Propane or liquefied petroleum (LP) is the most common heating fuel for most Minnesota lake cabins and rural communities. It is used for space heating, to make hot water and cooking. Propane is clean burning, fairly convenient and is an American energy resource. But as with any energy source its price can vastly fluctuate with supply and demand as we learned this past January as prices soared to $5.00 per gallon.
So what is a cabin owner to do if they want to keep their getaway warm in the winter but not go broke in the process? Here are a few options:
Turn It Down
If you use your cabin throughout the winter, turn the heat down to 40 or 45 degrees when not there. This can cut your energy bill by 50% compared to leaving the thermostat at 60 degrees.
Turn your gas water heater to the “Vacation” setting when not there. A standard tank type water heater constantly loses heat up the chimney. As the temperature drops in the tank the burner comes on to reheat it. In the vacation mode the pilot stays lit but the burner will not come on saving many gallons of propane.
Keep It In
Check your cabins insulation, if you don’t lose the heat you won’t need to make (buy) more. Most cabins are under insulated by today’s standards. Have a professional check the attic, walls and basement for proper insulation levels. Check for gaps around doors, windows, walls, floors and fill with weather-stripping. Also consider thermal curtains to keep the cold radiating from those large windows from cooling off the cabin.
Switching to a different heat source may be an option. Electric baseboard heaters or an electric plenum heater retrofitted to your existing hot air furnace may be worth considering. Another option is an air source heat pump or ductless system. These systems are twice as efficient as other electric options, are easily retrofitted to your cabin and even provide air conditioning in the summer.
Or Shut It Down
If you don’t come up to the cabin in the winter consider winterizing it. This would involve draining water from all fixtures, pipes and appliances. With the plumbing system drained the heat can be shut off till spring saving a lot of dollars over the winter.
With a little knowledge and guidance from Koegel Plumbing & Heating Solutions, you can enjoy your cabin and save money in the process. Call 320-766-6767 today for a free consultation in and around Alexandria, MN.