A New Homeowner's Guide To Heating With Propane

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A New Homeowner's Guide To Heating With Propane

24 March 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


If you've lived in a home with natural gas or oil heat for most of your life, you're likely to have a few questions when you move into your new propane-heated home. A clean, efficient energy source, propane is becoming a more common choice for home heating. Once you adapt, living with propane heat won't feel any different than heating with natural gas or oil -- but you'll want to make sure you know the basics early on, so you don't have to worry about safety or what's normal when it comes to your new heating system.

Safety Precautions for Propane Heaters

Most of the safety precautions you'll need to take with a propane heating system are the same as you would take with any other heating system. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home, in case there is a leak. Also make sure you don't block the vent leading from the furnace to the outside of your home, as this could lead to a buildup of dangerous gasses inside.

An additional safety precaution you should take with a propane heater is to make sure all hoses and parts used in the system are from the same manufacturer. Ill-fitted parts can contribute to leaks and combustion. If you have an older propane heating system in your new home, you may want to have a home inspector or HVAC specialist look it over before you move in, just to ensure parts are compatible. Going forward, make sure you only work with certified contractors who use brand-name parts and have experience working specifically with propane heating systems.

Spotting Problems with Propane Heaters

As with any other heating system, if you turn the thermostat up and the heat does not kick on, you have a problem. With propane heating systems, many malfunctions are caused by blocks in the propane line. Having your lines professionally cleaned may be necessary in order to restore function of the heating system.

A good way to tell whether your furnace or the propane supply is to blame for a lack of heat is to look at the pilot light. If the pilot light is burning, you know that the propane is making its way to the furnace -- the problem likely lies in the furnace ignition system. If even the pilot light is out, then you can assume propane is not making it to the furnace.

When trying to identify the cause of a heating malfunction, you should also evaluate whether or not the blower turns on. If the blower turns on but blows cold air, the furnace itself is not burning properly. If the blower won't click on at all, the ignition parts of the furnace are likely fine, but the blower is broken.

Required Maintenance for Propane Heating Systems

The primary maintenance task you'll need to remember with your propane heating system is having your propane tank filled. Many companies will allow you to sign up for an automatic service, in which they will come out to your house on a regular basis to refill the tank. This saves you from having to remember to make an appointment before the propane runs out.

The other major maintenance task associated with propane system is checking for leaks. Some propane companies will do this for you every time they come to fill the tank. However, it does require them to come inside your home, so you may need to make another appointment for a leak test if you're not home when the tank is filled. Different municipalities have varying requirements when it comes to propane leak tests. Some require such tests yearly, while others require them every few years.

Moving into a home with a propane heating system can take a little adjustment. If you're nervous about the system and have specific questions about the exact furnace in your home, the best thing to do is call an HVAC specialist. He or she can check over your system and make sure you don't need to make any big changes or have any reason to worry about safety. You may also get some great tips for troubleshooting your specific heater. For more information on propane heating, have a peek at this web-site.