Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Basics of Residential Propane Tank Sizes

Do you use propane in your home, or are you considering starting? Propane is an earth-friendly, cost effective fuel source that can save you big money. But it’s important to get the right size residential propane tank for your needs. Here is our concise guide to the most common tank sizes and what they’re good for.

The 20 lb. tank

20 lb. propane tankThe twenty pound tank is the basic propane tank you will commonly see at supermarkets. These are most commonly known for home use but, unlike other residential propane tanks, they do not have the capacity to power large in-home systems. Mostly, 20 lb. tanks are used for propane fired barbeques and grills, or for small outdoor patio heaters. Because they are so small, we do not offer home refill, and only provide exchanges with businesses that use them. If you are looking for one of these for the backyard grill, your average supermarket or hardware store will usually have them.

The 100 lb. tank

Going from 20 lbs. to 100 lbs. may seem like a jump, but 100 lbs. of propane is still a pretty small amount and is about right for light residential use, such as if you have a propane fireplace or propane stove, but no other propane appliances to fuel. Of course, they can also be used for heaters and the like. Although you can use one of these tanks on its own, it’s more common to have two hooked up with an indicator and automatic switchover. That way when one runs out, you can move seamlessly to the backup.

The 420 lb. / 120 Gallon Tank

This is where we get into the kind of capacity you will need if your home has several propane appliances. For example, if your kitchen and fireplace are both propane-fueled, or you use propane for your primary home heating source, you will need this kind of capacity. 420 lbs. is doable for several major appliances and for whole house systems for small to medium houses. These can be refilled on site at your home, either on a set schedule or when you call for more.

The 500 and 1,000 gallon tanks

1,000 gallon residential propane tank500 or 1,000 gallon tanks are the recommended size for most households with a whole home system. Medium sized homes (approximately 2500-3500 sq ft.)  are usually best fitted with the 500 gallon tanks and large houses (3500+ sq ft +) are best with 1000 gallon tanks. In other words, if propane is your main energy source throughout your home, a 420 lb. tank may start you off, but the 500 gallon or 1,000 gallon tanks will be more appropriate. Again, this tank is filled commonly on a forecasted schedule, by a propane truck that comes to your home.

What size tank do you use? Are you considering upgrading? Call or contact us at Gas Tec so that we can assess your propane needs!

What to Look for in a Propane Company

There are many propane companies in Montgomery County and, if you live in the area, you know that competition is fierce. However, some propane companies truly do offer much more than others. Here’s our short list of what to look for in a propane supplier:

1.  Experience – One of the best things to look for in a propane company is simply a long history and lots of experience. All propane companies learn as they grow and those that have been around a while already know how to solve most problems that will arise. Don’t just trust claims of experience—a company’s true expertise will come across in their service, and those who truly dedicate themselves to their customers will have the reputation to back it up.

2.  Pricing that matches the market – It may seem tempting at first to sign a contract in which the price of propane per gallon is fixed, but remember, the actual market price varies regularly. For a fixed-price contract, it’s in the propane company’s best interest to set the price higher than they think the market price will go. The best propane companies will instead update their prices regularly, matching the real market price and thus, often, saving you money. Always ask your propane supplier how they set their prices and how often they revise them.

3.  Flexible plans – There are two main kinds of propane supply plans: automatic delivery or call-as-you-go. Some companies tout one or the other as the best choice, but the reality is that each is smart in different situations. For example, if you use propane for all your home energy needs, then your monthly usage is going to be pretty regular, and the convenience of automatic delivery is a plus. But for, say, heating your pool, your usage will vary a lot and it’s better to check the gauge and call when you need more.

4.  System Design/Installation – In an ideal world, you’d already have the infrastructure you need to start using propane today. In reality, you may need to install a system to make propane your fuel of choice. The best propane companies will offer design and installation of custom propane systems no matter what your needs.

propane tanks

5.  Commercial options – If you’re interested in propane for your business, don’t just sign up with any company. Look for those that have expertise in commercial propane uses, including spot heating, large-scale delivery, setting up propane fill stations, propane autogas, and designing commercial systems.

What do you use propane for? What do you look for in a supplier?

Taking a Look at the Types of Propane Services

Propane is more popular than ever, but you may not believe all the different places it’s used. Propane isn’t just for log cabins and barbeques anymore—it’s a leading energy source and a variety of propane services have become common. Three of the most widespread are the following:

Residential Service

When most people think of propane services, they think of the big tanks they sometimes see sitting outside houses. Many people use propane for their residential energy needs. In some cases, people choose propane for rural or remote homes or seasonal vacation homes, rather than trying to get those homes “on the grid.” In other cases, however, people choose propane even for homes on the grid, because of the many advantages propane offers in terms of energy efficiency.

Propane can be used in many parts of the home: for heating, cooking, hot water, or even as a power source. Propane is an extremely energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly heating and cooking fuel, and generally saves homeowners money compared to the alternatives.

