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This is the typed out version of my diary entry on propane refill and keeping heating costs down to make it easier to read!
Refilling propane and heating efficiency
There’s nothing quite as terror-inducing and mortifying as still being in bed and having your son come and tell you that someone’s at the door.
My immediate thoughts are, who is it? The plumber, someone trying to sell me something? Maybe it’s that kind neighbor lady who will be shocked I’m not up yet (she’s so healthy and walks every day with her kiddos).
I couldn’t see anyone when peeking out from behind the gianormous sheet that is currently my bedroom window curtain. Thank God I’m a wearing a comfy, stretchy dress so I quickly throw a sweater over it to hide the fact that I’m not wearing…ahem..a bra…and hurriedly made my way to the door.
This time I try the kitchen window, and there’s this big, burly Paul Bunyan guy on my doorstep. I mean he was dressed in those tan overalls, duck boots, and the cliche slouch hat on top. Did I mention the long, bushy black beard?
Now I’m thinking kidnapping and rape thoughts,and whether or not I could take him. But my common sense profiles him and I decide he has to be some sort of skilled workforce dude. And I better answer his insistent knocks cause he’s not leaving.
Propane Refill and Costs
Sheepishly, I open the door. “Is this the place that ordered propane?” he asked while studying my sleep encrusted eyes and bedraggled self. Hey dude, at least I don’t look like someone straight out of an episode of Duck Dynasty.
Thank God!!! The propane guy! Unbeknownst to me (despite him calling me 6000 times, texting, and FB messaging, all of which I missed because duh I’m not up yet) my hubs had managed to find a company who delivers on New Year’s Eve. For an additional $50 upcharge of course!
We desperately needed a propane refill as the meter indicated we were around 5%. Our little farmhouse has a hot water heater, gas stove, and propane is our only source of heat for the house.
Gone are the days of simply paying the electric bill when it shows up. Now we have to consider how to keep our heating costs down in the winter and create the best heat efficiency that we can.
We are now the proud owners of a old and decrepit propane tank that we must check periodically and keep filled. I questioned him on whether or not the previous owners had purchased propane from his company.
The propane dude (why didn’t I ask his name?) reported that he didn’t know as he was not the main propane guy but simply helping out, God bless him. However, he reported that they were the cheapest in the area so far as propane prices.
They charged $1.45/gallon while a main competitor charged $1.80/gallon. This is a crazy $.35 difference but apparently the other company gets away with it because they rent out their propane tanks and the customers must then buy gas from them.
Per propane dude, if you own your own propane tank, you can purchase propane from anyone. Obviously this allows you the freedom to shop around for the best propane prices especially crucial during the wintertime. However, a lot of people either don’t want to or can’t cough up the $1k it takes to buy a propane tank.
Hence they rent the tank, and then pay a staggering propane price on top of it. By taking the cheapest route initially they end up paying more than they ever would if they had invested in a propane tank. It’s the classic poor dad mentality that Robert Kiyosaki talks about in his book.
Then propane dude starts asking me all those questions a girl doesn’t normally know, and when your husband isn’t around. Happens to me every single time.
Like, “What kind of water heater do you have? Is your stove gas or not? Is it lit with electrical ignition or with a pilot light?” “Oh..and you have to turn off the water heater, possibly the stove, and the main heat in the house.”
I start stammering and inform very quickly that I have no idea how to turn off the water heater or the stove. Nonplussed he kindly proceeds to break it down for me.
“Does my water heater have a long metal chimney going up into ceiling and metal piping coming from it?” Yes and Yes. “Ok so it does use propane. Does the stove go click click click when you turn the knobs? Yeah, ok so it does have a built in ignition so you don’t have to turn that off.”
He then stomps away merrily to fill the propane tank and I answer my frantic hubs’ call. I assure him that propane dude is here but that I need to turn off something and I don’t know what or how. Because I can’t explain exactly why I need to, hubs doesn’t know either, but I reassure him propane guy will help.
Propane dude is back. He shows me how to open and close the valve to stop the gas flow. I find out we need everything turned off so he can now take a pressure test. So Master A and I frantically try to figure out how to turn off the main heat.
Informal Nest Thermostat Review
It may sound easy for you, but we bought one of those fancy schmanchy thermostats, “the Nest” to be exact. It’s supposed to help us with heating and cooling efficiency which is what we need.
I still haven’t figured it out because I try to use it as a touch screen when I’m supposed to turn the dial and I’m whipping the dial back and forth when I’m supposed to be selecting my options. Sigh.
My hubs was enamored by the fact that it’s connected to WiFi and we can automatically control it from our phone. It’s also supposed to automatically adjust the temps according to the time of day and our activities.
Such as lowering the temp when we aren’t at home and adjusting to comfortable levels at night while we sleep. I love technology but recently have been learning about the evils of WiFi and how it affects your sleep. I even gone so far as purchasing my own blue light glasses since I spend a horrendous amount of time of my computer and phone.
What I do love is the fact that it provides visual aids to let us know when we are using energy efficiently. The green leaf icon means good and it glows orange when it’s too hot. Keep it in the green and you keep more green in your pocket is the general idea. Hmm what a great tagline, can I get paid for this? Anyone?
The Nest costs on average $249 but we saved a $100 on ours by getting in over Black Friday. However, as with the propane example, it’s better to be wise and invest in something more expensive if the return will save us money in the long run.
But I digress. When propane dude came back, he relit the pilot under the water heater. It took him a while to figure it out so was so glad he had the patience to do it and didn’t leave us stranded. He turned out to be a very nice guy and after cutting him a check for $365 he was on his merry way.
Owning a house is expensive
I then updated hubs’ on our successful meeting after which he informed me that we now need a regulator for the propane tank. Apparently this is required by law and the propane company wasn’t even suppose to fill the tank without it.
My first question was, “why didn’t we have one?” Silly me. I have to stop asking these questions. Of course a little old 1950s’ farmhouse isn’t going to have some newfangled device!
Sigh. Picture me grimly adding it to our ever growing list of things to do and pay for. On the bright side, last night we finished paying the living room in “posh blue.” I just love that name, so British, so posh.
Only touch ups now and putting the furniture back in place. I’m still wracking my brain on how to finish the 4th wall, but it will come to me. Tomorrow I need to put my kombucha on 2nd ferment which means running to Dollar Tree to get some plastic funnels.
Tonight is New Year’s Eve and we have no family around, no friends as of yet to celebrate with. We don’t even have WiFi because we are in the boondocks, but more on that later. My cousin may drive the 2.5 hours from Arkansas to party with us (Update: she didn’t).
I’m not complaining though. Everything will come with time. Instead I’m so very grateful that at the ripe old age of 35 I finally have a place to call my own, even if it’s a back breaking, money hungry house!
Dear Diary, if you could see all the ideas and dreams I have swirling around in my head, you’d be excited too. Or scared, ha ha.
Bring on 2019!
As always, Cheers!!!