Tag Archives: Residential Propane Tanks

Propane Preparation & Safety Tips for Winter Storms

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Millions of Americans rely on propane for home heating, water heating, cooking, and drying their clothes. As the temperatures continue to drop, it’s important to maintain an efficient propane system and be well prepared in the event of a winter storm. Consider these propane preparation and safety tips to keep you and your family comfortable and safe all winter long.

Maintain an adequate supply of propane

In the event of a storm, you don’t want to risk running out of propane. It’s recommended to schedule a delivery when your propane tank is 30% full. However, if you know bad weather is coming, you should top your tank off just in case. A storm could leave the roads shut down, preventing your propane supplier from delivering your fuel.

At GasTec, we offer online ordering options, as well as automatic deliveries so you never have to worry about your tank running low.  Our prompt and convenient service makes us one of the leading propane companies in Delaware County.

Install propane and carbon monoxide detectors

Your home should have Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed propane and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and maintenance. Test the detectors and replace the batteries as instructed.

In addition to installing detectors, know what propane smells like. Though it’s naturally colorless and odorless, a potent smell is added to make it easier to detect propane leaks. The smell resembles rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Make sure everyone in your household knows what propane smells like, so leaks can be detected as quickly as possible.

Mark the tank

Whether your propane tank is located above or below the ground, it should be clearly marked so it can be easily located. Mark the tank using a stake, pole, or flag that’s higher than the average amount of snowfall for your area. Marking your tank will prevent accidents and make it easy for your propane supplier to locate when it’s time for a refill.

Clear snow and ice

Maintain a clear pathway to your propane tank for easy access. Keep your propane system and all outdoor vents, chimneys, and flues free of snow and ice.

Consider a propane-powered generator

During winter storms, it’s common to lose power. To prevent power outages, install a propane-powered generator for uninterrupted backup during blackouts.

Propane-powered generators trump gas-powered ones for a number of reasons. Propane is a clean-burning fuel and costs less per gallon than gasoline. Additionally, propane has a long shelf life and can be acquired when there’s a power outage.

Create an emergency preparedness plan

Create an emergency preparedness plan, and regularly review it with your household. Make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Everyone should know how to turn off the propane system, electricity, and water, as well as where to access the emergency preparedness kit.

Your emergency preparedness kit should include a list of emergency phone numbers, water and canned food to last for several days, extra clothes, blankets, flashlights, batteries, medications, a can opener, and a radio. If you have pets, your kit should include pet supplies, including food and water. Also keep snow removal equipment, firewood, and a fire starter on hand.

Scope out the scene

Strong winds, snow, and ice can cause damage to your propane system and nearby power lines. Carefully inspect the area after a storm to ensure it’s safe. If you notice anything potentially hazardous, contact your local utility company or propane supplier.

Follow these propane preparation and safety tips to keep your household protected before, during and after winter storms. For more safety advice, contact us: 888.449.3585.

Understanding Propane Tank Dimensions

Whether it’s for a backyard barbeque or your whole home energy needs, getting the right size propane tank is a must. But propane tank dimensions aren’t always easy to understand. How big will this tank be, will it fit where you need it to fit, and exactly how much propane do you get? Below is our complete guide.

Weight vs. Gallons of Propane

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Perhaps the most confusing part of understanding propane tank dimensions is knowing exactly how much propane you’re getting. Propane tanks are typically referred to by their weight—how many pounds they weigh when full. But most of us don’t have a clear sense of how much propane weighs, especially with the weight of the tank itself added in. To get a better visual of how much propane is inside, it’s often better to know how many gallons of propane a tank can hold.

Below, we will list all tanks by their weight but also give how many gallons they hold. Note: the two largest tank sizes are always listed by gallons, never weight.

Bear in mind that the best way to know how much propane you’ve used, or how much is left, is just through experience. Many propane tanks come with gauges that show you exactly how much you have, similar to the gas gauge on a car. But some propane tanks, particularly the smaller ones, do not. With these smaller tanks it’s generally best to have two on hand: one that you’re using, and one that you can switch to when the first one runs out. Then replace the first one and you’ll always have a backup.

