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January 28, 2010

We’ve learned lots about propane in the last few days.  Like: the tank in our front yard?  It’s rented, and can only be filled by the company that it’s rented from.  Unfortunately, that company had horrible customer service and was charging about $1.00 more per gallon than the average rate in our area.  And how did we know the average rate in our area since propane prices aren’t really advertised?  These two websites were invaluable in determining the cost of propane: and

So, we called around and found a different propane company with better customer service and much lower rates.  The 20 minutes I spent on the phone saved us about $700.  And my advice to you if you’re ever in a similar situation is to make sure to ask about tank rental fees, delivery fees, and any other fees that they might have.  We had our tank rental fee waived (it’s only $12/year, and its waived if we use more than 700 gallons of propane per year – we should use approximately 700-900 gallons in the next year), and the delivery fee is about $3.

We were especially excited that the new company could deliver our new tank Wednesday morning!  The temperature in the house hit a cool 41 degrees and we could see our breath inside the house.  I slept with my winter hat on and told Jason that we should pretend we’re winter camping in the house.  As a side note: is it me or does winter camping sound like the most cold and miserable activity ever?  Having never even been summer camping, I can only imagine that camping is significantly less fun once the temperatures fall below 45.  Brr.

Unfortunately, the tank couldn’t be placed in it’s intended spot, hidden behind a fence out in the front woods.  We had some trees removed in early December, and the tree removal people (who said that they would haul away everything) left a huge stack of tree trunks where the propane delivery guys needed to unload the tank.  So we’re rocking the propane-tank-in-the-middle-of-the-front-yard look.  Talk about curb appeal…  it might be time to get some plastic flamingos and plant them out front around the tank.  Lovely.

But!  At least we’re warm for now, and thank goodness I can wash dishes without first boiling the water on the stove!  And, the propane company will come out in the spring, after we’ve removed the wood, and move the new tank to it’s hidden-behind-a-fence home.  And, my hair is clean and my fingers aren’t too cold to blog!   Yay!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 7:56 pm

    Who did you end up going with? When I first bought my house up near Otsego, the previous owners had not paid their propane bill and the company came and yanked out their tank. When I called to get a tank delivered/filled, the one I ended up using had the best rate per gallon but could also get it there sooner than anyone else-this was Thanksgiving of 2005. The first night I spent in the house was the night before the tank was to be delivered and I had my trusty kerosene heater (and a heated mattress pad) to help keep me warm.

    • January 29, 2010 1:27 pm

      We ended up with EM Sergeant – they charged $1.69/gallon for the first tank full, and their current rate is $1.99/gallon… I think that stands until March or so. Looks like my neighbors have EM Sergeant, too (just saw the truck pull into their drive). Ferrell Gas had horrible customer service when I called and they quoted me $3.69/gallon… then, when I called back saying that I had found someone with a lower price and would like them to come get their tank, they quoted me $2.19/gallon. They also had a $20 delivery fee and a tank rental fee, whereas EM had a $3 delivery fee and no tank rental fee as long as we use 700 gal/year – which shouldn’t be a problem! We also liked that EM was a local SW Michigan company… we like to support the local guys when we can!

      • January 29, 2010 5:35 pm

        Hmmm, this is definitely something to think about. I’ll have to get the most recent bill. Last March our ppg was 2.59. Definitely don’t want to consider changing right now. They have to access it via the back yard and the fence for said yard is currently snowed in place.

        I haven’t heard of EM Sergeant. We have the small locals like Hopkins Propane and Hamilton Propane.

  2. Mom permalink
    January 28, 2010 10:35 pm

    You should start a business investigating people’s household costs and then if you can save them money, charge them 50% of the savings the first year! I know we are paying too much for cable and cell phones but I haven’t had the time to look into it….I’ll be your first customer!!!

    • January 29, 2010 1:27 pm

      This is a good idea. Thanks, Mom, you are quite the business lady!

  3. January 28, 2010 11:41 pm

    glad you are finally warm –
    and you couldn’t pay me enough to go winter camping!!!

  4. January 29, 2010 8:02 am

    brrrrrrr…..Thank goodness the situation is fixed! Do you have any plans to hide the tank in the spring/summer?

  5. GGG permalink
    January 29, 2010 11:34 am

    I’LL BE THE SECOND CUSTOMER!!!!!!! Right after your Mom.

  6. Debbie permalink
    January 29, 2010 12:01 pm

    Can I be next in line? You’re so good at this!

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