Category Archives: Propane

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 There are also typically tanks for sale at the business to replace any out-of-date canisters that present a danger if re-used.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!).

 

GasTec is Now Offering Walk-in Fills for Small Propane Tanks

walk in fills for small tanks

At GasTec, we take great pride in providing our customers with top-quality propane services. It’s our superior service that has led us to become the region’s best and most trusted propane dealer. We are constantly thinking of more ways to improve every aspect of our services, including propane delivery. That’s why we are now offering walk-in fills for small tanks!

Walk-in Fills

With this new service, our customers can visit our location in Ivyland, PA and fill up their propane tanks right on the spot. Think of it as a gas station for your BBQ tank! No longer will you need to call us or wait for your scheduled delivery day to get propane for your small tanks. Though our walk-in service is only currently available for small tanks, we will soon be expanding this service for larger tanks as well.

Small cylinders that can be filled include BBQ tanks, 33 lb. tanks, and 100 lb. tanks, as well as gas tanks for vehicles that run on propane.  In addition to our convenient walk-in service, customers can also enjoy our other propane services, such as:

Deliveries

Whether you have larger tanks or can’t make it to our store, you can still take advantage of our standard delivery options, which can be customized for your specific needs. Maybe you want to use our convenient, online ordering option, or perhaps you prefer our automatic deliveries.

Installing Your Own Propane Filling Station

In addition to walk-in fills and deliveries, we can help our industrial and commercial customers plan, design and install their own propane filling station. With this option, your employees can fill up their cylinders as needed, resulting in greater productivity and profit.

Not a GasTec customer yet? Visit us online today to get started with one of the leading propane suppliers in PA! For more information about our propane walk-in fills, delivery services or installation, call us at 1-888-449-3585.

Advantages of Switching to Propane

beige tank provided by propane companies in PA There are many propane companies in PA and, as more homeowners choose propane, chances are good that you know at least a few people who use it in their home. But if you haven’t made the switch yourself, you might wonder what makes propane better than powering your home entirely by electricity or natural gas. There are many answers.

Propane can be used in many ways in the home: it can be used only for home heating and hot water, for your cooking gas in your stove, or to fuel your fireplace. You can choose to use propane for all of these applications or just some of them. No matter what you use propane for, it comes with advantages. These advantages include the following:

1.  Highly affordable – Propane is simply a cheap, affordable energy source. For heating purposes, propane typically costs about half as much as electricity per BTU. That means you could save 50% in heating costs on a given space. Propane fireplaces are also cheaper to operate per hour than their wood-burning equivalents.

2.  Energy efficient – Propane heaters and appliances tend to run very efficiently. Propane heats water and air quickly, meaning that you can bring your house up to temperature faster and with less energy expenditure. You can also expect your propane water heater to recover a full tank of hot water within about 20 minutes, using less energy to do so than an electric water heater.

3.  Warmer in the winter – Propane heating systems simply keep your house warmer and cozier than electric ones. A propane heating system puts out hotter air than an equivalent electric heat pump system.

4.  Delivered to your home – Many people worry that switching to propane means having to go get tanks refilled. With larger tank sizes and contracts, however, this is simply not the case. You can expect your propane company to come top off your tanks for you—either forecasted based on weather and your usage or on an “as needed” basis, though the former is more common.

5.  Made in America – Propane is largely produced right here in the Unites States, meaning that you support the American economy and help us reduce our dependence on foreign energy.

These are just a few of the reasons that so many people have made the switch to propane. A propane household can be greener, cozier and more cost effective. Are you considering switching to propane? If so, call or contact us at GasTec today!

Three Small Things You Can Do To Save Big On Energy Bills This Winter

energy bill

It has been a crazy winter, and some people that have experienced relatively mild temperatures are in for a big change. Single digit and below zero temperatures are going to stick around for a little while, and you’re going to running your heat for a few months. Too many home owners find themselves having to make a choice between staying comfortably warm and saving money on their heating bill. What would you do if you found out that there is a way to keep heating costs down, and that it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort? It may sound crazy, but this winter you won’t have to make the choice between comfort and cash. Follow these tips this winter and you won’t dread having to pay your energy bills!

Adjust temperatures according to time

Unless you work from home, there’s at least 8 hours a day where you’re running heat to warm a house that isn’t full of people. If you really want to see a difference in your energy costs, lower the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees when you’re at work (or when the kids are at school). If you’re feeling brave enough to cut it back a few degrees when you’re also sleeping, you could save a whopping 20% on your energy bill.

Check your ducts and vents

Think about how often you have to dust and vacuum your home to keep it spic and span. Now think about the last time you took time to change your HVAC filters and clean out your vents. Your heating system accumulates just as much dirt, dust, and grime as any other area of your home. All of that filth could be leading to some blockages in vents, and that means that heat and air isn’t circulating properly around the house. Sometimes a good cleaning is all you need to get your HVAC bills under control. Replace all of the air filters in your home, and make it a point to at the very least change them once a year.

Remember your water bill

Did you know that water heaters can account for 14 to 25 percent of your monthly energy bill? Anybody that runs a residential propane service knows that heating water can require a lot of gas and other forms of energy. You may be tempted to crank up the hot water when you shower in the winter, but you should resist the urge if you want to save money. If you can’t part with your hot showers, consider making sure that the water temperature doesn’t go above 120 degrees.

 

Do You Want an Above Ground or Underground Propane Tank?

residential propane tank

Residential propane tanks are used for many purposes. People choose to use propane for anything from a few small appliances like a BBQ setup or an outdoor heater, to whole home energy needs. Many houses use propane as their cooking gas, as well as to heat water and to heat the home. With this wide range in usage, there is also a wide range in propane tank sizes and options—and one of the most important to many homeowners is whether they want to locate their tank above ground or below ground.

Not all residential propane tanks are available in underground designs. Many smaller tanks, for example, are meant to be portable and must be taken to a propane supplier to be swapped out. Even tanks as big as a so called “100 pound tank,” which is nearly as tall as a man and are often refilled by a propane delivery service, are designed for above ground use. This is because they are still relatively small and easy to visibly obscure if you don’t want a propane tank to be part of your landscaping.

As you move into large scale tanks, however, an underground setup becomes attractive. For an individual homeowner, the types of tank sizes we’re referring to are 500 gallon tanks (about 10 feet long) and 1,000 gallon tanks (16 feet long). These are the ideal tank sizes if you use propane as your primary energy source in your home. But because they are so big, they are hard to obscure with landscaping. This is the main reason both are available in above ground or underground setups. Both styles have their advantages:

Above Ground Propane Tanks

  • Quick and easy to set up—simply “drag and drop.”
  • No excavation required.
  • Easy to swap out in the future

Underground Propane Tanks

  • Does not interfere with appearance of landscaping
  • More contained if there is a leak or damage
  • May increase the perceived value of your home over an above-ground tank

Different homeowners choose above or below ground for different reasons, and there is no wrong answer. It’s a question of your priorities and what you prefer: the elegance of an underground system, or the convenience of above ground. If you do decide to go with an underground tank, discuss this with your propane tank and make sure the tank you buy is meant for this. Remember to follow all guidelines when installing your underground tank. This will protect the tank from water and make sure you can access it properly for maintenance and refills.

Which type of residential propane tank would you prefer?