Propane Gas - 4 Options Found in All Baja Rentals
Let's say you found a rental house in Baja that uses propane gas to take away some of the bite off of the electric bill. Great, you will save money. But since propane gas is relatively inexpensive, the main concern with this utility is not so much about saving money but more about how propane is supplied. Here are 4 ways propane gas is supplied in Baja.
Stationary Propane Gas Tanks for Single Family Rentals
Many will agree that the most preferred way to have propane gas supplied to your house is for the house to have it's own stationary propane gas tank. In Spanish this is call a “tanque estacionario.” The gas tank gets filled when you call up the gas company and they send out the propane gas truck. It is common to have to fill up stationary gas tanks about once every 3 to 6 months depending on if you are using the house full time and how big the tank is. Once on site, the gas company will take about 15 minutes to fill it. They can print out a receipt for you in pesos. They propane truck driver doesn't usually have a lot of change so be prepared. Also, they are usually tipped anywhere from about $1 dollar to $5 depending on how difficult it is to access the tank to fill up the tank.
Rentals with Underground Utilities - Metered Propane Gas
Another common way to have propane gas supplied is when the whole community is supplied with gas from a central tank. These Baja communities usually have the benefit of having all of the utilities underground. With this propane gas scenario everyone has their own meter and every one gets their own propane gas bill delivered to their door on a monthly basis. This method is only slightly more expensive then the stationary tank method as the gas company does have a small fee attached for using the propane gas meter. Many home owners and renters alike do prefer to pay a bit extra in exchange for someone else, the home owners association, taking care of the refilling and tank maintenance.
When the propane bill arrives you simply take it to the gas company and pay it. The name on the bill should remain in the name of the owner.
Cylinder Propane Tanks
Propane gas is also supplied by 40 liter cylinder propane gas tanks. These tanks stand about 4 feet tall, and are about a 1 foot in diameter, and are called “cylindros” in Spanish. These tanks generally last about a month, of course depending on usage. You tend to see these used in smaller rental homes, some high density communities with a lot of vacation rentals, or rentals on the lower end of the northern Baja rental market.
These cylinder tanks are delivered to homes prefilled with propane gas. You as the renter pay the truck driver directly, and get a printed receipt.
Many baja rental homes have two cylinder propane tanks included for use with the rent because they run out frequently. If your rental is set up to use cylinder propane tanks, then you will have to ask the owner if they will be supplying two propane tanks.
This method of getting gas is a bit more labor intensive, but it is still very common, and does not have any huge advantage except that the home owner spends less money up front to buy propane cylinders versus a stationary gas tank. Therefore, many Baja speculation rental homes use cylinder propane tanks. It really isn't difficult at all to handle this cylinder system, but it is a system that takes a bit to get to know.
Heating your Baja Rental Economically
Lastly, the small propane tanks that you would use for your barbeque are very useful in Baja. They are used for heating. In Baja, and many colder parts of Mexico, these small propane tanks are used to fuel small portable propane gas heaters.
This small propane tank, called a "mina" in Baja, sits in the back of the portable heater. These heaters are generally about 3 feet tall, 1.5 feet wide, and about 1.5 feet deep, have wheels, and are made out of thin metal. The reasoning for using these portable propane heaters is that it is much less expensive to heat up a small portion of the house versus the whole house.
These heaters begin to show up for sale at many local hardware stores in Baja in October and November, and are sold for about $100 to $200 US dollars depending on the features. In many cases, it will pay for itself in about two to three months.