Grilling with Propane this Memorial Day? Follow These Propane Grill Safety Tips

With the weather warming up and Memorial Day just around the corner, the smell of barbecue is in the air and many families will turn to cookouts for their long weekend at the end of May.

As one of the leading Mercer County propane companies, we’re sure to see an uptick in propane deliveries and refills in the coming weeks, but besides just providing top-notch propane services to our customers we also want to make sure they know how to use the clean-burning gas safely at their homes.

Although propane can be used in many residential ways, one the most common uses, particularly during warm weather, is for fuel to light up a grill. To practice proper propane safety while grilling this Memorial Day and throughout the summer, follow these propane grill safety tips for before, during, and after grilling.

Before Use

Before using your propane grill, check for leaks, especially if you’re using the grill for the first time in a while. Gas leaks are one of the most common culprits for grill fires and need to be checked for regularly. If the leak is substantial enough, you might be able to smell the fuel. However, this isn’t always a sufficient test so it is important to know other ways of checking. One way you can check your propane tank for leaks is to turn the tank’s valve to open, get a solution of half water and half soap and apply it with a brush to the propane tank’s hoses and connections. Watch for bubbles to form and if they do that means you have a leak.

During Use

While grilling, it is important to keep location in mind. Using a grill indoors or in a garage is never a wise idea, and you’ll also want to make sure the grill isn’t too close to the house or wooden fences when being used outside. Make sure the lid is open when you ignite the grill and always keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case. Baking soda, sand, or cat litter can also be used to extinguish flames if you do not have a fire extinguisher available.

After Use

When you are done grilling, turn the propane tank off first and then the grill. This is meant to minimalize the amount of residual pressure that builds up in the propane hoses. Always keep the propane tank valve closed when it’s not in use. When it comes to storing your propane tank, make sure it is completely disconnected from your grill and it remains outdoors. You never want to store a propane tank indoors.

Propane Facts from the PAPGA

If you’re an eastern Pennsylvania resident who receives propane from one of the many Bucks County, Berks County, Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, or Lehigh County propane companies, you might have a few questions about propane and its many applications.

The Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association (PAPGA) is a trade association representing the Pennsylvania propane industry. Many people turn to PAPGA for information about propane and to have their questions about propane answered.

According to PAPGA, here are some of the most frequently asked questions by Pennsylvania propane users.

What is propane?

Propane is an American-made fuel that is more affordable and cleaner that other energy sources. It is usually compressed and stored as a liquid in tanks. It can be used for heating space and water, cooking, and as engine fuel. Natural propane gas is non-toxic, colorless and odorless. However, an identifying odor is usually added to propane that is purchased so that leaks can be detected.

Where does propane come from?

The Marcellus Shale production in Pennsylvania is where propane in the state comes from. Propane is a byproduct of both natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Of all the propane used in American, about 97 percent of it comes from North America.

What are the benefits of using propane?

Propane differs from other crude oil products such as gasoline or diesel fuel in the following ways:

  • It’s more affordable
  • It’s cleaner
  • It’s more abundant
  • It’s domestic

Who uses propane?

Propane is used by many households and industries across the United States. It is used in 48 million households nationwide as well as many businesses for space and water heating, cooking, clothes drying, and generators. Many industries are switching to propane use for their energy needs because it is cost effective and produces lower emissions. Transportation, professional landscaping, and agricultural businesses are just some of the many industries who have made drastic switches to propane.

How is propane distributed?

Propane in the United States is distributed between 56,000 miles of pipeline and about 6,000 retail dealers across the country. Not only is propane widely available, it is also affordable and easily transported.

How does propane contribute to Pennsylvania’s economy?

Pennsylvania’s propane industry distributes propane to more than 190,000 households across the state. Between all of this service, the industry contributes more than $1.3 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy.

Power Your Generator with Mercer County Propane

The Tri-State area has seen its fair share of snow this winter, especially late in the season. And with some storms bringing wet, heavy snow and high winds, the power outages in the region have spiked.

During these temporary losses of electricity, many homes were without heat, light, or hot water. But those who were already prepared with a generator suffered much less.

Generators come in all shapes, sizes, and types, and are great as emergency power sources for your home. Different sized generators fulfill different needs. A small, 10,000 Kilowatt generator is typically enough to run some bare essentials in your home like the freezer, sump pump, and a few lights. Larger generators, 17kW and up, can power additional appliances or even handle your whole home.

