When a utility company extends the natural gas pipeline into rural areas, homeowners are offered the choice of hooking up to the utility or continuing to rely on their existing heating system. Many rural homeowners use liquid propane gas (LPG) to heat their homes and wonder whether they should make the switch. Consider some sound reasons to continue using propane.
The Option to Lock In a Price
Propane prices tend to fluctuate more dramatically than natural gas prices do during the heating season. That can mean spending more per gallon in harsh winter temperatures than would be the case with natural gas. However, propane buyers can set a specific price with the supplier before the heating season begins. Suppliers typically offer two types of contracts for consistent pricing.
The most advantageous option involves paying for the entire season's fuel before the first delivery. Not everyone has that amount of cash on hand, so suppliers also offer a fixed-price contract at a slightly higher cost per gallon. The customer agrees to buy a certain number of gallons from this particular company at a specific price. The homeowners must pay invoices within a certain time frame after each delivery or risk having the contract canceled.
The Ability to Closely Monitor Usage
The propane tank has a gauge allowing the homeowner to see the percentage of LPG the family uses every day. If they are burning more than they would like, they can devise strategies to use less.
Natural gas usage, in contract, can't be so closely monitored. The homeowner finds out with each successive bill how much fuel the house required the previous month.
The Need to Convert Appliances
A furnace technician can convert a propane furnace to a natural gas heating system, but there is a fee for this service. In addition, many rural homeowners use propane not only for the furnace but for appliances such as the range and oven, water heater and clothes dryer. If this is true for you, you'd need to get those appliances converted as well. However, not every appliance can be converted.
The Charge for Connecting to the Pipeline
The utility service would need to extend a pipe from the main line to your residence. Find out all charges for hooking up with the utility service and determine whether the price is acceptable. The service may offer a rebate since they want you to be a customer.
Once you consider all these factors, you can make an informed decision about whether to switch to natural gas or stick with propane. For more information, talk to a professional like Stony Propane Ltd.