Homeowners Seek Alternatives During Propane Shortage

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jan 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-31 22:45:49-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With the recent propane shortage, many homeowners are searching for alternative ways to heat their homes.

“I would say, give me the gas. I’ll pay the price, but we can’t even get the gas,” said homeowner Regina Coleman.

Coleman and Roger Knope said that they are two days away from running out of propane, which they need to heat their Barry county home.

“Now again we are below the level. We are about 60 gallons of gas. My gas grill runs on 60 gallons of gas,” said Knope.

Mike Smalligan with Flame Center in Hudsonville said that they’ve been busy with customers looking to opt out of propane heat and instead install pellet stoves and wood burning fireplaces.

“The cost of propane is skyrocketing. The fact that it’s been very cold, people on natural gas want to heat. People on propane wanting to avoid high propane costs. People with a wood stove that’s getting old, tired and not performing the way it needs to be,” said Smalligan.

Smalligan said that a customer can recoup the expense of installing a high tech pellet stove in about two and a half years. Also, after inspecting the home, a full system can be installed within three weeks.

“We feed it from the top. This is what pellet looks like. It is literally our wood waste coming from wood chips and sawdust and it’s turned into fuel. We have pellet mills right here in Michigan now that we did not have years ago,” said Smalligan.

Smalligan said that wood burning fireplaces not only provide heat during the frigid winter, but also create a comfortable aura in your home.

As for Knope and Coleman, they fear their propane will dry up in just days, forcing them to find another place to stay.

Michigan’s Energy Emergency will now be in effect until February 12th, which includes lifting restriction for propane trucks so they can make deliveries on the icy roads.