For generators that are run on propane, it is wise to have an independent propane tank system available, either underground or above ground, because of the variable amounts of propane that can be drawn unexpectedly in a short amount of time.

Many people in the Tri-State area such as those in Mercer County already have generators, and those who don’t are likely considering getting one after this harsh winter. But if you do get a new generator in the near future, we’re here to tell you why you should get one that you can power with Mercer County propane.

Fuel and Maintenance Costs

Preparing for an emergency or disaster can sometimes be very costly. But using propane to fuel your generator can help save on these costs. Propane is a low-cost fuel that is available throughout the country. The maintenance costs of propane-powered generators as opposed to gasoline generators is also much less. The carbon buildup and deposits that take place in gasoline systems are not an issue with propane generators.

Environmental Impact

Propane is a clean-burning fuel, meaning it produces a lower amount of carbon monoxide than most other fuel sources, particularly gasoline. Unlike gasoline, there is also no risk of spilling propane because it is stored safely in tanks with security valves.

Longevity

Also unlike gasoline, propane’s shelf life is limitless. Gasoline will only last a few months before it starts degrading, but propane gives you the option to store fuel for a much longer period of time. Don’t worry about wasting unused fuel when you power your generator with propane.

What Sets GasTec Apart from Other Chester County Propane Companies?

There are several Chester County propane companies to choose from, but what sets GasTec apart from the rest? Well, the answer is simple: GasTec is a full-service propane company that offers residential and commercial services, as well as propane auto gas.

Here’s a closer look at the full range of services offered by GasTec:

Residential

GasTec can help heat your home, cook your dinner, or keep your lights on when your power goes out. Residential propane has many uses and GasTec can have you utilizing all of them. Offering some of the most competitive residential propane prices in Pennsylvania and beyond, GasTec will work with you to build a plan that will fit your budget and reduce your energy costs. So next time you need residential propane for house heating, pool heating, hot water, or as a power supply for generators, give GasTec a call and we’ll have your needs taken care of in no time.

Commercial

When it comes to supplying restaurants, constructions sites, warehouses, and bulk facilities with propane, you won’t find a company more reliable than GasTec. Our commercial services provide propane solutions for all types of commercial properties. We even offer on-site filling stations to keep work crews warm throughout the frigid winter months.

Auto Gas

These days there are many people looking for an alternative to gasoline to fuel their vehicles. Propane auto gas has been a preferred method of many since the 1940s, and today, approximately 17 million propane-fueled are on the road. Propane auto gas is affordable and available at GasTec.

But what really sets GasTec apart from the competition the most is its unmatched reputation, which has been built over more than 60 years. Our immense knowledge of the propane industry, reliable installations, and dedication to customer service all keep our customers coming back time after time. Not to mention, you won’t find better prices on propane services anywhere else southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware!

Best Reasons to Sign Up for Automatic Propane Delivery

Did you know you can contact your propane company and enroll in automatic propane delivery services? That’s right! Doing so means you would no longer have to call and schedule propane deliveries every time you need a refill. Not only is this type of service convenient, it also comes with tons of other great benefits.

To dig deeper into this topic, we’ve provided some of the best reasons to sign up for automatic propane delivery.

No waiting: Sometime when you call propane companies to schedule a delivery you end up getting placed on hold for an extended period of time, especially in the winter when propane is in higher demand. Enrolling in automatic deliveries and eliminating scheduling calls means no more waiting on hold!

No scheduling: We’ve already touched on this, but automatic propane deliveries means no more having to call the propane company yourself to schedule each one of your propane refills. The propane company monitors your propane levels for you and knows when you’ll need your next delivery.

No checking: Speaking of monitoring, propane companies will also check your tank gauge each time they come out so that they can monitor your tank level and deliver propane to you when you need it. This saves you the extra task of having to check your gauge yourself.

No emergencies: Running out of gas, especially in the winter, is a horrible feeling. This won’t happen when you enroll in automatic propane deliveries. The chances of ever running out of gas while signed up for automatic deliveries are slim-to-none. Many propane companies also regularly conduct leak checks to help prevent any emergency gas shortages.

Peace of mind: Not having to call to schedule deliveries or monitor your gas level makes for total peace of mind when it comes to your propane needs. Leave it in the hands of the professionals by signing up for automatic deliveries and you won’t have to give a second thought to your propane supply.

