Just remember that buying a propane-powered home comes with certain considerations that don’t apply to a home that uses heating oil, electricity or natural gas as an energy source. Before you become a propane homeowner, here are three key questions to ask the seller:
What appliances currently run on propane? Just because your prospective new home has a propane tank doesn’t mean that all its appliances are powered by propane; the home could have a propane furnace and an electric water heater, for example. A seller’s most recent propane inspection will list the number and type of propane appliances in the home; check this list and look for any inconsistencies with what you see in the house, or to spot problems with listed appliances.
Where is the propane tank, and is it leased or owned? Ask your seller whether the home’s propane tank is above or below ground and locate the ground lines leading from the tank to the house (this is especially important if you plan to do renovations or additions to your home). If tanks are underground, ask for proof that they are protected against rust and erosion (known as cathodic protection).
If the propane tank is owned by the seller, it should be included in the home sale; rented or leased tanks are the property of the current propane supplier. Your seller should provide propane supplier information for tanks whether they are owned or leased. Remember that you always have a choice about who provides your propane, no matter who owns the tank!
How much propane will your current tank hold? If you plan to add new propane appliances to your home – or to upsize any of the ones currently in place – you want to make sure the current tank has enough capacity to keep up with your energy load without causing you to run out of fuel every few weeks. Right-sizing is a key to energy efficiency; making sure you have a tank that does the job you want it to do without costing more than it needs to is a key to managing your energy bills wisely.