Now that you're living in a rural area, you're heating with liquid propane for the first time. You weren't able to sign a contract with a supplier for one reason or another; perhaps your credit rating is problematic at the moment, or maybe you didn't have enough money to pay for a complete fill of the tank to start the contract.
You must keep a close eye on the tank gauge to make sure the needle doesn't drop too low. Completely depleting the fuel can cause significant and costly problems:
The 5 Percent Rule
Your tank gauge shows numbers from 5 to 95 percent. The level below 5 percent is considered a danger zone. This area is blacked out so you can't determine any percentage below that. This makes it clear that you must call for at least a minimum propane fill when the gauge reaches this point because you're at serious risk of running out. The minimum fill is the smallest number of gallons a supplier is willing to deliver.
In addition, pressure problems can develop when the percentage drops this low, which means your furnace might not function properly.
If your tank actually runs out of fuel, you'll have to pay extra charges to get your furnace and other gas appliances running again.
The pilot lights go out when the tank runs out of fuel. The propane technician is required to perform a leak check before relighting them. If the furnace doesn't work after this work is done, the technician may need to inspect and bleed air from the propane line to the furnace.
Also, if you run out of propane and it's an emergency -- meaning you need to have the tank filled quickly for heating purposes -- the supplier will charge you a special trip fee.
Your minimum fill now has become substantially more costly than it would have been otherwise.
Especially if you live in a region where severe weather occurs, it's best to never let the gauge get below 20 percent. Keeping your home comfortable during bitterly cold weather can quickly run that percentage down. A blizzard or an ice storm can prevent a propane supplier from reaching your home in time to stop the tank from running out if the fuel level is very low.
In addition, propane companies may temporarily run out of fuel to deliver if a regional or nationwide shortage develops. Also, during a propane shortage, prices can skyrocket. If you never let the gauge get too low, you won't be stuck paying record-high prices.
The Best Option
For your peace of mind, check your tank gauge regularly and call your propane supplier before the needle drops to 10 percent. Don't take chances and risk having to pay much higher costs for your propane service. To learn more, contact a company like Anderson's Propane with any questions or concerns you have.