Category Archives: Propane

The Main Benefits of Switching to Propane to Heat Your Pool

Kid in Pool

After another brutally cold winter, we are happy to have helped many families and businesses stay warm with propane deliveries in Hunterdon County. With the arrival of spring, we know how important it is for locals to get the very most out of the warm weather season. It’s our goal to help everyone extend the time they can enjoy their summers through our propane pool heaters. With a propane pool heater, the typical 3-4 months of fun in the sun can be extended deep into the fall season. Today, we will examine some of the many benefits of utilizing propane to heat your Hunterdon County pool.

Environmentally Friendly – Many people look to solar pool heaters as a means of being environmentally conscious. These heaters rely on natural sunlight to be effective and do not provide as much control as their propane heater counterparts. The good news is that propane heaters are environmentally friendly as well. As a clean burning fuel, propane saves energy and works to reduce the carbon footprint.  Pool water runs through copper coils and returns to the pool at the desired temperature. This process is quicker than solar heaters and provides a higher level of control in regards to pool temperature.

Financial Benefits – Our experts understand how to ensure that a pool heater is sized properly for the pool and the elements of our area. The proper match is critical to fuel efficiency. Solar pumps will raise an electric bill by $300 to $950 a year as you have to keep the pump running at all times. Because propane heaters heat a pool so quickly, it’s much more of a pay as you go system.

Health Benefits – Warm water can help you relax sore muscles, increase blood flow to injured areas of your body and lower your stress levels. There’s something therapeutic about taking a dip in a warm pool after a long day at work.

We want to provide you with the best pool heating propane service for your unique needs.  Our propane heaters also give you the flexibility of utilizing propane to fire up your grill for a barbecue or heat an outdoor patio space on a cool evening. The power of propane is limitless. Click here to learn more about our propane pool heating in Hunterdon County and the greater Delaware Valley!

 

How Do We Forecast When Propane Delivery Service Is Needed?

house insulation concept. copy space

 

In order to be the best propane company in PA and NJ, our team needs to know when our customers will be in need of more propane. Our goal is to make a delivery with our automatic customers when they’re at about 30% of their total capacity. This is to ensure they don’t run out of fuel when they need it the most. If there’s a snowstorm or emergency and you run out of heating fuel, it could be a very dangerous situation. Our goal here at GasTec is to ensure this never happens, and you have all of the propane you need all year round.

 

How Do We Calculate How Much Propane Our Customers Will Need?

 

Determining how much propane a given customer will need is not a guessing game: In fact, forecasting is a science as well as a bit of an art form. Our propane delivery/weather forecasting method involves two terms: ‘Degree Days’ and ‘K Factor.’ Both are values that are used to calculate when propane delivery service is needed.

The first term, degree days, is based on heating values. We calculate degree days by reviewing the average temperature and comparing that to the average outside temperature when heating systems are turned on. Degree days are added to specific days when the outside temperature is lower than 65 degrees.

In order to calculate a specific day’s degree days, we use a formula. Don’t worry; it’s not difficult. All you do is add the high and low temperatures of the day and divide that number by 2. That number is then subtracted from 65. So let’s say on a cold December day, the high for the day is 38 degrees and the low is 24 degrees. When you put those numbers in the formula, you will get 34 degree days.

The second term is called K Factor, and these are the factors that apply to the individual customer. Every customer will have different heating needs and requirements that will affect how much propane they need. For example, the size of the home, the type/size/age of the heater, the set thermostat temperature, and other factors will all apply. A lower K Factor number will mean a household is using propane faster.

So let’s put the two together. We already determined 34 degree days for the cold day in December. Let’s say that the customer has a K Factor of five. This means they will use approximately one gallon of propane every five days. So if the given day has 34 degree days, the household will use almost seven gallons of propane that day. We then assess tank size and our goal number of gallons delivered to that tank to determine when propane delivery service is needed.

While this forecasting method is not always perfect, we can usually get it pretty close so we are serving our customers when they need us the most. Contact us today to learn more about all of our residential and commercial propane services!

 

Why You Should Consider Switching Over to a Propane Water Heater

Gas boiler on blue background. Gas boiler home heating.

 

Although summer is almost over, many households are still feeling it in their utility bills. With air conditioning, fans, and regular appliances you use every month, electric bills typically peak during the summer months. If you are looking for a way to reduce your utility bills, one potential area you should assess is how your water is heated. Many households, for example, still use an electric water heater to heat their water for showers, laundry, and more. Unfortunately, there are a few issues with electric water heaters.

First, they are expensive to use and will cause your electric bill to go up significantly. Second, they are pretty bulky and cumbersome. If things are cramped in your house already, the last thing you need is a giant, 50-gallon tank taking up space in your home. Third, they need to be replaced every seven to ten years, and a replacement water heater with labor costs could end up costing you $1,000 or more.

Many households in Delaware County are making the switch to propane water heating and for good reason. Propane hot water heaters offer many advantages over electric hot water heaters. For one, propane is less expensive than electric, so your utility bills are going to go down. Also, they have a longer life expectancy than electric hot water heaters. Most propane hot water heaters can be expected to last about 20 years. Performance-wise, propane hot water heaters allow for more accurate temperature adjustments, so the water is never too hot or too cold. They typically heat the water faster as well. Finally, propane hot water heaters are better for the environment than their electric counterparts.

In addition to that, you can opt for a propane tankless hot water heater and enjoy even more benefits. Can you imagine not having a 50-gallon hot water heater tank in your home and having the extra space? A tankless hot water heater does not require water storage and can heat up to eight gallons of water per minute. This means you should not have to worry about using up all of the hot water – a problem we can all relate to, especially in the dead of winter.

If you are thinking about making the switch to propane, our Delaware County team can help. We encourage you to contact us today to learn more about the benefits of going propane.

 

Why Standby Generators Offer Homeowners the Best Possible Outcome over Portable Generators

 Residential standby generator

 

 

Summer is one of our favorite times of year, but there are times when Mother Nature can intervene to cause some inconveniences. A severe thunderstorm or tropical storm has the ability to knock power out in a region for hours, days, or even weeks. And as we remember from Hurricane Sandy, the threat of a hurricane is there this time of year as well.

Once you have decided to make an investment into a generator in the event of an outage, the next thing you will need to consider is whether you should go with a standby generator or a portable generator. A standby generator may cost more initially, but it is an automatic and permanent solution that can offer its owner(s) convenience when the lights go out for a little while.

Why Do You Need Power in the First Place?

 

If the power goes out because of a storm or  mechanical issue, some families might be okay for a short while. Maybe going without the television or internet for a day might even be a good thing. But if the power goes out for an extended period of time, power will be needed to power the refridgerator, air conditioner, and cell phones. Also, some people need power for medical equipment and other applications that they can’t do without.

Automatic standby generators start when the power goes out. They are powered by propane or natural gas. Propane is often the best choice because it has a lower startup cost, and propane can be kept in an independent propane tank system on the owner’s property. These tank(s) can be stored underground or above ground depending on the preference of the owner. We encourage you to contact us to learn about our Bucks County and Hunterdon County propane services.

Unlike portable generators, which have finite capabilities, automatic standby generators can ensure homeowners maintain safety and comfort during the worst of a storm. Homeowners also don’t have to worry about refueling the generator in the middle of the storm, which they likely will if they use a portable generator. While portable generators may be a good option for homeowners who want a temporary solution and only need a few items powered, standby generators are an insurance policy for those who deal with many outages and cannot go without an interruption of power.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

gastec

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 Determines Pennsylvania Propane Prices?

 

money

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!).