Propane Grilling for Football Playoffs

The Philadelphia Eagles are in the playoffs with home field advantage! What a time to live in Bucks County, PA, and be a birds fan! But just because temperatures will likely be below freezing in Philadelphia throughout most of the NFL playoffs doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite tailgating rituals before the games.

Barbecuing with a propane grill is a staple of any tailgate and we want to help you keep grilling for the big games this winter with some useful tips.

So if you’re an Eagles fan that’s planning on heading down to Lincoln Financial Field for some festivities or one that will be entertaining fellow Philadelphia fanatics at your home, here’s how you can continue to use your propane grill in frigid cold weather.

Location, Location, Location: The first step to grilling in the winter is to find a good spot to do your barbecuing. You’ll want to shield yourself from wind as much as possible, but make sure that you absolutely never grill in the house or in an enclosed porch or patio.

Preparedness: Cold temperatures can affect the temperature inside of your grill, so you’ll want to head to your nearest propane refill station in Bucks County and make sure you get some extra propane to have on hand just in case you run out. Grilling in the winter months can typically use about 35-50 percent more fuel.

Adjust Pre-Heat Time: Pre-heating a grill is always important so that your food does not stick to the grates, but in the winter you’ll want to increase this pre-heat time to make up for the colder temperatures. You may have to double your normal pre-heat time.

Food Choice: When grilling in the winter, it is wise to choose food that either cooks very quickly like fish or hot dogs, or food that cooks very slowly like barbecue. Either way you won’t have to spend too much time hovering over the grill.

Two Heat Sources: Keeping one side of your grill on high and the other on low can be a good strategy in the winter. This will allow you to vary your cooking times for the different types of food that you have on the grill. The low side can also be used to keep already cooked food warm.

Cast Iron Pan: Speaking of keeping food warm, having a cast iron pan on deck is always a good idea as well. Cast iron pans hold heat well and are great for keeping food warm when they are covered.

New to Propane Usage? Don’t Sweat it!

propane companyThey say there’s a first time for everything, and if you’re someone who just bought or is renting a home that uses propane as its main source of power, the way it works might be something that’s new to you.

Many people are used to having natural gas or electric power their homes, but others may use a big propane tank that usually sits somewhere in the backyard. The only real difference between propane and these other forms of residential power is that propane gets delivered to you by a propane company that fills up your propane tank with a tank truck.

Having these propane professionals come to your home might seem like an unnecessary added step when it comes to supplying your home with power, but having propane company representatives visit you has extra benefits that you wouldn’t get with natural gas or electric. When a propane professional comes to refill your tank, they will often time check to make sure your energy supply is adequate and your propane gas system is running properly. This is important because, just like electricity or natural gas, propane can become dangerous if it is not handled or maintained the right way.

If you’re unsure of which propane company to call for help or tank refills, you might be able to find the answer on the tank itself. Many times propane tanks will have sticker or something else on it that gives the name and number of the propane company that is familiar with and usually services your tank.

If you’re renting a home with a propane tank, it’s wise to contact your landlord to gather more information about the tank and the propane company that services the tank. If you bought a home with a propane tank, contact the propane company yourself.

Now here’s a VERY important tip for anyone who is new to propane usage. When your very first propane gas delivery arrives, have the propane tank truck driver show you what propane smells like. This way you will know if there is ever a propane leak on your property, in which case you would have to contact your propane company immediately.

So if you’re about to embark on your first propane experience, don’t sweat it! Propane tanks are common forms of residential energy and the professionals at propane companies are there to help you along the way.

Residential Propane Tank Sizes and Their Common Uses

propane

Buying or renting residential propane tanks is a situation many homeowners find themselves eventually. But understanding the right type to get can be a challenge for some.

Residential propane tanks come in various sizes and capacities, and each type has different uses. To help you understand which propane tanks get used for which purposes, here’s a guide to the various types of residential propane tanks and their common uses.