Common Propane Tank Sizes

Here are the most common propane tanks:

20 lb tank:

  • 18” tall and 12” in diameter
  • Holds 5 gallons of propane
  • Very portable, easy to pick up
  • Usually exchanged at a refill station for a fresh tank

33 lb tank:

  • 2 feet tall and 1 foot in diameter
  • Holds 8 gallons of propane
  • Very portable, can be picked up by one person
  • Usually exchanged at a refill station for a fresh tank

100 lb tank:

  • 4 feet tall and 18” diameter
  • Holds nearly 25 gallons when full
  • Portable, may want a buddy to help
  • At-home exchange service is available

2x 100-lb tank setup:

  • Two 100 lb tanks are connected with a switchover valve
  • When one tank runs out, the valve automatically switches to the full one
  • A red/green indicator tells you when to replace the first tank.

420 lb tank:

  • 4 feet tall by 3 feet diameter
  • Holds 100 gallons of propane
  • Not portable. Refilled on-site.

500 gallon tank:

  • 5 feet tall by 10 feet long
  • Holds 400 gallons at 80% capacity (standard fill)
  • Above ground or below ground. Refilled on-site.

1,000 gallon tank:

  • 5 feet tall by 16 feet long
  • Holds 800 gallons at 80% capacity (standard fill)
  • Above ground or below ground. Refilled on-site.

What size propane tank is the best fit for you? Are you not sure? Contact one of our experts today for the help you need: 1-888-449-3585.

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

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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?

 

5 Propane Safety Tips for Winter

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Today, propane is the most common alternative fuel used in residential spaces, and it’s prized for the unrivaled comfort and energy-efficiency it provides. This winter, millions of households across American will rely on propane for home heating, water heating, cooking and drying clothes. To help residential propane users remain safe and comfortable all season long, consider these propane safety tips for winter.

  1. Stock up on propane: Make sure you have an adequate supply of propane. You should contact your propane supplier for a delivery when your tank reaches 30 percent full. During the winter the road conditions may be bad, and the demand for propane may be high. This provides your propane supplier with enough time to reach you before your supply runs out.
  1. Mark your propane tank: Mark your propane tank with a flag, pole or stake that’s higher than your area’s average snow cover depth. Having a marker for your propane tank will prevent you from plowing into or shoveling snow on top of the tank.
  1. Maintain a clear path to your propane tank: Keep the path to your propane tank clear of snow and ice so that it can be easily accessed throughout the winter months.
  1. Install propane gas and carbon monoxide detectors. Though propane is safe and environmentally friendly, a gas leak can be extremely dangerous. While a propane leak can be detected by the strong smell of rotten eggs, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) recommends installing UL-listed propane gas and carbon monoxide detectors for additional safety.
  1. Have an emergency preparedness plan. In the event of an emergency, your family members should be able to locate the phone numbers for your propane suppler and local emergency services. Post these essential phone numbers in an accessible place, such as on the refrigerator or near the telephone. You should also prepare an emergency kit containing several days’ worth of canned food and water, a can opener, a first aid kit, medicine, a radio, flashlights, batteries, blankets and extra clothes. You may also want to consider installing a propane-powered generator, so your home will continue operating if the main power source fails.

These are some key tips to help you maximize your safety and comfort during the winter months. If you have not yet made the switch to propane, contact Gas Tec to learn more about our residential propane tanks. We offer many services for homeowners across Bucks County, PA and in parts of Delaware and New Jersey and help them reduce their energy costs and enjoy optimal comfort through propane.

4 Ways to Decrease Your Heating Bills this Winter

man installing insulationWhen the weather starts to get seriously colder, one of the first things that homeowners worry about is the increase in their heating bills. Once the temperature dips down low enough, it becomes necessary to turn the heat up or freeze for months on end. This leads to all sorts of additional expenses that become the bane of many people’s existence. The good news is that there are lots of effective ways to cut these bills down to size. Here are some of the best ones.

1.  Improve Insulation – First and foremost, you can have your current wall, basement, and attic insulation assessed to see if any of it was improperly or inadequately installed or if it is old and needs replacement. For all you know, lots of air could be escaping your home and driving up your bills, and that will only get worse as the temperature outside gets colder. While improving this insulation may cost something upfront, the amount it saves you over the course of winter can amount to hundreds and even thousands of dollars, so it’s definitely worth the investment.

In addition, you’ll want to check for any small sources of air leakage – such as window and door frames and pipe openings – and make sure that they are covered. Much of this can be done very simply and affordably using a caulking gun from your local hardware store. Also, storm windows and doors can cut the draft inside your home, and the cracks beneath the door can be plugged with fabric draft blockers.

