Monthly Archives: January 2014

How to Handle Your Home Propane Supply During the Winter

As winter progresses, the Northeast and other parts of the United States are experiencing colder-than-normal temperatures.  In the chart below, it’s evident that the 2013-2014 Winter is on track to be colder than previous winters.  Because of this, it’s now more important than ever for people with propane heating and generators to know how to keep their propane supply full, secure and accessible.

Image of: graph of HDD in average winter verse today's.To understand the importance of keeping closer tabs on your propane supply, it’s important to understand the chart.  And to understand the chart, you must understand what a Heating Degree Day (HDD) is.  After explaining this, we’ll tell you what to do to keep your propane supply maintained in the winter.

What Does HDD Have to Do with Propane Usage in the Winter?

The people we serve with our propane delivery services in Montgomery County during the winter will tell you everything.

The first thing to realize about a Heating Degree Day is that it’s not measured in degrees.  The number is strictly a measurement that gives you an idea of the amount of energy needed to heat your home sufficiently.  The higher the number, the more energy that’s needed to heat your home; and vice-versa with lower numbers.  Also, when the HDD is higher, the temperature outside is always colder.

Looking at the graph – particularly during the first and second week of December 2013 – it’s evident that the HDD is on the rise.  The good thing is: with propane, you’re already a step of ahead of the game in terms of efficiency.  All you have to do now is make sure a few easy things are maintained.

Keep Your Propane Supply Full, Secure and Accessible

To maintain a comfortable home temperature in the safest, easiest way possible during the winter season, follow these tips:

  • For both underground and aboveground propane tanks that are located away from your house, plow a clear path to the location.  If you have an underground tank, make sure its opening is clear of snow.  If you have an aboveground tank, clear all snow off the tank itself.  This will grant you and your propane company easy access to your propane supply.
  • After clearing a path to your propane tank, attach a colored flag to your tank if you haven’t already.  If you have an underground tank, simply stick a flag in the ground near where your tank is located.  This will allow you to easily locate your propane tank after a heavy snowfall and clear a path to its location.
  • Rely on automatic deliveries from your trusted propane company so you always have the energy source you need.  If you don’t have automatic deliveries, call your propane company for refill when your tank reaches the 30%-full mark.
  • Store empty, small tanks from the summer and fall away from ignition sources and call your propane company for pickup.

Act on these tips this winter and you’ll continue to receive the benefits of propane heating, propane generators, and other propane-powered conveniences and equipment.

7 Ways Americans Support Their Country and Environment with Propane

Compared to other energy alternatives, propane has earned the title of America’s chosen alternative energy.  This isn’t based on mere speculation, either.  It’s based on fact.

According to the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), about 90% of the propane Americans use is produced in the United States.  Additionally, the amount of propane fueling stations in the United States (2,715) beats out other types of fueling stations that supply alternative sources of energy.  The only kind of alternative fueling station that’s more popular is the electric station.  (To see the amount of different alternative fueling stations there are in the U.S., visit the AFDC’s Natural Gas Fueling Station Locations page.)

In addition to its Made in America appeal and increasing popularity across the country, propane is also environmentally friendly.  Something interesting that many people don’t know is that the most damaging effect of a propane spill is freezing to elements in the spill’s immediate area.

For these reasons and more, Americans are using propane in many different ways on a daily basis.

  1. Propane-powered school buses.  School districts and bus companies caught wind of propane’s benefits and now the production of propane-powered school buses is through the roof.  It’s even beating out compressed natural gas.  To grasp how major this switch to propane really is, read more about school buses going green here.
  2. Propane-powered personal vehicles.  Everything from sedans to SUVs are using propane and achieving superior emission ratings.  Nearly all propane-powered vehicles meet the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards and sometimes meet the “unheard of” Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standards.
  3. Heating for homes.  As oil and electric are becoming antiquated and pricey for in-home heating, people are making the switch to this less costly, abundant source of heat.  What many homeowners don’t know is that propane-powered home heating generates 120-degree air – that’s about 25 degrees warmer than air generated by electric heating systems. Also, in addition to heating living space, propane also heats water used in the home.
  4. Farming.  Back in 2001, the NPGA conducted research and found that 660,000 farms used propane for many different agricultural applications.  That number is much higher today and propane is still used on farms for everything from fruit ripening to crop drying. 
  5. Outdoor entertainment.  Gas grills, heated swimming pools, hot tubs, and outdoor gas lights are powered by propane. 
  6. Commercial vehicles.  Ever wonder what that tank is on the bank of a fork lift?  Well, if you ever did, now you know it’s a propane tank.  Also, many other commercial vehicles use propane as a fuel source just like them. 
  7. Home generators.  Have you ever looked across the street during a power-draining storm and seen your neighbor’s lights on?  If so, there’s a good chance they have a generator that’s powered by propane.  There’s also a good chance they’re continuing to live a life of convenience with hot water, a cold fridge, and a televised sporting event. At our propane headquarters in Bucks Country, this is one of the most sought-after pieces of equipment propane powers.

Since the Energy Policy Act of 1992, propane has been labeled a dependable alternative fuel by the U.S. government – long before other types of today’s sources of alternative energy existed.

If you’re thinking about switching from a costly energy source that produces harmful greenhouse gases, contact Gastec today.  We’re always happy to answer any question you have about the opportunities and benefits propane presents.

Choosing the Best Heat Source for Your Needs

Today’s consumers are faced with decisions on nearly every product or service they choose to use. One of the more important decisions that you may need to make in this coming year is what type of heat source is best for your situation. Whether you are looking to heat your own home or working within a commercial environment, heat is a necessity to stay comfortable and, in some cases (such as cooking), function. There are a variety of heating options to choose from in Pennsylvania, any of which you should get from a reliable supplier.

Before making any decisions, you should consider some of the following issues. Mind you, not every question will apply to your unique set of circumstances, but they will get you thinking about your needs. This will lead you towards the option that will work best for your life.

  • Do you have a commercial property that needs to be heated or are you going to be using it for residential purposes like water heating, cooking, or pool heating?

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  • Will you require a generator?
  • Will there be a lot of maintenance?
  • How environmentally friendly is the fuel type?
  • How expensive is the fuel type when compared to others?

Your answers to these questions will help guide you through the rest of the decision making process. Once you’ve determine the way(s) you will be using the heat source, it is time to narrow down the options available in your area. If you are new to the neighborhood or have not yet moved in, take some time to research the local companies.

After determining the types of sources available, you may want to do a price comparison of the local providers and the cost of each particular fuel source. Ask a friend or a new neighbor what type of fuel they use, which companies they trust, and how convenient the service is or check online for reviews if you don’t know anyone. Keep the size of your home or office building in mind when choosing, and try to take the number of family members or employees into account.

Once you have narrowed down your source list to a fuel type, for instance propane, you’ll be able to take a closer look at the propane suppliers in your area of Pennsylvania.  We’re confident in our competitive propane prices and will be happy to help you set up your new service. Call us today to get started!