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Heating

Home Heating Irony

There is nothing better than a brand new car (bear with me, I’ll get to the point). The look and appearance, roar of the engine, feel of the ride, wind through your hair. And those options! Convertible tops, heated seats, leather upholstery, controlled climate and a “rockin’ stereo. Few disagree that a new ride puts a smile on every lucky owner’s face, and gives one the outward appearance of having “made it.”

However, this little bit of deserved narcissism doesn’t come cheap. Twenty thousand dollars is an average price for a car these days, and add the options above…we’re talking 35 to 40 thousand dollars depending on the make and model. All that money spent to drive 15 minutes to work each morning, and back each evening to a waiting garage where the car is hidden until tomorrow morning.

During those 12 to 18 glorious hours at home (when we’re not washing and waxing the new “family member,”) we spend time with family: playing with our children, relaxing with our significant other, working on a favorite hobby, entertaining friends and neighbors and sleeping soundly so we wake up refreshed and ready to do it all over again. All the while our home heating system is working around the clock—24/7—keeping us warm and comfortable and asking little but for routine, inexpensive maintenance. After 20 years or so, (we’d never keep a car that long) the system is tired and needs replacement. Typical replacement cost? Five to 10 thousand dollars—a real deal considering the years of service and the hours you spend at home.

But give the average consumer with a 25 to 35 thousand dollar automobile a quotation like that, and you would think you poked their eyes out. “That much????? I can’t justify that price for just heating my home! Don’t you have anything cheaper? It just sits in the cellar and collects dust for cripes sake, no one ever sees it!” And there you go, the excuses abound. The new car makes you, while a new heating system breaks you. Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t bother with the fact the home heating system is always there; day and night working to keep you and your family warm and toasty. It’s not flashy, it’s not “cool” it doesn’t make a statement. It won’t do 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. No, it won’t.

If you spend a moderate amount, for a truly great home heating system, it will reward you with a clean, green, comfortable and efficient home for years to come—even though no one ever sees it, or compliments you on your astute decision. And by the way, you never have to wash it, wax it, or worry about parking lot dings and dents. The irony is obvious. Viking Propane, When you need us, we’re there.

The Knowledgeable Consumer

Viking Propane truly believes an educated consumer is the best and happiest consumer.

With the “winter of our discontent” now past, it’s not too early to plan for your next heating season. Now that it’s easy to install new tanks, it’s also a perfect time to evaluate energy costs and compare propane suppliers. Below are considerations when comparing companies. Since each supplier markets products differently, do your homework and be prepared.

  • Know your annual propane usage: Many consumers keep perfect records of propane deliveries. For those not quite as “organized,” your current supplier can tell you that total. Make sure you ask for a full year of deliveries (say May through April) to ensure the total is accurate. Propane is usually discounted based on annual volumes, so you want to “take credit” for every gallon delivered.

 

  • Ask about extra fees and charges: Many suppliers have what seems like a “great price” and are willing to sell you the latest program. Unfortunately, hidden fees are not always mentioned up-front. For example, let’s say you use 800 gallons of propane a year. You compare prices and Company A beats Company B by 15 cents per gallon. Wow! That’s a savings of $120 dollars per year! But wait, let’s add the enrollment fee of $50; an $11 delivery fee for each of the seven deliveries you get throughout the year (7 x 11 = $77); and an administrative, or regulatory, or gas-recovery fee (names vary) for $4 each delivery (4 x 7 = $28). Now add the fee total ($155) to the annual cost of your propane and your “per gallon savings” actually costs you $35!

 

  • Ask about tank rental charges or “minimum annual usage charges”: As said earlier, propane is usually discounted based upon annual usage. Users of less than 100 gallons per year may be “assessed” a tank rental charge at the end of the season, or have to pay a penalty of 100 or 150 gallons minus the gallons actually used.

 

  • Ask about contracts if you currently have or would like an underground tank: Many think that they are stuck with a supplier because they use an underground tank owned by that supplier. They sometimes think their current tank must be dug up for replacement by their new provider — not true. Most area propane companies swap underground tanks for new ones with no disturbance to the buried tank. One thing to watch for: if you signed a contract with your supplier (usually 5 years) you are stuck until the contract period is complete or a penalty is paid. Some companies, like Viking however, will bury a tank in your yard and not require you enter a contractual agreement.

Once you have gathered information from 2 or 3 suppliers, you are ready to make a decision based upon hard facts and dollar-for-dollar comparisons. It’s important to remember, however, price is not the “end all, be all.” Good, honest, dependable, and expert service from a company you trust beats a small dollar savings every time.