If you're moving into a home with a propane-based heating system for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions. From the way it's delivered and stored to the way it burns, propane differs from the more popular natural gas in many ways. Thankfully, it's a pretty safe and simple fuel to utilize once you know the basics. Here's what you need to know as a new resident in a home with propane heat.
All about the Propane Tank
Instead of being continuously delivered through pipelines like natural gas, propane is stored on your property in a large tank. Take a minute to inspect this tank more closely. You'll notice that there is a shut-off valve. This should be labeled, and it's important that you know where it is in case you ever have to turn off the propane supply to your home because there's a leak or some other emergency.
Also make note of the tank gauge. This gauge shows you how much propane is left. You'll want to check it every week or so until you get a handle on how quickly you burn through propane. When the tank gets low, you'll need to call a propane supply company to come fill it. A good guideline is to make this call when the tank reaches ¼ capacity so that you have plenty of fuel to tide you over if your supplier can't make it out for a few more days.
Propane is stored in the tank as a liquid. It flows into your home and to the furnace through a system of pipes, which usually run below ground.
All about Your Propane Furnace and Propane Safety
Your furnace generates heat by burning the propane. As long as your furnace is in good condition, the propane should burn cleanly and result in very little exhaust. What little is produced will be vented out of your home via a chimney or PVC vent pipe (depending on your furnace's design).
You should not smell propane when your furnace is operating. If you do smell an odor similar to skunk spray or rotten eggs, this indicates a propane leak. Turn off your furnace immediately and then go outside and turn the shut-off valve on your propane tank. Do not return to your home, as inhaling propane can be dangerous. Then, call your propane retailer or HVAC technician from a service like Nebraska Heating & Air to come investigate and find the source of the leak.
Propane leaks and other issues are rare, but it is important to know what to do on the off chance that something goes wrong. Propane is a very clean, safe heating option, and if you keep the advice above in mind, you'll have an easy time relying on it as your heating fuel.