propane-fueled home is an excellent choice to make for the environment and your budget, but it does come with a few considerations if you're used to oil, natural gas, and electricity. Here are 5 questions to be sure you ask when buying a home with propane.

What is propane being used for?

Propane is most commonly used for heating homes. It can also be used to power appliances like stoves, water heaters, fireplaces, clothes dryers, and even outdoor cookers and standby generators. On the other hand, just because a home is equipped with propane doesn't mean it's being used throughout. Knowing which appliances are using propane will help you determine your annual usage and budget. You'll also have a chance to consider additional costs if you plan on upgrading any appliances to propane in the future.

Who owns the propane tank?

The propane tank is either owned by the homeowner or leased from the fuel company. A propane tank can be a big investment upfront and this cost will likely be reflected in the price of the home. But, you'll save on monthly fees and have the freedom to choose your own propane supplier.

If it's leased, you'll save on repair and future replacement costs and enjoy worry-free management of the tank and fuel. Make sure you ask the seller about their current supplier and the process for transferring the lease before you enter into a contract. In some cases, you may still be able to choose your own propane supplier with a leased tank, but changing suppliers will require a few more steps.

How large is the propane tank?

Useful information about propane and propane tanks

The larger the tank, the less frequently you'll need to refill it. This is also key information if the home's appliances are not all propane, and you'd like to upgrade them in the future. Is the size of the tank large enough to accommodate the extra usage?

You should also consider the current homeowner's usage and think about how your family will match up. If your family is larger or you typically have higher energy usage, then it's essential to have a tank that's large enough. If not, you could risk running out of propane and having to schedule an emergency refill.

If you're not sure what your usage might be, check with the propane supplier who can help you work out an accurate estimate.

Where is the tank located?

Propane tanks are located either above ground or underground. Above ground placement allows for better access and easier maintenance. Underground installations are a little more discreet as they're hidden from view. This can protect the tank from damage and vandalism while providing you a bit more room to enjoy the yard.

You should also ask about the location of the gas lines. If renovations are done to the home or yard, you'll want to make sure those lines are protected to avoid a propane gas leak and expensive repairs.

What is the maintenance history?

Much like purchasing a used car, the more complete the maintenance records, the better the transaction will be for you. A propane tank and gas lines require regular maintenance and inspection to work properly and have a long working life. The appliances running on propane also need routine maintenance so ask for those records, too.

Missing records may just mean the homeowner isn't great with paperwork. It could also point to a lack of maintenance. If records are not available or if they are incomplete, be sure to have the tank inspected by an expert before moving forward.

Need help?

If you're thinking about buying a home with propane, enlist Petro’s propane services to have all your heating needs met. We understand, support, and service propane tanks and equipment so you can be confident you're making the right decision.

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