Propane Perks Abound But Residential Users Should Be Aware Of Price, Maintenance Issues

The perks of residential propane are indisputable: This versatile and clean-burning gas can be used to heat the home, dry clothing and cook dinner. Moreover, its reputation as the gas that fueled a million backyard barbecues is being quickly replaced as an earth-friendly alternative to traditional oil or electric heating. With residential propane prices now hovering around $2 per gallon, a walk-in business refill station cuts out the middle man and lets you get in, out and on your way. For homeowners who’ve switched over to propane as the means of powering their home, the decision does carry a number of logistical procedures to be aware of.

kGenerally, walk-in fill stations allow for users to transport and fill their own propane tanks during regular business hours. At these facilities, members of the public can bring their barbecue grill tanks, 30-pound and even up to the 100-pound varieties. Vehicles that run off propane, as well as mobile homes and campers who utilize the gas, are also often able to swing through filling stations. During these on-site visits however, special attention should be placed on the tank itself. Inspecting these vessels is crucial to ensure their safety and longevity. Employees of established propane providers know what signs to look for during inspection and can certify the safety of said tanks. There are also typically tanks for sale at the business to replace any out-of-date canisters that present a danger if re-used.

When it comes to refilling on the larger scale, home delivery is also a factor for tanks positioned either above or below ground. Clearly, transporting such tanks to a walk-in retail fill station isn’t an option so propane companies will make house calls similar to heating oil companies. The size of the tanks and frequency of usage will dictate how often re-fill visits will need to take place, but this is an arrangement that can be worked out with your energy provider.

As with traditional gasoline, industry experts say the price of propane will fluctuate based off of market signals. It’s also largely produced in the U.S. and thus a boost to the national economy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the residential price per gallon of propane hovered around $2.40 throughout much of March 2017. That figure represents a slight increase from a little more than $2 at this time in 2016. According to the EIA, 5 percent of households across the U.S. use propane for residential heating purposes. Those residents, the EIA said in a spring 2017 economic outlook, could this winter expect to pay slightly more than the current price if the weather is warmer than presently predicted.

For those homeowners who’vel made the jump to propane power, the fluctuation in price is part of the process. After all, every utility company bills on personal usage and not a flat fee. For those in the market for propane or prospective homeowners looking at a new place, the current configuration of the home is of considerable attention. While kits for converting traditional appliances to run off propane are available, it’s also a job best left to industry professions with experience installing such conversion devices. Those looking to move into a new place with immediate plans to adopt propane should ask the real estate agency about  the feasibility of doing so. Further, those selling a home with a large propane tank already on site should be able to provide proof of regular inspection.

Residential propane via on-site refills has quickly proven itself as a popular alternative to traditional energy sources. For more information on propane walk-in retail business, call 1-888-449-3585.

Propane: The Farm Friendly Gas

fuel tank in the wheat fieldTake a look at the food on your table. Did you know that propane had a helping hand in cultivating the food that you eat?  All across the United States, farmers depend on propane gas to help with their everyday needs. Nearly 900,000 farms throughout the country, including those in Delaware County, make use of propane; and for good reason too.

Propane is not only eco-friendly and energy efficient but is an extremely versatile gas, as touted by propane companies in Delaware County. It provides a responsible way for farmers to tend to their crops while adhering to environmental regulations. When used in an agricultural capacity, propane has a multitude of uses that have proven to be extremely useful to farmers.

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Farming is a business. Just like any other business, improving the quality of the product, service, and efficiency is vital for survival. Due to the variety of solutions that propane offers, it stands to reason that with those solutions come cost effectiveness. Many of the machines that farmers use- from tractors to irrigation systems -are propane-based. When comparing their performance and efficiency against those of electric motorized machines and harmful diesel gasses, propane-fueled machinery holds up to the task.

