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.
Use 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Propane companies in Bucks County have been getting a lot of business recently because more and more residents are embracing the use of propane in their homes. Thanks to the natural gas industry boom that the state and other surrounding areas are going through, propane and other gases have never been more affordable. Despite the gas’s popularity, most people still don’t know several important things about it. Propane is much more than a one liner on King of the Hill; the gas has a lot of desirable properties that could help revolutionize the energy industry. For example, did you know that . . .
Propane isn’t a greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gases (GHG) are a type of vapor in the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range. In simpler terms, they create the greenhouse effect and cause a lot of pollution on earth. Since most people know that propane is a kind of gas, they naturally assume that it’s contributing to the greenhouse effect –but they’re wrong. Propane burns clean, and doesn’t contribute to the greenhouse effect like other popular energy and gas sources.
Most propane is produced in America
Are you worried about the country’s dependence on other energy sources for fuel? Do you hate seeing lots of good jobs going overseas? If so, you should consider expressing your views by using propane. America is literally sitting on trillions of tons of natural gas, and propane makes up a significant amount of those trillions. We have so much natural gas that we’re actually exporting it to different countries and, as we find more pockets of it, the industry will only grow. When you use propane, you aren’t simply heating your home or cooking some food, you’re helping support a reliable and profitable industry.
Propane is an alternative fuel
When most people think about alternative fuel sources, they think of solar and wind power, but propane is often left out. Under the definitions of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, propane is considered an alternative fuel source. Propane isn’t the most popular fuel source in the country, but that could soon change since . . .
Propane could revolutionize the auto industry
How many of you dread going to fill up your car with gas? Low gas prices are a thing of the past, but propane fueled cars could be our future. Propane powered vehicles are extremely efficient, emit less pollution than gasoline, and are far cheaper to fuel than their gasoline counterparts. The oil industry has a tight grip on the automotive industry, but as oil reserves dwindle and gas exploration improves, that could change.
The idea of making your home and life completely eco-friendly can be more than a little daunting. However, once you realize that your carbon footprint is literally as deep as your wallet, you might find your current spending to be far more overwhelming.
Being resource conscious is known to be financially beneficial, not just in the long run, but in terms of immediate monetary savings. Here are a few of our suggestions on how to be environmentally conscience without breaking the bank:
Switch Your Lights to LEDs
90% of the energy used by incandescent bulbs is wasted through heat. If used properly, LEDs can last over a decade. That’s a lot of light bulbs you won’t have to be buying over the years.
Gas heating is cleaner than oil and generally cheaper than electric. Services vary by location, so whether you’re researching propane companies in Bucks County or San Francisco, make sure you learn what is available in your neighborhood specifically.
Get an At-Home Water Filter
Bottled water may very well be considered one of the greatest scams of all time. On top of that, faucet water is markedly cleaner than bottled water and faucet or pitcher filters are easy to buy and affordable. Shop around and find the best choice for your home.
Eat Less Meat
No buts about it, cow flatulence is actually contributing to global warming. Going vegetarian for one day a week is an easy way to take action on this issue without making drastic changes to your diet or lifestyle. It also has the added bonus of many varied health benefits, such as decreasing your blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk of heart disease.
The stigma against shopping secondhand is slowly disappearing, as is the strain on your wallet from buying retail markups. Lamps, curtains, candleholders, china sets, costumes, clothes, jewelry, books, you name it — thrift stores and yard sales are home decorating gold mines.
Fill up the Tank, Empty the Trunk
Driving on empty is literally one of the worst things you can do to both your car and you wallet. Make sure to keep your gas tank from dropping below half full — it will make a world of difference.
While we do recommend keeping your tank relatively full, we advise you to keep your trunk relatively empty. The heavier the vehicle, the more energy will be expended in order to get it moving, and the more gas it will burn; on the other hand, the lighter the car, the heavier your wallet, and the greener the planet. Everyone wins!