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Question DetailsAsked on 11/19/2013

Can we change the nozzle on propane heating fuel tank in order to buy from other propane suppliers?

We have a 1000 gallon underground propane tank with a proprietary nozzle from FerrellGas in New Jersey and they are killing us on price....$4.39/gallon as of November 18, 2013. I have to lower heating costs because at this price we're looking at $8000 to heat our 2400 sq ft home this winter. How difficult would it be to switch to oil? Our neighbors have oil and they're spending about $2400/year for heat. We currently have forced air propane heat, a very old propane hot water heater that we need to replace soon and furnaces and air conditioners (one each for upstairs and one each for downstairs) are both 20 years old. A/C is on it's last legs so we're considering replacing the system if that is the most logical plan. Can anybody give me some guidance? Thanks

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First thing to do it find out if you are under a long-term contract with FerrellGas, and if so when it expires and what type of termination fees there are for early termination. Also, find out who owns the tank - do you own it, or is it owned by or leased from FerrellGas. If you own it and arenot committed under contract a new provider could change the nozzle to another provider's (provided you give the FerrellGas one back to them). Those answers will carry a lot of weight in your decision.

I would also talk to the nearest natural gas companies and/or county or city energy regulatory agency about what dates, if any, natural gas companies are planning to install natural gas pipeline service in your area, as that would make a tremendous difference in yoru decision if in the plans in the next few years.

Sounds like you need to either do some very serious analysis of changeover costs and alternative energy swource calculations using rates from your area (electric, gas, and fuell oil companies will usually help with this, though obviously each will be somewhat biased in their own favor), and you state energy conservation office probably has some good numbers, and the EPA and GreenStar Energy websites have lots of comparative info too.

If not up to doing this yourself, I would suggest an independent energy audit, followed by estimates from several contractors for what it would cost for a full changeover. Obviously, this will only potentially pay off it you are planning on staying in the same house for a fairly long time - at least 3-5 years, I would say, after all costs are figured in, and sometimes a decade or longer. Don't forget ALL fuel uses - converting not only home and water heating but also costs of converting range, clothes dryer, etc as well.

One other consideration is the laibility issues with fuel oil tanks and potential filling, overfill, or corrosion spillage; and the fact they tend to make a house less saleable because of those concerns.

Click onthe Home > HVAC link right under your question for additional responses in the past to questions about converting heating fuels.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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