NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The first cold snap of the year creates a bigger demand for propane.
Most users want to make sure they have enough to keep heaters running, but safety should be the other big concern.
When the temperature falls, the phone rings a lot at propane dispatch offices.
"You want 100 gallons?" an office worker asked.
Automatic Gas hears from customers living in a nine-county region. Don Rogers keeps operations running.
"We store here in East Texas about 140,000 gallons on hand daily," said Don Rogers, the operations manager for Automatic Gas.
This time of year demand picks up for the by-product of natural gas. It keeps propane heaters running - the same heaters that collect lint particles during the long, hot summer.
"Those things settle down in those ports where that pilot light is, and they won't stay lit and there again, if they do, they won't be efficient, so you want to make sure those are cleaned out," Rogers said.
Yellow flames are an indicator something could go wrong. Blue is the safer and more efficient color.
"So that's what you want," Rogers said. "A nice blue flame."
Equally important is the tank's condition.
"You don't want any leaks on your tank. That's number one," Rogers said. "Pitted rust holes. You really don't want to be using that tank. Make sure that tank is level. There's no debris around it."
Propane is a safe fuel, but like all fuels, safety guidelines should be followed.
Heaters aren't the only appliance that can lead to trouble this time of year.
Users of propane turkey fryers are reminded not to overfill the pots with oil. Grease fires are common when the turkey goes in and the oil overflows onto the flames.