20lb Propane Tanks: A 20lb propane tank is approximately 1.5-foot tall and 1-foot in diameter. They hold a little less than five gallons of propane when full and can be used for things such as home grills and patio heaters. GasTec does not fill this type of tank on site (but we do have a ‘walk-in’ propane refilling service at our Ivyland facility)

100lb Propane Tanks: A 100lb pound tank is approximately 4-foot tall and 1.5-foot in diameter. These types of residential propane tanks will hold a little less than 25 gallons of propane when full and can be used for things such as home fireplaces, dryers and grills. These tanks are small enough to fit in many places larger tanks can’t and they’re also light enough for GasTec to offer an exchange service for residential use. These tanks are not made with a gauge that tells you how much propane you have remaining. That is why it is recommended to have two set up and connected by an automatic change-over regulator that will change from green to red when the first tank runs out.

420lb Propane Tanks: A 420lb tank is approximately 4-foot tall and 3-foot in diameter. These tanks can hold 100 gallons of propane when filled to 80-percent capacity. They can be used for things such as home heating, hot water, dryers, fireplaces, generators, and pool heaters. There are restrictions on the placement of these tanks, including not having more than four of them hooked up side-by-side.

500-gallon Propane Tanks: A 500-gallon propane tank is about 3.5-foot tall and wide by 10-foot long. These tanks hold 400 gallons when 80-percent full. They can be used for whole home heating systems, generators, and pool heaters.

Important Questions for Homes with Propane

If you are in the market for a new home, be sure to ask the questions discussed in today’s post if the home utilizes propane. There will be plenty of questions to ask the realtor or homeowner as you walk through the house, so adding a few more pertaining to the propane will not make much of a difference.

Who Owns the Propane Tank?

One of the most important questions you should ask centers around ownership of the propane tank. In many instances the homeowner owns the propane tank outright. There are instances where the tank is rented from a propane supplier. This will help you gauge how much you will need to spend monthly on both propane and rental fees, if it is not owned by the homeowner.

What is the Propane Used for?

The next question you should ask the realtor or homeowner centers around the use of the propane. Many homes use propane for appliances, such as outdoor grills, water heaters, stoves, clothes dryers and more. Prior to making an offer on the home you should determine whether or not the appliances will need to be upgraded.

Where is the Tank Located?

Find out ahead of time where the tank is located. If it is not outside the home, it is likely in the basement. Ask the realtor or homeowner to show you where the tank is located. Some tanks that are kept outside can be buried underground if they are owned by the homeowner. A pipe will then be installed from the underground tank to the house so the propane can be used. A second pipe will be installed so the tank can be refilled by the supplier.

What is the Size of the Tank?

The size of the tank is important when considering the purchase of a home with residential propane service. The larger the tank, the longer you will be able to go without having to get the tank refilled with more propane. This means you might only have to refill a couple times per winter season if it is only used to heat the home.

The Many Uses of Propane Autogas as an Alternative to Gasoline

LPG gas cylinders in the truck the engine of which uses the liquefied gas

Since the 1940s, propane autogas has been one of the world’s preferred gas alternatives. In fact, there are about 17 million propane-auto-gas fueled vehicles on the road today worldwide and 300,000 in the U.S. Propane autogas is the most affordable alternative fuel there is and it’s supplied at Camden County propane companies such as GasTec.

Many companies, organizations, municipalities and even everyday people are turning to propane as a trusted gasoline alternative because it is clean, safe, affordable, available and long lasting.

Propane autogas has grown to be the third most common engine fuel choice behind gasoline and diesel. With about 2,500 refueling stations available to the public nationwide, propane autogas is now more available than ever.

GasTec decided to take a moment to examine some of the more common uses of propane autogas.

Private Sector

Because there are refueling stations in all 50 states, propane autogas is becoming increasingly popular in the private sector. Propane can abe used to power person machinery such as forklifts, lawn mowers and vehicles. And believe it or not, converting a light-duty car to propane autogas is about half the cost of converting the same vehicle to compressed natural gas.

Fleets

Vehicle fleets can include golf carts, limos, shuttles, or delivery vans. And if you own or operate a fleet of vehicles, converting to propane autogas could be a wise decision. Using propane autogas to power your fleet of vehicles will cost less than gasoline, while offering a comparable driving range, according to the Alternative Fuel Data Center. And because propane runs cleaner than gasoline, your vehicles will operate smoother for longer.

Government

Because of the environmental and financial benefits that propane autogas offers, many government agencies have converted their fleets to this clean, safe and convenient alternative fuel source. By switching to propane, the government will increase the lifespan of the engines in its vehicles and reduces overall maintenance cost.