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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!).
If you are living in Pennsylvania, south Jersey and northern Delaware, you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief right about now. There were a lot of scary predictions about winter storm Juno, but they largely amounted to a few inches of snow and a slightly longer commute. Considering the forecasts, that’s pretty darn good! But what about next time?
You’ve been considering a generator for a few years now to help out during snow-related power outages, but now that you are looking into it, you noticed that there are actually two main types – one that is portable and one that is permanent. Which one should you get? The clear winner is the automatic standby generator (the permanent one), and we at Gas Tec are here to explain why:
While portable generators can handle some appliances, they are generally made to power a lot less than standby generators. The largest automatic standby generators can basically ensure that your whole house is working when everyone else on the block is in the dark; however, there are several sizes based on what you think you will need. Make sure to check the wattage of all the appliances you will want and add them up to see what size to get. And don’t forget to include some extra wattage to cover the power up process, as appliances require more energy when first turned on.
By far the best thing about automatic standby generators is their safety. These systems are installed by professionals and use propane from your existing supply or from an independent tank set up with the generator (recommended so that you don’t use up a big chunk of your regular supply in a few days in the event of emergency). They are self-contained and don’t require any work or cable setups on your part.
In contrast, portable generators run on gasoline and require you to connect the individual appliances you want to power to the generator via extension cords. This presents several major safety hazards:
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – The exhaust from the portable, gas-powered machine is deadly, so the generator must be kept at least ten feet away from the house, windows, and doors, or any enclosed spaces that people might go, such as garages or carports.
- Electrocution – Being in the open air presents an electrocution risk if it rains or snows, so you basically have to build your generator a little mini tent and make sure your kids don’t climb under it! In addition, plugging your generator directly into an outlet – instead of into the specific appliances you need to run – can literally kill utility workers trying to get your power back online! So obviously, you need to avoid plugging into a wall socket at all costs.
- Fire – If you try to refill the generator’s tank when it hasn’t fully cooled down, it can catch fire, which will provide some heat, but won’t do much for powering your home.
Automatic standby generators offer much greater convenience than portable ones, without question. For instance, most portable machines have a maximum of about four plugs, which definitely puts a limit on how many things you can power at a time. They also emit a constant, loud humming noise, they run out of gas often (which can be inconvenient at night when it’s hard to see), and they have to be turned on in the first place. Automatic generators turn on as soon as they sense an outage, are incredibly quiet, take a long while to run out of propane, and don’t have a plug limit – only a power limit.
In fact, the only advantage that we could really find about portable generators is that they are somewhat cheaper than automatic standby varieties. However, considering the safety, power, and convenience that automatic standby generators provide, we at Gas Tec think there’s really no question. After all, can you really put a price on peace of mind?
Call or contact us today to find out about automatic standby generator installation and residential propane prices in the tri-state area!
Whether you have a family or live alone, you always want to be prepared for the unexpected in the wintertime in Pennsylvania. We all learned that lesson the hard way last year when the snow never seemed to stop, and this year, experts are predicting more of the same. While there are many ways to prepare your home for the worst of the winter weather, here are some tips to help you stay warm and safe no matter how frightful things get.
Having the little things like candles and plush blankets in close reach will make you more comfortable if the electricity goes out. Candles are a great alternative to flashlights, since they don’t require batteries – you should have some batteries handy anyway – and they can also work as a heat source to warm up canned soups and foods.
And, speaking of food, it’s a good idea to have a decent stock of canned vegetables, soups, and other non-perishables for when you are stuck in the house. Don’t bother so much with the mad fight for milk and eggs – they’ll be the first to go when the power does; instead, stock up on the cans, dried fruits and nuts, crackers, peanut butter, and bottled water. And, of course, make sure to have a basic first-aid kid on hand at all times.
Make Sure to Have Tools On Hand
You’ll need more than just food for when you are stranded inside the house – you’ll also need some tools to help you dig your way out of it. Make sure that you have some good, solid shovels in your garage, along with a couple of bags of salt and some sand, a windshield scraper, jumper cables, a tool kit, and any other supplies that you think you might need. After all, if you don’t have a shovel, getting out of your driveway after the storm is going to be awfully hard. Avoid getting stuck by having supplies on hand. And don’t forget to bundle up properly when doing anything outside during the cold weather!
Invest in a Generator
A propane powered generator could be one of the best investments you’ll ever make for the winter months. Generators turn mechanical energy from an outside source into power that can be used for electricity. If you’d rather not rough it during a blizzard, a generator can be substituted for your power source to a greater or lesser degree depending on the size you get; this means that your heat, lights, and cooking appliances can work throughout the storm. You can research residential propane prices to figure out how much it would cost to power your generator for a few days. Knowing that you have a backup plan when a bad blizzard is on the way will give you one less thing to worry about, which goes a long way during a state of emergency.
Check your Insulation
One of the best ways to keep your home warm during a serious storm is to ensure that you aren’t leaking all of your warm air out into the frosty world. This is especially true if you might be using a generator to heat your house. Check the areas around your windows and doors for any leaks or drafts. If you notice any, there are several things you can do:
- Buy a draft blocker for the bottom of the doors or roll up a towel and make your own!
- Use some caulking to fill any cracks.
- Get a window insulation kit, which contains some plastic that covers windows and blocks drafts.
- Invest in storm windows and doors.
At Gas Tec, our residential propane prices are incredibly affordable, especially for the peace of mind they provide. When freezing cold weather hits in Pennsylvania, the money you spent won’t matter; what will matter is that your family is safe, warm, and comfortable.
When it comes to forms of energy people use to heat their homes, everyone has their own opinion. Some people swear by some forms because they put in hours of research before they commit to one source. And others simply end up using whatever was installed in the home. When we talk to new customers, we’re surprised about what they claim to know about propane. There’s a lot of misinformation about propane that is presented as a fact to the average person, and those misinterpreted “facts” end up leading to a lot of confusion about what the gas is capable of. We’re going to do you a favor and dispel a lot of so-called facts about using propane.
1. Propane takes too long too heat
Some people choose not to use propane to heat their homes because they think that it’ll take too long to heat, and usually chalk it up to the equipment and gas. Propane tanks are attached directly to your heating equipment, and that close attachment can create a surprising amount of efficiency in your heating system. The right kind of equipment can provide quick warmth to your home, so if you’re concerned about efficient heating, propane would be the perfect system for you.
2. Propane is expensive
Cost is one of the main things people are concerned with in terms of their energy usage, and some people tend to shy away from using propane since they believe that it is too expensive. If you’re concerned about energy costs and your monthly bills, propane is your best energy choice. Residential propane prices are extremely affordable, and may even be cheaper than the fuel you’re using now. Propane is a highly efficient gas, so you’ll be getting the most out of your monthly payments.
3. Propane tanks and systems are big and ugly
This myth is most likely persistent because many people are used to seeing propane grills, and they assume that all propane heating systems look like large and clunky tanks attached to pipes. It’s understandable since it’s estimated that 47 million Americans use propane heating for their grills, but the assertion is still false. There are a wide variety of propane systems available, depending on what they’re needed for. You can have an elegant-looking system for your propane heated fireplace, or have a simply designed and compact system to fit into a small space in your home.
4. Propane is unsafe
Some people worry about using propane because they’re worried that it’s unsafe, but residential propane heating systems are just as secure as your other leading heating systems. Leaked liquid propane vaporizes and dissipates into the air. With models that come with automatic fuel shut-offs and leak alarms, you’ll be prepared for any emergency situation.