Millions of Americans rely on propane to power their furnaces every winter, but below-zero temperatures and ice storms have led to many people turning up the temperature on their thermostats. The result has homeowners using propane more quickly than in previous years, which lead to a shortage in 24 states. Many homeowners are looking for alternatives to heat their homes in one of the coldest winters the country has seen in years.
Problems with Propane
Propane users are often roped into decade-long contracts by the companies who provide their propane. This tank rental fee is on top of the price per gallon of LP, which can cause some homeowners to pay between $500 and $1,000 to fill their propane tanks every winter. With below-zero temperatures, homeowners could be filling their tanks two or three times per winter.
Companies have used this shortage, and the consumer’s need, to raise prices to nearly double typical prices in some instances. In fact, the federal government has stepped in to prevent companies from using this shortage against consumers and to give priority to propane moving to the northeast and Midwestern parts of the country before others. However, this is not enough, and some customers are looking for better options.
A Natural Gas Alternative
While electric heat provides some options, it can be just as expensive. Older systems aren’t energy efficient, either. One option that many people are looking toward is the fireplace, which is experiencing a renewed popularity. Natural gas furnaces provide another option during times when propane is scarce. They’re less messy than traditional wood-burning stoves while still providing heat and a focal point for your visitors. Fireproof glass doors, see-through fireplaces, and designs that even go around the corner have updated the traditional appearance of the fireplace from one that’s always surrounded by brick.
A natural gas, or methane, fireplace doesn’t require deliveries to a home via truck. In fact, the high prices and shortage of propane have to do with getting the liquid propane to a home, but natural gas is transported by pipeline. Logistics make methane the better choice, and fireplace manufacturers typically offer consumers a choice when it comes to powering their new fireplaces.
A natural gas fireplace in the den, bedroom, or kitchen can add ambiance and heat to make winter more enjoyable.