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Propane info & Safety

FAQs


What can I do to conserve energy costs?

  • Change or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
  • Contact our service department to schedule an appointment.
  • Check the heating system and replace old, outdated appliances with high- efficiency models.
  • Close vents and doors in unused rooms and dampers on unused fireplaces.
  • Lower the thermostat on water heaters to 120 degrees F.
  • Install water-flow restrictions in showerheads and faucets.
  • Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load.
  • Check to see if your attic and basement have the recommended levels of insulation.
  • Keep the lint filter on dryers clean. Dirty lint filters restrict air flow and can also be a fire hazard.
  • Seal all leaks around doors, windows and other openings, such as pipes or ducts, with caulk or weather-stripping.
  • Set thermostats between 65 and 70 degrees during the winter and at 58 degrees when away from the house for more than a few hours. Please note that warmer temperatures are needed for homes with ill or elderly persons or infants.
  • Install an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

  • What can I do to cut my propane energy costs?

    You can manage your fuel bills by signing up for our "Budget Plan," "Keep-Full Plan" or "Propane Pre-Payment Program." Contact your local North Star office for more details.


    How are propane prices determined?

    Propane and other heating fuels are traded on the commodities market, which goes up and down like the stock market. By far the biggest influence on these fluctuations is the cost of the crude oil and natural gas from which propane is produced.


    Do propane prices change?

    The market responds quickly to any situation that might affect supply or demand. Some examples are unexpectedly cold or warm weather, supply interruptions, or excess production. These changes may be reflected in the wholesale price we pay for the propane that is delivered to you.


    Why isn't my tank filled to 100% capacity?

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

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


    How do I read the gauge on my propane tank?

    Not all tanks have sight gauges that are easy to read. Some tanks have old style "roto-gauges" that must be opened at the spit valve and the lever turned to locate the level of the liquid in the tank. Ask your delivery driver to show you how to operate such gauges.

    If your tank does have a sight-gauge, it may be located on top of the tank, usually under a protective hood. (Note: please be careful when you lift the hood as insects sometimes nest there.)

    For your convenience and comfort, please call your local North Star Energy office if your gauge reading measures 20% or less. Better yet, let us put you on our "Keep-Full" plan and you won't need to worry about how to read the gauge on your tank.


    How do I determine how much propane is left in my 20# cylinder for my grill?

    On the side of each propane cylinder is a stamped Tare Weight (TW). This is the weight of the cylinder when it is empty. Take your cylinder off from your grill and place it on a scale (like a bathroom scale). The total weight determined by the scale, less the tare weight of the cylinder is the amount of propane (in pounds) remaining in the cylinder.


    Why does my grill have a very low flame at times?

    The new style "overfill protection device" valves also have an excess flow safety feature built into them. The purpose of the excess flow is to limit the amount of propane that will be allowed to escape from the tank in the event of a rupture or severance of the propane hose or gas line. Sometimes, this excess flow can slug shut if the grill valve has been turned on before the valve on the tank has been turned on. The excess flow senses something is wrong and limits the flow of propane. To correct this situation, simply shut off all of the valves in the system, wait for 10 seconds and start over. The excess flow will automatically reset itself. Start by turning on the cylinder valve very slowly. Then turn on the grill valve and light the grill.


    Is propane safe to use in my home?

    Propane is a safe fuel to use in your home and business. Propane has a narrow range of flammability and cannot be ingested like gasoline or alcohol fuels because it is released as a vapor from a pressurized container. In addition, North Star Energy uses preventative maintenance safety programs to ensure that homeowners understand how to properly maintain their propane appliances and enjoy a healthy, safe environment.


    Is propane dangerous to the environment?

    No. Propane is an approved, clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Propane is one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels. Tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that propane-fueled vehicles produce 30 to 90 percent less carbon monoxide and about 50 percent fewer toxins and other smog-producing emissions than gasoline engines. Propane is also not-toxic, so it is not harmful to soil or water.


    Is propane really a convenient fuel?

    Yes. In the United State there are approximately 70,000 miles of interstate pipelines and more than 25,000 retail propane marketers making propane readily available for most homeowners.

    Propane is stored in portable tanks so it can be used in areas beyond gas mains. To fuel homes, large tanks can be buried underground because propane is a non-toxic, non-poisonous fuel that doesn’t contaminate aquifers or soil.

    Refueling propane powered vehicles takes about the same amount of time as refueling a gasoline vehicle. Nationwide, propane refueling infrastructure consists of more than 10,000 public and private sites.


    Who uses propane?

    Propane is a trusted and reliable energy source that is used by millions of Americans each day. It fulfills energy needs by burning cleanly and efficiently, giving consumers more value for their energy dollar. People use propane in and around their homes for furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, outdoor grills, fireplaces, and appliances; on farms for uses such as pest control, crop drying, and irrigation pumps; for industrial uses such as forklifts and fleet vehicles; and in millions of commercial establishments including restaurants and hotels that depend on propane for heating, cooking, and other uses.


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