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Conserving propane ideas

Jan. 28, 2014 | 0 comments

MADISON

Due to much colder-than-average temperatures and high demand last fall, propane has reached record-high prices. Costs are likely to remain high this season with considerable demand in the Upper Midwest and with propane suppliers traveling farther for inventory.

While propane suppliers are taking measures to keep their customer commitments throughout the shortage, consumers can help lessen the impact of higher costs by making modest, cost-effective conservation improvements in their homes. Cooperative Network provided the following tips to its member supply cooperatives last week to share with their customers.

· Make reasonable thermostat adjustments and consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to reduce propane usage at times when indoor temperatures can safely be lowered a few degrees.

· Wrap propane water heaters with an insulating jacket, being careful not to cover the thermostat or the water heater's top, bottom, or burner compartments. Insulate the first six feet of the heater's hot and cold water pipes.

· Routine maintenance includes draining about a quart of water from the water heater's bottom drain valve every three months to remove accumulated sediments.

· Replace dirty propane furnace filters.

· Consider using weather stripping around leaky windows and doors. Use inexpensive plastic window sheeting to seal drafty windows.

· Make sure heat vents, registers, and radiators are free of dust or other obstructions.

· Close window coverings in the evening and open south-facing coverings during the day.

· Use less hot water or lower the water heater thermostat to reduce propane usage. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning a water heater down from 120° F-115° F can reduce hot water propane consumption by as much as 10 percent.

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