In a 2014 case study, 8 farmers used 8 propane-powered engines and irrigation systems to work their farms. Their total savings equaled $86,470. With propane-fueled machines often costing less in initial purchase and in operating costs, the savings begin to add up. Farming equipment that runs on propane allows the user to experience high amounts of usage with low maintenance. When machines break, it’s relatively easier and significantly cheaper to fix a machine that runs on propane than that of a diesel-fueled machine.

Reduced Emissions
There are over 300 million acres of land used for agricultural purposes throughout the giant tractors set against a sunset sky and cloudsUnited States. While farming is a necessary industry, it accounts for a large portion of air and water pollution. Because of this, farmers have been looking for more sustainable and eco-friendly farming practices. In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, farmers have turned to propane as an alternative fuel source for irrigation engines, dryers, and other farming equipment.

Propane-powered farming equipment can produce roughly 11% less greenhouse gas emissions than their diesel counterparts and 24% fewer greenhouse gasses than gasoline structures. With the fewer produced emissions, propane is a clean-burning fuel source that reduces the agricultural industry’s carbon footprint.

Aside from the economic and ecological benefits of using propane gas, farmers also have the ability to reap the rewards of propane incentives. There are a number of financial incentives in place by the government for farmers who use propane-based technology and equipment. The Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) leads the charge in testing the efficiency of these programs for farmers. PERC makes it easy for farmers to see the effects of switching to propane-fueled systems, both ecologically and financially.

As the demand for sustainable farming grows, so does the usage of propane. Propane is one gas that is in great abundance within the United States. Propane is made in America from domestic natural gasses, making it one of our greatest homegrown commodities and exports. With our supply of propane, technology continues to adapt, becoming more innovative and eco-friendly. This is great news for farmers who rely on this technology to meet the demand of the nation’s agricultural needs.

Learn more about PERC’s Propane Farm Incentive program and GasTec’s propane services.

Relying on Propane for Everyday Comfort

Happy family

Propane is a safe, reliable and clean-burning fuel that’s used in millions of home across the country. When you think about all the homeowners that are switching to propane, it’s easy to see why. Propane makes everyday comforts, such as home heating, hot showers, and barbecuing, more efficient and cost-effective. Residential propane prices are much more affordable than electricity, heating oils and other fuels. Read on to learn about the countless ways you can use propane in your home.

Furnaces 

Propane is most commonly used in home heating. Heating a home with propane costs about half as much as heating with electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Not only are propane furnaces they cheaper, but also they heat your air warmer and faster than electric heating systems. Propane furnaces supply heated air at 120 degrees F, while electric heaters produce air at 95 degrees F (which is lower than the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees F).

Fireplaces  

Another home heating system propane is commonly used for is fireplaces. Propane fireplaces are more efficient and environmentally-friendly than the wood-burning counterpart. Research shows propane fireplaces typically have an efficiency rating of over 90%, while wood-burning models are just 15% efficient. Additionally, they offer five to six times the heating capacity of electric fireplaces. Plus, there is no wood debris or ashes to clean up. As an added bonus, many propane models can be used during electrical power outages.

Water Heating

Though the initial investment can cost more, propane-powered water heaters cost less to operate than electric heaters. In fact, they use about 50% less energy, providing long-term savings.

Heating the Pool or Hot Tub

Sitting in a cold pool or “hot” tub is far from relaxing. Heat your pool or spa quickly and efficiently with a propane pool heater. Propane pool heaters can be above or below ground and get your pool to that optimum temperature faster than electrical or solar heaters.

shutterstock_323107886Cooking

Propane is incredibly versatile and can be used for both indoor and outdoor cooking. Propane-powered ovens and ranges provide more precise temperature control and cook foods more evenly. Cooking with propane is much cheaper than cooking with electricity. It’s also safer, as propane burners cool quickly after being turned off.

You can use propane to power your grill too. Outdoor propane grills are clean-burning, so you can enjoy your barbecue without negatively impacting the environment. In addition, propane appliances cost less to operate than electrical stoves and grills and can still be used during a power outage.

