Skip to comments.Is my propane company committing fraud or creating a safety hazard? (New Hampshire vanity)
Posted on 02/06/2013 8:52:17 PM PST by AlmaKing
Yes, this is a vanity, but I figure some Freepers might have better answers than what I'm finding in web searches.
EnergyNorth Propane made a delivery to my tank this morning. My tank was already 70% full. I have not been using my furnace for heating this winter, not once. I've relied on 2 space heaters, so I have essentially converted to 100% electric heat which is a lot cheaper than using the propane furnace that came with the house.
The bill indicated 70 gallons of propane was delivered at $3.17 per gallon and also indicated the initial tank fill percentage was 70% and the final fill percentage was 80%. I knew something was wrong because my tank holds only 220 gallons and 70 gallons would be a 30% fill-up.
I inspected the regulator and found the tank fill percentage was 100%. I took pictures of this. Per my contract, they are supposed to fill the tank to a max of 80% to avoid leakage.
They've done this two months in a row. They know I have not used propane for the whole winter, so they're losing money on me.
Is this billing illegal?
Is filling a residential propane tank to 100% capacity a safety hazard and/or illegal?
I’ve been studying that for a while now. At a block party last summer, us neighbors shared our propane bills and found them to be comparable. We have similar model homes in a 25 home cul-de-sac. I also monitor the price of propane regularly.
One thing I am suspicious of is that the heat could be going right out the windows since all the floor vents are situated next to windows. The two space heaters keep the living spaces warmer with much less effort than the furnace.
I’ve checked for adequate and correct attic insulation, I caulked around all my windows, I even put up insulation on the windows last year to no effect, and I checked the whole house for drafts and leaks without finding any. I just think the whole system is somehow inefficient.
We've done the same -- using three oil-filled DeLonghi space heaters at 300w or 900w each and have only turned on the furnace/heat pump for a few minutes on a couple of really cold mornings.
We also have a propane tank and it is filled to the 80% mark on the gauge and no more.
I’ve contemplated those options all day!
But, I signed the stupid contract when I moved into the house without knowing the extent of the bills. It felt like having to join a union just to get a job.
How long is the contract? What are the terms? Is there an early exit clause? what is it? Having a bill in the $500 range for heat a month seems rather high. Especially if you are able to heat the home with a couple space heaters. It can’t be a large home.
Yes, that was the point. And now the propane company has discovered my plot and intends to extract money from my pocket any way it can.
It was a block-headed joke.
Or it was a stupid delivery person who didn’t expect an occupied home to have used no propane. You ought to ask them to take enough back to bring it to 80% and pay you for it.
It’s a 5 year contract, so that’s coming due sometime soon. The house has 1900 sq. ft. excluding the basement and attached garage. It just seems like maybe the house is poorly insulated. I even thought about filling the walls and attic with that spray in foam insulation at one point, but that costs something in the range of $15k.
The best thing is to just move the family to a better state with a more moderate climate, but that takes time.
Propane should not evaporate from the tank. That would sure create a fire danger. Maybe a piping leak, might want to have it pressure tested. Have the propane supplier check all fittings on the tank with soapy water.
My neighbor is on auto fill and the propane truck seems to put more than a few gallons every month. I always prefer to call when I need gas. They are happy to bring a 100 gallons or more anytime.
I know that seems counter-intuitive but that is normal. The idea is that windows chill the air and cold air falls so the heat vents are located below them to put rising warm air there cutting the amount of cold transferred from the window to the air.
Ooops meant to CC AlmaKing.
Here’s another thought. From where does your propane furnace get its combustion air? Fire eats air, which will be made up through crevices in the construction from the outdoors, which is cold. Electric heat eats no air. Ideally the furnace would be located in a room sealed off from the rest of your living area, having an outdoor vent to get combustion air with. Then the cold air isn’t mixing with your living space air.
But normally the vents don’t blow right up against the window. That would increase heat loss.
Most do. They only come when called. We had that in the beginning but we weren’t watching it closely at all and then opted for the automatic refill.
Vents in a central heating system are always located under windows as well as other locations. At least in every house I have worked on.
I sold my propane co a few years ago to a major national co who are mostly all crooks and opportunists. They will play many pricing games.
Try to own your own tank. Only order after calling each co in your area.
don’t let tank run out
Re price of elect vs LPG - if memory serves me there are 3400 btu’s in 1 kilowatt and price per KW varies per your location. LpG has 91,000 BTU’s per gallon.
So about 27KW to equal 1 gallon of propane.
do that part of the math based on the prices in your area.
Usually tough for elect to be cheaper except certain regions of our country. Wholesale cost of propane goes
Up further away from oil refinery
Also look at the efficiency rating of each appliance ie water heater, furnace. Good lpg furnaces can be 95% each appliance has an info tag that if you’re willing to take the time you can zero in on good cost accounting.
The heat loss of yourhome will be the same whether you use gas or elect.
Most people live in areas served by natural gas - always much cheaper than eeither propane or elect
I don’t know much about furnaces. The furnace itself is actually in the cold concrete basement. The basement temp probably remains at 45 degrees in the winter. Now, there is a large vent in the living room which I’m guessing is some type of feeder since no air comes out of it when the furnace is on and I think I feel air moving into it.
Re: return air - be sure to keep the filters clean or replaced regular. Follow mfg info on filter for how many months between filter changes
This willhelp efficiency of your furnace.