Help me lower the propane bill....
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  1. #1
    Moderator baxjul's Avatar
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    Default Help me lower the propane bill....

    We have propane, piped in, and it is outrageous! $250.00/month. IN FLORIDA! The only thing on it is the water heater, and furnace. I've started lowering the furnace, and didn't even run it for a few days when it was warm out. Is there anything else I can do?


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  2. #2
    Moderator ladytoysdream's Avatar
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    Does your bill say how many gallons a month you are using ?

    We had been using 500 gallons a year, which at the last price we paid was $ 2.45 a gallon, in March of 2008. For heating, and cookstove.

    In Sept of 2008, we fired up a outside wood furnace. Which heats our house, and our domestic hot water. Propane usage, less than 50 gallons in a year now. Have to downsize the tank in March of this year. Going to have a unhappy propane company.

    You might want to have them double check your gauge, and connections.

    We made the decision not to be held hostage by the propane company anymore. No matter which direction the price went. I hate surprises.
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    Registered User nvmommyx6's Avatar
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    We have hot water heater, furnace and stove on propane, and their bills were getting ridiculous too. Somehow there was NO way we were using that much.
    So, I started cooking on an electric skillet, we installed a wood burning stove, turned down the hot water heater and documented all of that! Miraculously the following month our bill was still as high as before....so, we went out, bought our own regulator and tanks, filled them, and hooked our own stuff up to the house.
    When on our own tanks we were averaging (for 7 people with showers, laundry and cooking) 5 gallons a week!!!
    I had not paid on their bill for a few weeks and when he came to "lock out" the tank so we would have "NO" propane, that would mean no heat or cooking to them, even with children in the house!!! A$$holes!!
    I said, no worries, take your tank and shove it, we don't use it anymore anyway because we were tired of you ripping us off!!
    I would really look into where it is going if I were you!
    Good luck!
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    Furance - How old is it? Does it have a pilot light that burns all the time or is it an electric ignition? What is the energy star rating?

    Our gas furance was replaced this year and our natural gas usage has dropped because it doesn't have a pilot light the burns year round. Likewise, the old one was 50+ yers old, NOT energy efficant.

    Water heater - what heat level is it set to? Do you have to add a lot of cold water when you shower? Can you turn that heating level down some? Should be at least 120 to "kill" the bad things in the water, but anything over 120 is overkill. Is it wrapped in a heat blanket? $12 at the hardware store of insulation might help. How old is it? What is it's energy star rating?

    Sometimes the only way to really lower these costs is to upgrade the equipment to more efficent options.

    Good luck

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    Registered User suki's Avatar
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    We have our own propane tank and that amount certainly seems extremely high. I agree with all of the above suggestions and have to say that replacing the hot water heater may be worthwhile. My hot water heater sprung a leak and we replaced it last spring. I've been shocked at how much less propane we are using now... it was really gobbling it up. It was an older model and we have hard water so it had built up a heavy coat of lime inside. Anyway, with this one change we have reduced our propane usage by at least half.

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    Registered User Rosebush3's Avatar
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    I would wonder about a leak somewhere if you cut back so much and still the bill was so high. There must be some way to be checked between the meter and your house? I use propane here but it is in a tank, I only run a cookstove on it and I use about one tank a year. I remember when it was just $45 a tank but I believe now it's nearer to $100. Definitely check your energy ratings on your furnace and hot water heater and make sure they are functioning properly, and do get that water heater tank wrapped if you have the type that does have a tank. I would suggest, too, to schedule the hot water useage for a specific time of day and keep it off otherwise. The hot water here is run off the furnace - which runs off heating oil - which is expensive so often times it is left shut off until it is needed. It takes a few minutes to heat it as opposed to having to run many times a day to keep it heated.

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    Moderator baxjul's Avatar
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    Thank ladies. The furnace is newer, like 4 years old. The hot water tank is 3 years old. So, neither one are really that old. We do have a dishwasher, but it heats it's own water. hmmmm. I'll have to get dh outside to poke around the meter and see.


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    To find a leak, you put a bit of dishwashing soap and water. It will bubble up. It might take a few mins, however if you have a leak that's the way to find one.

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    Registered User mombottoo's Avatar
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    Do you have a tank on your property? I've never heard of a propane tank having a meter...I know the ones I've seen have a gauge that tells you what % of propane is left in the tank. If you have a tank, have your propane company check your valves & connections to make sure they aren't leaking.

    Turn down the temp on the hotwater heater to 120 degrees if you haven't done it already, set your thermostat a few degrees lower and since you are in FL you should be able to shut the furnace down on the days weather allows.

  10. #10
    Registered User Debbie-cat's Avatar
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    We have a tank on the property. We fill it when it becomes empty. It has the % gauge on it and no meter. When we first started turning on the furnance, we were going through a ton of propane! DH checked the furnance and adjusted it. The usage dropped considerably. Do not fill your tank full in the spring. You will lose quite a bit through expansion and contraction from the heat. We filled our 250 gallon tank in September and are sitting at 25% right now. We use propane for both heat and stove. Check for leaks and call the company and tell them there is something wrong with the lines. There is no way you should be using that much. Good luck!
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    Here in the middle of Kansas, we don't turn our furnace on until the temperature falls into the teens or lower and use an Infrared Heating System for our main source of heat - ours is a Sun Cloud, but there are other makers out there. My sister lives in southern Texas and the Sun Cloud is all she needs for heat. Ours costs about a $1 a day to run.

    Water:
    I also agree with turning your water heater temperature down. Depending on the tanks size and the number in your household, 120F may be too low. Between 125-130F may actually be more efficient. It needs to be hot enough to prevent bacterial growth (such as legionnaires disease). Do you drain the lime deposits and sediment out of your hot water heater periodically (every six months) to increase heating efficiency? Old water heaters filled with "crud" don't heat efficiently. Take quick showers - set a timer if necessary to time them and replace shower heads with flow-restricting showerheads. Make sure you only do full loads of laundry and full loads in the dishwasher.

    COOKING:
    I use my Sharp Microwave/Convection Oven for low-energy baking. I can bake 2 loaves of bread in 25-minutes and NO preheating. Most things will bake 25-35-percent faster than the regular oven. A toaster oven will also use less energy than a large oven. Utilize quick-cooking/heating methods - use a microwave or stir-fry as methods to help save energy. When you do use the oven, make more than one thing in it at a time. For much of the year I also use a couple Solar Ovens as much as possible - FREE energy.

    Use an electric kettle for heating water (by-the-cup), rather than a stove-top kettle. Electric kettles are more efficient than stove-top OR microwave ovens for heating water because the water is in contact with the heating element. The only method more efficient than an electric kettle is an instant hot water dispenser, but most people don't have those.

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