Propane Prices Lead Some to Alternative Heating Options

Created: 01/28/2014 7:10 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- These cold temperatures are taking their toll on heating costs, especially with people who rely on propane fuel.

The showroom at Haley Comfort Systems in Rochester has been buzzing lately with customers who rely on propane fuel, which right now, is more than five dollars a gallon.

"Lots of frustration. Just caught off guard. You know, it was staying stable for a while down los. It just caught them off guard," said Tom Haley, the owner of Haley Comfort Systems.

That has a lot of people looking for other options.

"It gives you that dual-fuel option. If one fuel goes up, it gives you another option where you can balance it out," said Haley.

One of those options is a wood-burning unit. With the cost of wood, and how long it would last, propane fuel would have to be about $1.50 a gallon to compare. And while there is an up-front cost to buy one of these, in the long run, it could be a money saver.

"We also, on the heating and air conditioner side, we take care of geothermal heating. Which actually pulls the heat out of the ground, so it's not affected by the weather out there. And the air-to-air heat pumps. Now, air -to-air heat pumps can go down to well-below zero, where typically they couldn't do that in the past," said Haley.

Another option; pellet stoves. They can burn pellets that are made in a factory, basically compressed wood. And some of them can burn corn, which is also a lower-cost alternative right now to propane fuel. And with no relief in sight for those LP prices, these other options could become more common in Minnesota households.

"You're not committed to just one fuel out there," added Haley.