Drying Clothes

A propane-powered clothes dryer may cost a little more money upfront, but it’s totally worth it considering the long-term cost savings. Propane clothes dryers operate more efficiently and cost less to run. They quickly heat up to optimal drying temperatures to significantly reduce the drying time. Due to the moist heat produced by propane dryers, your clothes are less likely to fade or discolor. There are many different types of propane dryers to choose from, but on drying with propane will cut about 20% off your annual heating bill.

Backup Power

We’ve discussed that propane appliances can often still be used during a power outage. Along with this, propane can be used to power backup generators to ensure your family stays safe and comfortable during and after a storm.

These are the most common uses for residential propane tanks. To learn more using propane to power your home, visit us online at www.GasTec.com.

 

Propane Preparation & Safety Tips for Winter Storms

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Millions of Americans rely on propane for home heating, water heating, cooking, and drying their clothes. As the temperatures continue to drop, it’s important to maintain an efficient propane system and be well prepared in the event of a winter storm. Consider these propane preparation and safety tips to keep you and your family comfortable and safe all winter long.

Maintain an adequate supply of propane

In the event of a storm, you don’t want to risk running out of propane. It’s recommended to schedule a delivery when your propane tank is 30% full. However, if you know bad weather is coming, you should top your tank off just in case. A storm could leave the roads shut down, preventing your propane supplier from delivering your fuel.

At GasTec, we offer online ordering options, as well as automatic deliveries so you never have to worry about your tank running low.  Our prompt and convenient service makes us one of the leading propane companies in Delaware County.

Install propane and carbon monoxide detectors

Your home should have Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed propane and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and maintenance. Test the detectors and replace the batteries as instructed.

In addition to installing detectors, know what propane smells like. Though it’s naturally colorless and odorless, a potent smell is added to make it easier to detect propane leaks. The smell resembles rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Make sure everyone in your household knows what propane smells like, so leaks can be detected as quickly as possible.

Mark the tank

Whether your propane tank is located above or below the ground, it should be clearly marked so it can be easily located. Mark the tank using a stake, pole, or flag that’s higher than the average amount of snowfall for your area. Marking your tank will prevent accidents and make it easy for your propane supplier to locate when it’s time for a refill.

Clear snow and ice

Maintain a clear pathway to your propane tank for easy access. Keep your propane system and all outdoor vents, chimneys, and flues free of snow and ice.

Consider a propane-powered generator

During winter storms, it’s common to lose power. To prevent power outages, install a propane-powered generator for uninterrupted backup during blackouts.

Propane-powered generators trump gas-powered ones for a number of reasons. Propane is a clean-burning fuel and costs less per gallon than gasoline. Additionally, propane has a long shelf life and can be acquired when there’s a power outage.

Create an emergency preparedness plan

Create an emergency preparedness plan, and regularly review it with your household. Make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Everyone should know how to turn off the propane system, electricity, and water, as well as where to access the emergency preparedness kit.

Your emergency preparedness kit should include a list of emergency phone numbers, water and canned food to last for several days, extra clothes, blankets, flashlights, batteries, medications, a can opener, and a radio. If you have pets, your kit should include pet supplies, including food and water. Also keep snow removal equipment, firewood, and a fire starter on hand.

Scope out the scene

Strong winds, snow, and ice can cause damage to your propane system and nearby power lines. Carefully inspect the area after a storm to ensure it’s safe. If you notice anything potentially hazardous, contact your local utility company or propane supplier.

Follow these propane preparation and safety tips to keep your household protected before, during and after winter storms. For more safety advice, contact us: 888.449.3585.

Top Ways to Save This Holiday Season

Christmas house in snow globe
Thanksgiving came and went, which means one thing’s for sure— the holidays are right around the corner. The holiday season is a busy time of year and most homeowners could use some extra money in their pockets for holiday gifts and activities. Here are some tips to help you save money and energy this season.

