Propane Solved!

The propane saga has come to a happy ending. As you all know from the last post Propane Rehab – or why not to rent your tank, I bought a foreclosed house with a propane tank buried in the yard. The company that owned the tank said I had to rent it from them and buy my propane at whatever price they felt like selling it to me. They couldn’t quite understand me when I told them no.

What I did was ask to speak to the manager. I gave him a choice. Either sell it to me at a reasonable price, or come dig it out of my yard.  After some hemming and hawing, he agreed to sell it to me for $750.  It would have cost me three times that to get a new one, so although I think I could have done a little better – I took the deal.

Now I needed propane.  The company had tried to sock it to me at $2.99/gal because I was renting their tank and had no other choice.  That left me feeling somewhat hostile to them because it was about $.75/gal more than another company had offered.  However, when he offered to fill my tank at $2.09/gal I went for it.  Since I got 400 gallons, this cost difference FOR 1 TANK, was $360.    That tank should last me about two months at the rate we used the last tank.  I’m guessing 3 tanks per season, or an overcharge of ($360*3 +$250) $1330 per year I just saved.  I can do a lot of boat rehab for $1330!

One more thing.  While calling around I found a company that offered to charge me $2.25/gal.   I thought that was good, but when I got the offer to fill at $2.09/gal  I talked to the $2.25 guy again and asked if he could do better. He called back later and said he could match the $2.09 price, but I had already gone ahead with the purchase.

Moral of the story – never rent your propane tank

Other moral of the story – Always ask if they can cut you a better deal.

Sorry, no pictures for you this time.  We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled rehab next time.


Propane Rehab – or why NOT to rent your propane tank

(Read this post, then read the next post for the followup solution to my problem)

We bought the house, but apparently the 500 Gallon propane tank buried in the ground survived the foreclosure and is still owned by the Propane company that rented it to the previous owners.  Note, there is no proof anywhere that they own it, they say it and it is so.

Here is the deal they offered us.  Rent their 10 year old tank for $250/year.  Pay $200 for inspection and setup.  Sign a lease that says:

  • they can increase the fees at any time
  • we can only buy propane from them
  • they charge pretty much whatever they want
  • they bring it whenever they want
  • they automatically renew the lease unless you cancel 30 days prior to term ending
  • you pay to remove the tank (dig up and haul off) if you cancel the lease

And they kicker is they are charging $0.75 PER GALLON higher than the competition.  So on a single 500 gallon tank, filled to 80% capacity, you buy 400 gals * $.75 – $300 PER TANK overcharge.  I’m guessing maybe 4 tanks over the winter.  Any 2nd grader with a calculator should be able to work out that this is a bad deal.

When I told them I didn’t like the deal, but I would buy the tank, the snooty receptionists said “We don’t sell our tanks”.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go to the person that can make a decision.  I got through the to manager and he offered to sell it for $1500.  I said no way, half the price or he could come get it.  He said he had to talk to his manager.  I feel like I’m buying a car.  Grr, this company really steams me up!

By the way, a new tank costs $700 up in PA.  For a few hours of driving (about $100 in gas) I can go get one.  Of course you have to have it installed so we’ll see how much that is.  I have two appointments to get bids tomorrow.

All this is urgent, because we don’t have any heat at the moment.  Fortunately we’re warming up and the next freeze is not for a week.  I better have this handled by then or you know who will be in the dog house!

If we do have to get a new one, it will be an above ground tank.  500 gallon tanks look like this:

This cracks me up.  We could get a 1000 gallon tank and have a submarine in the back yard!

Mrs. CapnRehab said “NO”.