If you're building a new home and have to decide on a heating system, one of the decisions you'll need to make is what fuel to rely on. Propane is one option you're likely to come across, particularly in areas where natural gas lines are not prevalent. Before you say "yes" to a propane-based heat system, make sure you carefully weigh these pros and cons and how they apply to your life.
Pro: Propane is eco-friendly.
Propane is considered a clean-burning, non-polluting fuel, so by choosing it as your heating fuel, you're doing the environment a favor. You also do not have to worry about the environmental effects of any propane leaks that may occur, as propane is not a greenhouse gas and is not dangerous to water systems. If you accidentally inhale propane, there's no worry – it's not harmful to humans (or animals, for that matter).
Pro: You can use the propane for other applications, too.
If you have a propane tank installed on your property for your heating system, you can also use the fuel for other appliances like your range, grill, and generator. This would not be true of heating oil – you'd have to have all electrical appliances or buy propane separately for these uses.
Con: You may need to buy a tank.
Some propane companies rent tanks out to their customers. They'll set the tank on your land and let you use it for as often as needed for a monthly or yearly fee. Other companies require that you buy a tank outright. Contact some propane companies in your area to ensure you know whether buying or renting is the standard practice and how much you can expect to pay. In either case, tank rental or purchase is an additional expense you won't incur with natural gas or wood pellet heating systems, so make sure you take that cost into account when considering the affordability of propane heat.
Con: You have to keep an eye on the tank.
You'll need to pay attention to the level of propane in the tank and remember to call the fuel company to refill it when it's low. This will require some planning ahead, since it may take the company a few days to get to you. You wouldn't have this hassle with natural gas, which is delivered constantly through pipelines, or wood pellets, which you can pick up yourself at a home improvement store.
For propane, contact a company such as Fieldings Oil & Propane Co Inc.