KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Portable Outdoor Heaters In Short Supply

Oct 23, 2020, 7:16 PM | Updated: 8:08 pm

FARR WEST, Utah — Utahns are urged to only meet up outdoors during the pandemic, but the dropping temperatures are making that tough. Demand for portable outdoor heaters is through the roof, but many won’t work without propane. So, will this make the important gas scarce this winter season?

Good luck on tracking down an outdoor propane heater. KSL checked many stores and found they are sold out.

We asked Google for the data: how many people are searching for outdoor heaters. Over the past five years, there are little spikes in the winter, but 2020 is off the chart.

Alex Hone of Hone Propane in Farr West said no question – demand is up.

“We had someone actually just come in and buy a lot of propane tanks because they use it for outdoor weddings now,” said Hone.

While demand is up, Hone wasn’t concerned. His suppliers have told him they’ll be able to meet the increased demand in Utah.

“I honestly don’t think it’s going to be different from any other year,” Hone said.

Runs on propane are not unheard of, and in fact, Hone said we’ve seen two in Utah already just this year.

“It was high, especially when the earthquake happened. And now, that the windstorm happened as well, it created panic as well as just people wanting to be prepared in case it ever happens again,” he said.

A surge in Utah families opting to camp during the summer travel season also pushed demand for propane, Hone added. But suppliers never came close to running out of the fuel.

Hone said that at no point have they had issues supplying propane when demand has spiked.

What may be tough, Hone said, is finding propane exchanges available with so many people swapping out canisters more frequently. But he said people are always welcome to bring their empty containers directly to refill stations.

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Gephardt: Portable Outdoor Heaters In Short Supply