Are you considering buying a house with a propane heating system? Or maybe you want to slash energy costs by converting your existing HVAC unit? Either way, you are making a smart choice. Propane furnaces typically cost less to repair than electric heat pumps, run cleaner, and are more efficient than a fuel oil furnace. However, before making a major financial investment, it is important to ask questions. Ask the following questions when purchasing a home with propane heat.
1. Which Appliances Run on Propane?
The heating system may not be the only thing in your new home that runs on
propane. Ask what other appliances use the versatile fuel. Water heaters, stoves, clothes dryers, and fireplaces can also run on propane. You can also find this information on the seller’s most recent safety inspection. The document should list the number and type of appliances in the home that run on propane.
2. Who Owns the Propane Tank?
Just like water heaters and furnaces, you can rent a propane tank at a monthly
fee or purchase one outright from the fuel company. There are pros and cons to each option. When you own your propane tank outright, you do not need to worry about rental fees. However, as the owner, you will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance, as well as the cost of a new tank if needed. When you rent a propane tank, you do not have to worry about repairs or replacement and most fuel companies will transfer the tank when the house is sold. However, you will be stuck with the monthly payments indefinitely.
3. How Old is the Heating System?
Nearly half of the energy in the average home goes to heating and cooling. To save money on heating costs, you want to make sure that your propane heating system is as efficient as possible. Ask about the age of the existing system in the home you are interested in buying. Most systems have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. If your propane system has reached or surpassed its life expectancy, you will likely be looking at a replacement in the near future.
4. What is the Capacity of the Propane Tank?
Knowing the size of the propane tank is important to ensure that it is large enough to accommodate your home without having to wait for frequent deliveries. Propane tanks range in size from 120 to 1,000 gallons. When you have a larger tank, you can count on fewer deliveries. Ask about the size of the tank and how often it usually needs to be refilled.
5. Is the Tank Above or Below Ground?
While having an above ground or below ground propane tank does not affect performance, it can affect your property’s appearance. Below ground tanks are more aesthetically-pleasing as they are placed below the ground’s surface, allowing more room to enjoy your yard. However, most rental propane tanks are placed above the ground as this is a more cost-effective option.
6. Do You Have Any Maintenance Records?
Everyone knows that heating systems require regular maintenance to keep them working at peak efficiency. Propane heating is no different. Ask the homeowner if he or she has a record of maintenance tasks performed on the propane heating system. The homeowner should also have the documentation that proves ownership. Be wary of homeowners who have no documentation showing proof of sale or maintenance.
7. Is the Propane Furnace Energy Efficient?
The efficiency of your propane furnace plays a direct role in your energy costs. Ask about the furnace fuel efficiency ratings, the measurement known as the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). All modern furnaces have this rating which can usually be found on the yellow “EnergyGuide” label which is required by the Federal Trade Commission. On the EnergyGuide you will find the estimated annual operating costs.
Advantages of Propane Heating
If you are not familiar with propane heating systems, you may be hesitant to purchase a home that runs on propane. However, you will soon come to find that the decision to buy a home with propane heating is a wise one. Propane offers a number of benefits over alternative heat sources. It is also one of the most versatile and economical fuel options. Propane can be used for a wide range of appliances, from ranges to pool heaters.
Another major advantage of using propane heat in your home is its environmentally-friendly properties. Propane is clean burning and surpasses other fossil and renewable fuels. It is also safer to use in your home. In the event of a leak, the propane gas will simply vaporize, rather than cause a potentially serious problem. As propane heaters can last up to 20 years, you will feel secure in your investment knowing you will not have to purchase a new heating system anytime soon.
Purchasing a home with a propane heating system or upgrading your existing heating system to propane can be an advantageous endeavor. A propane-operated furnace or boiler operates at efficiency levels above 90 percent. By converting to a high-efficiency propane heating system, you could save money while reaping other benefits of propane like consistent heating. Propane is convenient to use and store, and can be delivered directly to your door. It is no wonder why Americans use more than 18 billion gallons of propane each year to heat homes, run vehicles, cook food, heat water, and dry clothes.
Contact the Propane Experts at RBrooks
RBrooks is a local, family-owned and operated company serving homeowners throughout Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania since 2001. Our experienced team of HVAC technicians provides comprehensive heating and cooling services with great attention to detail. If you are buying a home with a propane heating system or considering converting your existing heating system to propane, you will want the skill, knowledge, and experience of our HVAC professionals. Contact our team today to schedule a free estimate or for a propane heating system install. We also offer 24/7 emergency furnace repair in the event that your heating system suddenly breaks down.