Propane Heat Question
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  1. #1
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    Default Propane Heat Question

    My fiance and I over the summer moved into an apartment that was an attic in an old Victorian at one point. Heat and hot water is included with our rent. The heater is a forced hot air located only in our living room sourced by propane. We figured the insulation wasn't the greatest and were prepared for winter to come and be a bit chilly in there. This winter in the Northeast was bitterly cold and where I am in Northern New England the temperatures were frighteningly low and record snowfalls. Heck, it dropped another 4 inches just last night here!

    We thought we did pretty okay considering our staircase, which is located within out apartment, was being used a fridge during the winter. We'd leave our drinks on the landing and have them close to frosty over night. When we became building managers this month we were told that the propane was filled twice a month during the wintertime.

    The tank is a 60 gallon tank and is our heat and is connected to another apartment for their stove. I am admittedly ignorant in regards to heating. During cold weather months, when insulation is poor and you're in the negatives, what is considered an appropriate replenish time for propane? The building owners did say it was a cold winter and they weren't holding it against us, however the amount we would have received off our rent was lower than it would have been due to the amount of heat we used. At least for the month of March they only filled the tank once!

    I'm curious since this is my first foray into this sort of thing and would appreciate any advice/knowledge on the subject.

  2. #2
    Registered User Buckeye5's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    We use propane to heat our house, and have a 500 gal. tank but used 160 gal a month during the cold months. We also, use it to heat our water. We keep the thermostat low and have new windows.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Boundary Waters, Minnesota
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellaitalia View Post
    ...Heat and hot water is included with our rent...however the amount we would have received off our rent was lower than it would have been due to the amount of heat we used...
    I'm confused. Either the heat is included in the rent or it isn't. It sounds like you're paying for it by not getting some kind of rebate.

    There are too many variables to answer your question. Factors like the orientation of the building to the north winds, amount of insulation in walls and ceilings, how warm you keep your living space, how many cubic feet you're heating, and all kinds of other variables are going to impact how fast you go through LP. Snowfall should not affect it except the more snow there is in strategic places can sometimes help cut costs.

    We have a 500-gallon tank and it's filled an average of once a month during the three coldest months. We heat about 3,000 square feet including our house and two rooms in our three-room cabin. We zone heat a living room addition with a propane fireplace, and we have an air-source heat pump that allows us to heat at off-peak rates with electricity when the temps are above about 25 degrees. We also have a gas stove that's used a lot. I'm sure none of that info will help you, but it's an example of variables.

    A 60-gallon LP tank does not actually hold 60 gallons, btw. LP tanks can only be filled to 75-80% of their capacity because room must be left for expansion on warm days. So you're talking about a tank that actually only has 45 or 50 gallons in it when it's just been filled. If you're only burning 100 gallons a month during a record cold winter, either you have a really tiny place or you're doing pretty well keeping heating costs low.

    FWIW, a gas stove doesn't burn much LP. In addition to our stove, we also leave the pilot lights burning year round in the LP fireplace in the living room and the wall furnace in the cabin and use very little LP during the summer months between those and the stove which does not have pilots, so little it doesn't even register a drop on the tank gauge.

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