Propane / Heating Oil / HVAC Services

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How to choose a propane supplier.

It can be challenging when you want to select the “right” supplier for your propane needs. Whether you use propane for your grill, fire pit, to power your appliances or heat your home, you deserve a supplier that offers reliable service and substantial value to all its customers.

First, you need to evaluate the prices and reliability of local suppliers to become comfortable with your choice. Compare the following items when choosing the best propane source for you.

  • Evaluate the quality of the products and services local propane suppliers offer by examining customer reviews. You will learn which providers satisfy their customers better than others.
  • Compare pricing plans to find the most reasonable, fair pricing programs that fit your budget.
  • Assess the delivery options local service providers offer to find the most efficient delivery plan.

Typical products and services offered by propane suppliers.

You’ll want to evaluate the products and services offered by the top propane suppliers in your area. Becoming familiar with the service and product menu that your local providers offer is a vital step in your choosing the best option. Here are some common services and products typically offered by propane suppliers in your area.

Propane Services:

  • Propane delivery and fill-up,
  • Emergency service and repairs,
  • Install indoor and/or outdoor appliances, and
  • Buy or rent propane equipment, including propane storage tanks.

Products That Use Propane:

  • Home heating,
  • Home hot water, and
  • Generators, so you’ll never be without power.

In all cases, read and review your written propane supplier contract. You and your supplier need to be on the “same page” with your (and their) understanding of the products and/or services they will provide. Do not consider only pricing, but delivery and service commitments to which you and your supplier agreed. This part is probably the most important part, whether or not your provider is “cheap” won’t matter much when they fail to deliver on a cold winter’s night. Look for a provider that not only offers reliable service but automatically delivers if applicable.

Delivery choices.

You typically can choose one of two delivery options. Both work for some customers, but, possibly not for others.

  • Automatic delivery. This choice is also called the “always full” option. Based on your estimated usage of propane, your supplier will schedule deliveries that keep your propane tank or tanks full regularly.
  • As needed deliveries. If you prefer monitoring propane usage yourself, you can call your supplier when you need a delivery; restrictions may apply.

Understanding propane prices and additional fees.

Be sure to ask if the suppliers you’re considering have any of these charges and compare the pricing among different propane companies.

Storage tank installation fees

Ask if they have a fee for installing and setting up a new tank. What are the monthly lease or rental fees, if you do not own your own tank?

Minimum monthly purchases

Ask if there are minimum monthly purchase requirements. If the answer is “yes,” do you meet the minimum? If not, what are your options?

Propane delivery fees

Be sure to ask your future propane provider, is there a cost for propane deliveries. Or, is there a fee for the transportation of propane fuel? These fees, if suppliers charge them, typically involve the number and volume (gallons) of propane fuel you need at deliveries.

Disconnect charges for tank pickup

Ask if there are fees for disconnecting and/or tank removal if you change suppliers or fuel type. You should understand that many propane suppliers have personnel costs for service closeouts and removing propane tanks without the possibility of continuing cash flow from soon-to-be formerly active customers.

Early termination fees

If you have a fixed-term contract with your supplier and you terminate service early, your contract language should specify any charges associated with your early termination of the contract. These fees are becoming standard charges for most propane delivery firms. During your “choosing process,” always ask if there are early termination fees and what specific actions trigger this charge?

Certification and/or registration.

These questions should be included in your research and comparison of propane suppliers to find the right one for you.

  • Ask if their personnel, including propane techs and drivers, are nationally certified. If not, ask this follow up question: Why not?
  • Ask if the propane supply company is registered in your state. All propane dealers must register with a State Department (varies from state to state) to be permitted to sell and deliver this fuel. Steer clear of any provider who tries to dodge this question.
  • Ask if they are insured in their state. Propane services providers should be insured before they set foot on your property.

Responsive service hours.

Responsiveness is a vital component of your evaluation of propane suppliers because when you need service, you typically need it now. As part of your analysis, ask these questions, at a minimum.

  • Do you offer 24/7 customer service? You are probably aware that most problems surface outside of typical workday hours with most systems of any type. Propane service is no different than most other fuel systems. This is often called “Murphy’s Law.” Translation: “What can go wrong, will go wrong, and always at the most inconvenient times.”
  • Will I reach a live customer service representative (CSR) when I call, regardless of the time?
  • Does the propane supplier provide after hours emergency services? What service limitations, if any, exist for emergencies, such as gas leaks, heating system repairs, hot water systems, and generator repairs? By definition, emergencies seldom put themselves “on hold” until the next workday.

Safety records and customer satisfaction.

As with any fuel needs, you should check the safety record of propane suppliers you’re considering. How? Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB tracks any customer complaints and problems a member organization experiences. The BBB not only tracks these issues but records how the company handled the problem and provided a satisfactory solution.

Do not immediately discard a company with multiple complaints until you also evaluate their responses to recorded problems, the timeliness of their responses, and the resolution to complaints or problems. You might find, the company responds quickly and effectively to problems, creating happy customers from disgruntled ones.

You can also check out customer testimonials and reviews on independent websites. You could go to the company’s website, but, understand, the companies seldom post negative information. You’ll still get some “flavor” for customer satisfaction. Be careful to be sure customer reviews are real (with names and/or pictures) and not written by company personnel.

However, you can find customer reviews on a number of Internet sites that have no relationship with individual companies. Just do a search for the supplier’s (include their name) customer reviews and complaints, if any.

When you’re looking for a trusted propane gas service provider, call Petro at 1-800-645-4328 now to ask any questions, or click here to find a local Petro location. Call us to answer your questions and checklist items for choosing the best local propane supplier for you.

Petro Home Services is proud to not only serve communities in DC, CT, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, and RI but we also proudly acknowledge the skills and experience of our expert team behind all resources. With insights on topics ranging from heating oil facts to common air conditioning questions, you can rely on Petro Home Services for facts and information to help you understand more about your heating, cooling and home comfort needs. This article and all articles on the Petro Home Services website have been approved by our team of home service experts.