Deck the halls more efficiency    

Decorating your home for the holidays doesn’t have to mean sky-high energy bills. LED light bulbs, including LED Christmas light strands, are long-lasting and consume much less energy than incandescent bulbs. LED lights are also safer, more durable, easier to install and cheaper. It costs $0.27 to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs, compared to $10 for incandescent lights, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

In addition to your holiday lights, replace your old incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs. Turn off and unplug all lights when they are not in use to conserve energy. Consider putting your holiday lights on a timer to ensure they won’t be on and wasting energy all night.

Nix the yard inflatables

Though yard inflatables can be a fun holiday decoration, they can be expensive to power. Larger inflatables can consume between 150 and 200 watts per hour. At 10 hours a day, each inflatable could cost you $10 a month. Replace the inflatables with other displays that don’t consume energy, such as wreaths, garland and bows.

Let light in

Open the blinds and curtains during the day to let the sunlight in. The sunlight will bring more natural light into your home, as well as help heat the space. Opening your blinds will also let you show off your Christmas tree and other holiday displays. Remember to close the curtains at dusk to retain the heat.

Maintain your heating system

If you haven’t already, schedule a heating system check-up. It’s better to have your system tuned before the cold weather really settles in, as you may have to wait longer for an appointment. Your technician will clean your system and ensure it’s operating at peak performance. If you use propane, make sure your propane tank is full, and work with a supplier that’s reliable and charges fair residential propane prices.

shutterstock_129036773Use a programmable thermostat

By now, many homeowners have installed programmable thermostats, but not all are using them to their full advantage. Program your thermostat to automatically lower the heat at night and when you’re at work. Set your thermostat back 10° to 15°F for eight hours and save 10% a year on your energy bill.

Reverse the ceiling fans

Ceiling fans don’t just keep you cool in the summer; they can also help you stay warm in the winter. Check to see if your fans have a reverse switch. If they do, reverse all your fans so they move clockwise. Heat rises, and the clockwise motion pushes heat from the ceiling back down to keep you warmer. By utilizing your ceiling fans, you can feel comfortable setting your thermostat to a lower temperature.

Keep in mind that fans keep you warm by circulating heat; they don’t actually raise the room’s temperature. To avoid wasting energy, only turn on the fans when you’re in the room.

Prevent energy leaks

Poor insulation can result in massive heat loss, costing you tons of money every year. Inspect your home’s ducts and pipes for air leaks and see that any holes are properly sealed. Pipes located in unventilated areas, such as the attic or crawlspace, should be insulated, along with your hot water heater.  Also inspect your windows and doors for drafts, and install caulking and weatherstripping as needed.

With these energy-saving tips, you can lower your utility bills during the holidays and year round.

 

Residential Propane: What You Need to Know

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Residential propane use is on the rise, as a lot of households are realizing the many benefits of this energy source. This clean-burning, safe, and cost-efficient fuel is used by 48 million households for water and space heating, cooking, clothes drying, and backup power. Whether you’re a current propane user or thinking about making the switch, read on to learn what makes this fuel so popular and effective.

What Is Propane?

Propane, also referred to as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It naturally occurs as a gas but can be compressed into liquid form for storage and transportation. It’s non-toxic, colorless, and odorless, but an identifying is odor is added so it can be easily detected.  Because it is non-toxic and non-caustic, propane is considered a non-contaminant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Propane will not harm your local water, land or air resources.

The Benefits

Propane offers a large range of benefits, which is why it’s so widely used. In addition to its many uses in the home, propane can be used an alternative fuel for vehicles and also has a variety of agricultural, commercial, and industrial uses.

Cost-efficiency

Propane is one of the most efficient and economical fuels. Propane burners are 90% efficient, though they can reach up to 98% efficiency. Meanwhile, oil units are just 80% efficient, and they can lose up to 15% of their efficiency through the year if not properly maintained. Not to mention, maintaining an oil unit can cost up to $400 annually, whereas propane units increase efficiency and have nearly zero annual maintenance costs. Therefore, residential propane prices are much more affordable.

Abundance

The vast abundance of propane also keeps residential propane prices affordable compared to other fuels. While other fuels need to be imported, an estimated 90% of the United States’ propane supply is produced within its borders. The other 10% is produced still produced in North America though, in Canada and Mexico. Because it’s produced domestically, propane is readily available and economical.

