Harlan Family Finding Heating Alternatives During Propane Shortage

By Rachel Martin - 21Alive

January 30, 2014 Updated Jan 30, 2014 at 8:36 AM EDT

HARLAN, Ind. (21Alive) – Families are hot about the propane shortage leaving them in the cold. A major pipeline was closed for maintenance in December, and now families in the Midwest are feeling the effects.

Kaleb and Lyndsie Hardley and their three young kids have been living on the first floor of their home for about a month now because there's not enough heat to warm the upstairs. In fact, they've had to shut off their propane tank completely.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me that there’s a propane shortage because they’ve shut down pipelines in December to do regular maintenance. That just seems like something you’d want to do in the summertime when we’re not using so much propane,” said Kaleb.

The Hardleys claim they’ve called over 15 companies in the past couple weeks for a refill.

“They don’t have it. They can’t get it. And if they do, it’s going to be a two week wait or more and the price is just going to keep going up.”

He says they normally paid under $2 per gallon for propane, and the shortage has caused prices to spike anywhere from $6 - $8 per gallon.

“My guess is, once they get the price up to $10 a gallon then they’re going to have all the propane we’ve ever imagined,” he said.

Companies have also told the Hardleys they can get propane a lot quicker if they pay $2,500 to $4,000 up front to fill their 500 gallon tank.

“What I’ve looked into, we ship between 400,000 and 500,000 barrels of propane overseas daily, and yet we can’t get any here. It’s frustrating,” said Kaleb.

In the meantime, they've blocked off the upstairs with a blanket, are using infrared heaters, and switched over to electricity.

“The water heater was gas, so I just went to Menard's and bought an electric water heater and swapped it out because I'd rather pay the money for a water heater than pay the outrageous prices for the propane,” he said. “Well, what do you do if you don’t have electric heat like we do as a backup?”

The Hardleys say they did settle for being on a waiting list, and now they’ll just have to be patient and use their other resources.

“It’s a saving grace that when we did this house I left the baseboard electricity in here because otherwise, I don’t know what we’d done,” said Kaleb.

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