The year is beginning to wind down. Before you know it, Halloween will have come and gone, and those light frosts of fall will become the snow and sleet of winter. That means it’s time to make sure your home’s heating system is ready.

Every year, millions of Americans across the country find that their heating system isn’t up to par or incur additional costs because they failed to plan their propane refills accurately. This guide will help ensure that you can create a preparation plan to keep your costs low and your home warm and safe no matter what the weather outside might be doing.

Inspect the System

The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure that your system is in good working condition and ready for the coming cold season. What should you inspect?

1. The Tank

First, take a close look at the gauge on your tank and make sure it’s full. If it’s not, now is the time to schedule the first fill of the winter. You will need to keep an eye on the gauge all winter long, as well. And remember that during the cold months, demand can get very high, so waiting until you’re almost out could be disastrous if there’s a week-long wait time with your supplier.

At Tankfarm, our propane tank monitoring technology not only tracks your propane usage but will automatically notify the supplier we partner with to fill up your tank. No manual monitoring is necessary.

Not just that, but our tanks are rent-free – you only need to pay for the propane and our monitoring system. We don’t charge you a monthly rental fee (and we don’t make you buy the tank outright, either).

It’s also wise to have your tank inspected by a professional. Yes, you might be able to spot visible damage, but what about invisible propane leaks or problems that are only starting to develop? A professional inspection can help ensure that you and your family have access to reliable, safe heat all winter long.

Every new setup includes a free safety inspection from a certified Tankfarm technician. We also take care of the tank swaps so you don’t have to worry about that.

2. Interior System

In addition to ensuring that the tank is full, you’ll need to test your heating system. If you turn your propane system off when the weather gets warm, now is the time to open the propane line and light the pilot light. Make sure the pilot light ignites correctly. If it does not, close the propane line and have the unit serviced.

Once the pilot light is lit, turn your thermostat to “heat” and adjust the temperature so that the furnace kicks on. Check that the furnace is operating normally and that warm air blows out of all the vents in your home. If the system does not operate normally, now is the time to have it serviced or repaired – don’t wait for cold weather to arrive before acting.

While you’re inspecting the system, now is the time to replace your internal air filters. You should do this roughly every three months to help keep your indoor air quality high. If you use HEPA filters or you have pets, you may need to change the filters more frequently.

Note that it’s worth investing in an annual inspection with a qualified service technician who can ensure that not only is your furnace in working condition but that it operates efficiently.

Know Your Refill Schedule

If there is one thing that we know, it’s that winter weather can be incredibly unpredictable. It seems like each year brings new freak snowstorms that reach farther and farther south, and that blizzards last longer and dump more snow than they used to. What does that mean for your propane heating system?

Simply put, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. That means keeping a close eye on your propane usage so you can buy ahead of time – some unethical propane suppliers will raise their rates considerably during times of peak demand. They also quickly get behind when demand spikes.

With Tankfarm, those worries are things of the past. Not only does our monitoring technology help you keep a close eye on your propane level, but our smartphone app ensures you can do that without having to go out in the cold every single time. Plus, it’s simple to gauge your propane consumption and the price of propane per gallon so you always know your costs – you’ll never get hit with a massive bill again.

Anticipate the Costs

If you’re like many Americans, you live on a budget. That means trying to anticipate your monthly energy expenditures. That can be very challenging with some propane suppliers in the winter, and not just because of surprise rate hikes during periods of peak demand. They also like to sneak in hidden fees, like HAZMAT charges and others. Those can add up to a lot of money over time.

At Tankfarm, we believe that our customers should know exactly what they’re being billed for, and never tack on extra fees or hidden costs like other companies.

Mark Your Tank

If you live in an area where snowfall is common during winter, it is worth marking the tank’s location with a flag or piece of PVC pipe. This helps the propane company locate the tank when it’s time for a refill even if the snow covers it completely. It is also worth keeping a path mostly cleared of snow to the tank so that delivery drivers can reach it more easily.

Don’t Let Winter Catch You by Surprise

With the right preparation, you can get your home ready for the coming winter months. And, with the right partner, you can make sure that you’re never caught by surprise bills or long wait times for refills. Learn more about how simple it is to get started with Tankfarm.