Environmentally-friendly

Propane is considered a “green” energy source. It’s a low-carbon fuel that produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to other energy sources. It’s an approved clean alternative fuel under the National Energy Policy Act and Clean Air Act.

Comfort

When used in home heating, propane offers unbeatable comfort. The average heat pump provides air between 95-100 degrees, whereas a propane system provides heated air at around 120 degrees. This allows households to feel comfortable in a shorter period of time, which is especially important during those cold winter months.

As you can see, propane offers numerous advantages when used in the home. To learn more about propane and its many residential uses, talk to your local propane supplier.

GasTec Voted Best in Heating by Bucks County Locals

GasTec, a full-service propane provider serving Bucks County, PA and the nearby areas, recently earned two designations dubbing the company as the best in heating in Bucks County. GasTec was named Best of Heating Fuel on the Best of Bucks list, as well as Best of Heating and Cooling on the Bucks Happening List for 2016.

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Best of Bucks County is sponsored by the Bucks County Courier Times. The annual list is compiled using a reader poll, which allows readers’ to nominate and vote for their favorite businesses, products, and services in the community. Similar to Best of Bucks County, the Bucks Happening List winners are chosen by local residents. Orchestrated by Bucks Happening Magazine, the Happening List is a people’s choice competition recognizing the amazing businesses, organizations, people, and events that make the area so special.

With the recognitions determined by Bucks County locals, they are a testament of GasTec’s undying commitment to quality and service. As the region’s leading full-service propane company, GasTec specializes in the delivery and installation of propane equipment. GasTec serves residential customers, as well as the commercial, auto, and industrial industries, and provides a range of cost-effective propane tanks, in varying sizes and applications.

For commercial and industrial customers, GasTec also specializes in the plan, design, and installation of customized propane filling stations. By being able to refill on-site as needed, companies can experience increased productivity and profit.

In addition to propane tank design and installation, GasTec provides propane delivery services, including automatic delivery and convenient online ordering. Customers with small propane tanks may also visit the GasTec location in Ivyland, PA to instantly fill up their tanks.

GasTec has been serving customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey for more than 60 years. If you’re not yet a customer of the region’s leading propane supplier, visit www.gasteconline.com or contact 1-888-449-3585.

New Ways Towns and Districts are Making the Switch to Propane

Propane Lawn Mowers

In August, a Chicago Area Clean Cities workshop focused on propane lawn mowers as the future of environmentally responsible lawn care.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, an environmental policy analyst for the Chicago Department of Transportation reported that the current low emission standards for lawn mowers mean that they can do more damage to the environment.

“From a climate change perspective, propane is a better bet,” the analyst said.

The presentation also discussed the economic and political benefits of switching to propane. For example, propane helps reduce the United States’ dependency on foreign oil, since propane is a bioproduct of domestically produced natural gas.

Propane mowers also cost less, requiring less maintenance since the oil is much cleaner than gasoline. One lawn mower fleet supervisor said that propane mowers helped them to save roughly $1 per gallon in fuel.

This is why companies are now offering propane conversations for gas-powered small engines like those found in lawn mowers.

A representative from one of these companies added that propane produces 96 percent less carcinogens than gas, perhaps the most compelling reason to switch of all.

Propane-Powered Buses

This year, Pocono Mountain School District in Pennsylvania purchased 25 propane-powered buses. The buses were praised for being environmentally friendly and cheaper to fuel and maintain.

Additionally, propane-powered busses make much less noise than traditional diesel busses, helping bus riders to focus and relax without yelling over a noisy gasoline engine.

According to the district’s vehicle maintenance supervisor, the switch to propane-powered busses is “great for the drivers, students, and our mechanics. And it’s going to be great for the community itself.”

At the same time, Sioux City School District in Iowa purchased 77 passenger propane busses to phase out their traditional diesel units, a move that they said will deliver significant financial savings.

