Propane is a clean-burning and safe way to heat your home, water, and run many appliances, too. One of the many benefits of clean-burning propane is that there are fewer maintenance issues for equipment on average than other alternative fuel sources.
Follow these propane heating system dos and don’ts below to enjoy a warm, problem-free winter this season.
Do get seasonal maintenance. While moving parts don’t get gunked up as they can in heating-oil fueled systems, it’s important to get your heating equipment checked at the start or end of every heating season.
A tune-up from the pros at PitStop will keep your heating system operating at peak efficiency, helping you keep monthly energy costs down. Annual maintenance also prevents small problems from become big expensive breakdowns—saving you on the cost of repairs or emergency calls.
Don’t attempt to make repairs yourself. If you do have a problem with your heating system—or any of your propane equipment—NEVER attempt to repair it yourself, even if you think it’s an easy fix. While propane is extremely safe, it’s a highly flammable gas under certain conditions. In addition, a DIY repair job could void your warranty—or even your insurance. Our techs are trained and licensed, and when you need a repair, we’re here for you with quality workmanship and transparent and fair pricing.
Do check the color of the flame. Let us know if flames are orange or yellow or you notice a significant amount of soot. Gas flames should be mainly blue when burning correctly.
Don’t attempt to relight a pilot light if you smell gas. If you do relight a pilot light yourself, follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly as written.
Do call us if a pilot light goes out frequently.
Don’t let your tank hit empty. Your propane flows through a system of pipes that are under constant pressure when the system is running; this pressure strains system pipe fittings and the hardening compounds that seal them. But if the pressure changes in the lines—as happens when you run out of fuel—there is the possibility that those sealants could contract and create a leak.
That’s why we are required to perform a leak test to check the integrity of these joints and seals. It’s best not to let you tank get below about 30% before you call for a delivery.
Do sign up for automatic delivery. It’s the best way to ensure you don’t run out of propane without always worrying or checking your tank gauge! We use a proven algorithm based on your typical usage patterns and the real-time weather conditions to know when you’ll need a propane delivery. Automatic propane delivery service also helps us keep our operating costs down because we can optimize our fuel delivery routes and schedules—which helps us keep our prices down. Best of all, this convenient service is FREE!
Don’t let snow and ice accumulate around the tank and any vents. Wind, snow, and ice can damage lines and block vents, resulting in potentially dangerous situations for your home and family.
Do clear a path to your tank after storms. It makes deliveries safer for our drivers so they can get their work done efficiently and get to everyone quickly. Is your tank underground? Marking its location with a pole topped with a bright-colored flag or wide ribbon makes it visible over large snowbanks and drifts.
Don’t forget to clear your driveway after snow if you’re expecting a delivery. Our trucks need at least a 9- to 10-foot-wide path to maneuver safely, and we cannot deliver fuel if your driveway isn’t plowed. Marking the edges makes it easier to navigate, especially on steep driveways. Remember, just because you can get your car down your driveway doesn’t mean our 15-ton truck can make it too.
Do install CO and natural gas detectors. Change the batteries twice a year and test them monthly. With windows shut tight and the heat on, winter is the most dangerous time when it comes to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do know the smell of propane. Hint: it smells like rotten eggs! Small propane leaks can be created or made worse by winter storms. If you use propane in your home, you and your family should brush up on propane safety and know what to do if you suspect a leak.
Do call us with any questions if you’re ever unsure of a potential safety issue or just need some insight on how to keep your family as comfortable as can be.
The professionals at Pitstop Propane and Fuels have the knowledge, experience, and resources to answer all your questions and have a warm, enjoyable winter season. Get in touch with us today to learn more or become a PitStop customer.