Commercial Service

Businesses have certainly not overlooked propane’s advantages in terms of cost and convenience. Commercial use of propane extends to just about every purpose and scale you can imagine. Businesses that use it for many of their needs often even set up their own propane filling station. More commonly, though, propane is used for several purposes:

  • In restaurants as a main cooking fuel – Propane stoves are often preferred over gas stoves for cost-saving reasons, and other kitchen equipment can use propane as well.
  • In construction sites – During winter months, construction workers can be exposed to extreme cold. Small heaters using propane can be used to spot-heat enclosed areas of a site or create warming stations for workers to take breaks in.
  • Large spaces – Whether it’s a warehouse or a big factory, paying to heat an entire large building may not be economical when workers spent most of their time only in certain areas. Propane heaters for those areas are a perfect alternative.

Propane Autogas

Propane tanks

Many people don’t realize it, but there are entire fleets of vehicles that run on propane rather than gasoline—at least 300,000 in the U.S. alone, in fact. Propane is a cheaper fuel source than gas or diesel, propane vehicles get tax incentives because they’re green, and propane puts less wear on an engine than gas or diesel do. It’s the perfect choice.

Does your home or business use propane? How much money could you save if you tried it out?

Why Using Propane in Pennsylvania Is a Step in the Right Direction

Propane in Montgomery County

Propane usage, much like any other progressive trend, is rapidly increasing and thriving more than ever in today’s modern world. You may be wondering what is fueling the recent interest in propane, since this particular type of gas has existed since the early 1900s. Science has given propane a breath of life in recent years by offering consumers several benefits that range from saving money to potentially saving lives. Below are just a few reasons behind propane’s growing presence in households and businesses throughout the country, with a particular focus on the East Coast.

Accessibility & Delivery Service

As more people begin to consider propane as a viable fuel or heating source, the need for its production becomes greater. In the routine fashion of supply and demand, this will mean more manufacturers to provide you with a quality propane product. Accessibility is a major necessity, but it is especially important for eastern states that might experience inclement weather. Propane isn’t something you want to run out of unknowingly, so being able to place a delivery order is a huge convenience for consumers. For people in the less populated parts of Montgomery County, ordering online is a useful option and a dependable way to buy propane for the comfort of your home or office.

Environmentally Safe

Many people have already taken the first step towards living a cleaner life by investing in eco-friendly cars and products, so logically the next move would be to replace whatever home heating source you are using with something environmentally safe – namely propane. Propane gas doesn’t emit toxins when burning, as regular gasoline does, and because it is such a clean gas, a propane-fueled engine would require less maintenance than a gasoline or diesel engine would.

Reliable in Case of Emergency

The versatility of propane is surprisingly extensive, as it can go from heating your backyard swimming pool to also fueling your burners. This is extremely beneficial on a daily basis, but even more so during a natural disaster or emergency. The east coast has plenty of bad weather, and even occasionally experiences larger catastrophes – such as Hurricane Sandy – which should encourage many residents to take preventative measures for their safety and comfort.

In the event that your home loses power during a storm or natural disaster, a propane generator could be your only lifeline. Considering the number of appliances and systems that can be powered by this advantageous natural gas compound, switching to propane in Montgomery County should be a no brainer. Don’t wait until it’s too late to make the call and schedule a consultation with us at GasTec – get ahead of the curve and make the first move!

Safety Tips for New Propane Heating Users

Thinking about changing to propane for your home heating? Propane is one of the safest, most affordable ways to heat your home and run certain appliances. However, like any heat source, there are certain precautions that you must take to ensure the safety of your home and family, and to keep your system working efficiently. Here are some of the steps you’ll have to take if you are considering switching to propane:

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

carbon monoxide detector

If your propane system is functioning correctly, you should never be in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning; nonetheless, malfunctions can happen and these are the most likely scenarios in which the substance can collect in your home. Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous as it’s tasteless, odorless, and invisible, meaning that you could be exposed without realizing it. The good news is that there’s an easy solution to this problem that will keep you and your family safe. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and they will alert you of any leakage before it becomes lethal. Make sure to check the detector every so often to ensure that the batteries are still working and teach your children to get out of the house if they hear the device go off.

Maintain Your Propane Levels

As beneficial and inexpensive as propane heating is, it’s not one of those things you can afford to run out of. In order to maintain maximum safety, the propane tank must be under a certain amount of pressure. If a tank is seriously close to running out of propane, it will begin to lose pressure, which could have some very serious consequences (such as fire or explosion) if not handled correctly. Luckily, any risky situations can be avoided entirely by simply scheduling regular propane deliveries. Check your gauge every so often to ensure that the levels are above about 20%, and call us immediately at GasTec if they drop below that level!

Size Does Matter

Propane heaters are so efficient and strong that even the smaller ones pack a mean punch. However, it’s still important to pick a heater that is relative in size to the home you will be heating. Since propane tends to be much hotter than electricity fueled heat, a little goes a long way in the home. Do your research and speak to one of our professionals with experience in residential propane tanks. They will help you to choose the correct heating system size for your needs, at a price that you can handle and with safety in mind.