And joining this shift to propane busses was also Martins Ferry School District in Ohio, which upgraded to propane busses to help the district to comply with the Clean Air Act and to save money.

If you’re interested in making the switch to propane yourself and seeing similar savings, find a propane refill station in Bucks County.

 

 

 

 

 

What Our Delaware County Propane Company Can Do For Your Business

Propane price investment trading arrow going up rising strong industry bull market concept.

The United States is now the world’s largest exporter of propane: What does this means for your propane prices?

The United States has seen a big change in its economic relationship with propane.

In fact, just a few years ago, the United States was once a net importer of propane. But today, the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of propane.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2009, the United States imported almost 110,000 barrels of propane every day. Just six years later, in November of 2015, the U.S. was exporting almost 600,000 barrels of propane per day. This number peaked in February of this year, with the U.S. exporting 884,000 barrels of propane each day.

This means that, according to the Wall Street Journal, the United States now supplies more of the world’s propane than the next four exporters combined.

But what does this mean for propane buyers in the Delaware County area?

Propane prices have dropped throughout the United States

For many customers, the increase in domestic propane production means that they’re enjoying lower propane prices than they would have years ago, when the U.S. was a net importer of propane.

Prices can vary depending on supplier

A wide variety of businesses supply propane and propane tanks, and some will charge more than others. Even within the same town, prices can vary for refills or exchange tanks.

Some propane supplies will also charge a fixed price for their propane, regardless of the market. This means that even though the market for propane should lead to lower prices, you won’t receive a lower price because you’re locked in to a fixed rate.

This is why it’s a good idea to work with propane companies in Delaware County like ours that offer market-dependent prices, ensuring that you always pay the lowest possible price for your propane.

This could be a good time to stock up

The current market for propane means that now might be a smart time to stock up on propane, especially for customers with larger tanks.

Propane prices can often rise in the face of a cold winter, so this summer’s particularly low-priced market means that stocking up now could lead to big savings later.

 

 

What Determines Pennsylvania Propane Prices?

 

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Propane can be an easy, green way to provide energy for anything from your pool heater to your backyard barbeque to your whole house. But we have seen many different propane prices in PA, sometimes even just from store to store or town to town. What exactly determines propane prices, and how can you get the best deal? Here are the five biggest factors:

  1. The market. One of the main things that impacts propane prices is propane production around the world. Propane is typically found mixed in with natural gas deposits, and new deposits that are found can cause prices to fall while increased demand can cause prices to rise. We find that the best PA propane prices come from companies that adjust their rates according to the market—giving you a lower price when the market is low, and only raising your price if their own cost goes up. This allows them to give you lower rates much of the time, whereas “fixed price” propane companies always have to charge you as if the market is high, to cover their costs.
  1. The size of tank you use. This is the biggest factor in your month-to-month propane costs. Another way to put this is, “How much propane do you use?” If you buy bigger tanks or go through propane more quickly, you will pay more. However, even two households using the same amount of propane will pay different prices if they use different tank sizes. Generally, the larger the tank you use, the less you’ll pay per gallon of propane. If you’re torn between two sizes, go with the larger of the two.
  1. Whether it’s delivered or not. For low to moderate propane usage, it may make more fiscal sense to drive in to a filling station rather than get at-home delivery. Even 100 pound tanks are relatively easy to move to a vehicle and bring in for refilling, and if you combine the trip with a weekly grocery run you won’t use extra gas. Refilling your own tank means no delivery fees.
  1. Whether you own or lease the tank. For larger tanks, you can potentially save money if you own your own tank. However, be aware of two things: first, we recommend this only for individuals who understand propane tank maintenance, and secondly, there is an upfront cost to buying your own tank, which may pay off in the long run and you keep your tank in good condition. If you’d rather avoid the hassle, you can simply rent/lease a tank (often at no cost to you).
  1. Discounts. A good propane dealer will give discounts to long-term customers, often with a multi-year agreement. This should just mean you agree to buy your propane from them—it shouldn’t lock you into a set price (see #1, above!).