Frequently Asked Questions

 

What Is Propane?

Propane is a naturally occurring product simply composed of hydrogen and carbon molecules (known as hydrocarbons). Other members of the hydrocarbon family are methane (natural gas) and pentane (gasoline).

Propane naturally occurs as a gas at atmospheric pressure but can be liquefied if subjected to moderate pressure. It is stored and transported in its compressed liquid form, but by opening a valve to release propane from a pressurized storage container, it is vaporized into a gas for use. Simply stated, propane is always a liquid until it is used. Although propane is non-toxic and odorless, an identifying odor is added so the gas can be readily detected.

 

1.      Simple Hydrocarbon

 

2.      Naturally found as gas

 

3.      Liquefies at moderate pressure for transportation and storage

 

4.      Non-toxic, colorless odorless, tasteless - artificial odor is added

 

Where Does Propane Come From?

First of all, approximately 90% of propane is domestically produced!  Propane is not produced for its own sake, but is a by-product of two other processes, natural gas processing and petroleum refining.  US production of natural gas and petroleum normally provides enough propane as a byproduct to meet all consumer demand.

Natural gas plant production of propane primarily involves extracting materials such as propane and butane from natural gas. Similarly, when oil refineries make major products such as motor gasoline and heating oil, some propane is produced as a by-product of   those processes. It is important to understand that the by-product nature of propane production means that the volume made available from natural gas processing and oil refining cannot be adjusted when prices and/or demand for propane fluctuate.

Over the past decade, the US propane supply has increasingly been exported to both Asia and Europe via ship.  This causes a lower inventory and higher prices each winter as heating demand increases.  We protect our customers from this price increase through our pre-buying program where we purchase propane from our suppliers on their behalf in the summer months.  

 

·         By-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining

 

·         Production is not directly demand driven.

 

·         High demand in cold weather causes prices to increase each season

 

 

What Influences Propane Prices?

Crude Oil and Natural Gas Prices

Propane is a by-product of both natural gas and petroleum and its price is based on the going rate for both.

 

 

What are some of the most common uses of propane?

 

·         Home heating

·         BBQ grills, smokers, fish fryers

·         Cooking

·         Air conditioning

·         Water Heating

·         Swimming Pool Heating

·         Clothes drying

·         RV Heating, Cooking, Water Heating

·         Fireplaces

·         Food Refrigeration

·         Construction Heat

·         Industrial Process Heating

·         Vehicle Fuel

·         Weed burning

·         Forklift Fuel

·         Flame Cutting

·         Grain Drying

·         Poultry Brooding

·         Irrigation Fuel

·         Fruit ripening

·         Generator Fuel

·         Hot Air Balloon Fuel

 

 

How does “Pre-buy” work?

 

Since prices spike almost every winter for the residential propane market, we offer a pre-buy program each summer that permits you to lock in low summer-time propane pricing then use it through the following winter.  Payments for this service may be either lump sum or via budget billing. 

 

 

How does “Budget billing” work?

 

For our budget billing customers, we evenly distribute the year’s propane costs over the year to lessen the burden on a monthly basis.  Give us a call or come in and we can get you set up!

 

 

How do I read the gauge on my propane tank?

 

Not all tanks have gauges. If your tank does have a gauge, it is located on the top of the tank, usually under a liftable hood. (Note: Please be careful when you lift the hood–insects sometimes nest there.)

  

 

Why isn’t my tank filed to 100 percent capacity?

 

Your propane is delivered and stored in liquid form. Propane liquid, for example, will expand (become a gas) nearly 17 times as much as water over the same temperature increase. As a result, tanks and cylinders are never completely filled with propane liquid. Tanks are filled to about 80 to 85 percent of their capacity. This leaves a space above the liquid, which allows the propane liquid to expand freely due to changes in temperature.

There are several important characteristics that you need to understand about propane stored in containers. First, heat is added to propane in a tank or cylinder by transfer directly from the air surrounding the container. Hot days, cool nights, rain and snow are a few of the many factors that affect the temperature of the liquid. Because of these temperature changes, you may see fluctuations in your container gauge.

 

 

How do you know when to fill my tank?

 

Automatic Fill Service: We utilize electronic tank monitors to report your tank level to our software.  We’ll use this information to automatically schedule you for a delivery when your tank is approaching 20%.  This is the most affordable way to buy propane through the year because it allows us to be most efficient in our deliver scheduling!

 

Will Call Service: You need to periodically check your tank and call us when it reaches 30% in order for us to fit you into our delivery schedule so it may be filled when approximately 20%.  This is a slightly more expensive option, but can fit some customers better that have very low usage or other unique scenarios.  If you setup your web account, you'll be able to order propane 24/7 online!

 

 

Why does Propane smell so bad?

 

Propane in its natural state is both colorless and odorless.  For these reasons and because propane is flammable, a chemical malodorant with a distinctive smell is added to provide a method of detection in the event of a leak.  Ethyl mercaptan is normally used for this purpose since it is chemically stable when mixed with propane and has many of propane’s physical characteristics.  One can be reasonably assured if ethyl mercaptan’s distinctive odor is detected propane vapors may also be present.  Some people say the smell is like rotten eggs.  Ask for a copy of our propane safety plan brochure that includes “scratch and Sniff” sample to identify the smell.

 

 

What if I plan to do any excavating or remodeling around my home?

 

Please visit http://www.oups.org/ or dial 8-1-1 first. 811 must be called 48 hours in advance to mark any utility lines, BUT, they do NOT mark propane gas lines, private electricity, water sewer, or phone lines. Contact our office to have your gas line marked. Not only is it dangerous to dig around underground utility and gas lines but fines and repair costs may be imposed if damage is done.

 

 

How can I learn more about propane?

 

You can learn more about propane through The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).Call PERC at 202-452-8975 or visit them at www.usepropane.com.

Contact

Peak Propane

 

1020 S. Detroit St.
Bellefontaine, Oh 43311

Phone: 937-592-3906
Fax:     937-592-4851

info@peakpropane.com

Office Hours

M-F    7:30AM - 4:30PM

 

(Closed for training Fridays 8:30AM-9:30AM)

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