What Consumers and Minnesota Residents Can Do
People who use propane to heat their homes can take several steps at this time.
Use Alternative Heat Sources Safely
People often turn to alternative heat sources to stay warm when the temperature plummets. The State Fire Marshal (SFM) reminds residents to use caution when using alternative heating sources.
Types of alternative heating sources often seen include:
- Portable electric heaters
- Liquid-fueled heaters: kerosene, waste oil
- Gas-burning heaters: propane is most common
- Solid-fuel heating: wood-burning, pellet-burning
Any heating appliance with an open flame needs to be vented to the outside because the combustion process of burning fuel uses oxygen and also gives off carbon monoxide — a deadly combination inside of a home.
Consumers who need financial assistance to pay heating bills may find help through the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The Department of Commerce administers LIHEAP in Minnesota, which helps low income households, especially those with seniors, children, veterans and people with disabilities with their heating bill.
Money is still available for households that have not already applied.
Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced LIHEAP Crisis payments would increase from $500 to $1,000 for applicants heating their homes with propane and heating oil. The crisis payments could be available as early as next week.
Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area; Minnesota has 32 local service providers. A list of local service providers and information on applying for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program is available online or by calling 1-800-657-3710.
Other Tips For Alternative Heat Sources:
- Keep anything flammable -- including pets and people -- at least three feet away from heating equipment.
- Make sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Space heaters need constant watching. Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
- Make sure all cords on electric heaters are in good shape and checked periodically for any frays or breaks in the insulation surrounding the wires.