2.  Turn Down the Thermostat and Water Temperature – One of the simplest ways to cut costs during the winter is to ensure that you are not overheating your home or water. Your home air temperature can be easily controlled using a programmable thermostat – and if you haven’t yet gotten one of these, this should be a priority before the cold sets in! Using this thermostat, you can set the temperature ahead of time based on when you will need heat the most. For instance, many people set the temperature lower during the day when they are at work and during the night when they will be asleep and warm under their covers. Dinnertime and evenings will get cold, so most people set the thermostat a bit higher during these hours.

In terms of your water temperature, many manufacturers will start you out at 140°F and, if you haven’t changed it, that’s where it has probably stayed. However, you can save a good deal of money by reducing the setting to 120° and still have water that is more than hot enough for most of your needs. In fact, 140° is scalding enough that it is just about never necessary and can sometimes be dangerous.

3.  Cut Unnecessary Usage – This advice can help you out any old time of the year, but when you’re already paying extra, every little bit seems to count that much more. If there are any times that you use heat or hot water in ways that are wasteful or even just not strictly necessary, you can cut back on these.

For instance, we know how much you love that 35-minute shower and that it helps you to relax, but you will save a lot of money by trimming your time down to 15-20 minutes. Also remember to always do large laundry and dish loads, and to fill them up as much as you safely can. If you save laundry and dishes until you have enough for this, you will cut down the small, wasteful loads and decrease your hot water usage.

One way to cut unintentional over-usage is to install Energy Star rated appliances, such as a new low-flow showerhead. When your shower allows too much water to flow through during use, that water and the money you’re spending on heating it just goes down the drain. Buying a more efficient showerhead allows you to save the money and be more eco-friendly. Win-win!

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4.  Invest in Propane – Switching to an alternative fuel source is one of the more drastic measures that you can take but, like improving insulation, it’s one that will pay major dividends. Propane has several advantages over other heating options, but one of the biggest ones is the cost. Both residential propane tank installation and the subsequent deliveries cost significantly less than having an oil tank installed and then being at the whims of oil prices. In addition, the maintenance on oil heating systems can be laborious and expensive, where propane involves very little upkeep.

When it comes to hot water specifically, propane is not only cheaper than oil – it’s cheaper than electric! Because it heats the water faster and more accurately than electric, you’re wasting less water and less energy to heat it, and these savings will add up over winter. In addition, the equipment itself is also less prone to malfunction, meaning that you get to pay for less maintenance, repair, and replacement.

All in all, there are many things you can do to save on heating costs this winter. Contact us at Gas Tec for more information today!

A Master of Disguise: How to Conceal your Propane

While many homeowners appreciate propane as a reliable and cost-effective fuel option, we understand that sometimes the presence of a propane tank isn’t as appreciated. The truth is that propane tanks, whether above-ground or partially underground, don’t always seamlessly fit in with your yard’s aesthetic, and for many, these tanks can become outright eyesores.  However, we’ve found that there are a number of ways to make propane tanks a little more appealing, ensuring homeowners continue to want to reap the many benefits of powering their homes with propane. Consider the following ways to conceal your propane tank.

  1. Shape up with Shrubs

One of the easiest ways to conceal an above-ground propane tank is by planting dense shrubs and bushes, like juniper and photinia bushes; these will typically grow to at least six feet and thus can effectively conceal your tank. When landscaping around your propane tank, it’s important to plant shrubs and bushes about 5 feet away from your tank to ensure they don’t crowd the tank. You’ll also need to leave an entryway for easy access to the tank when it’s time for a refill so that your landscaping doesn’t get trampled. By landscaping with thriving, colorful shrubs and bushes, you’ll not only be hiding your propane tank, but you’ll be adding an attractive element to your yard.

  1. Form a Fence Facade

Other homeowners opt for simple vinyl or wooden fences to obstruct the view of their above-ground propane tanks. These fences, usually crafted in a lattice style (although there are countless designs that look great), are relatively inexpensive and can be installed by homeowners themselves. As with the addition of shrubs and bushes, it’s also essential to leave enough room for a propane refill when installing a fence. Additionally, be sure to avoid constructing a complete enclosure, as this restricts the ventilation needed to disperse potentially dangerous propane fumes.

Key Tip: Before you get out the paint cans and brushes, note that propane tanks must remain in the manufacturer’s color, which is typically gray or white.

Propane Tank Rock Cover

Photo courtesy Times Union.

  1. Rock Out with Rocks

For a more creative alternative, consider a rock cover for your propane tank. These covers are designed to look like authentic boulders and can be placed over the entirety of your above-ground propane tank, which, as you’d assume, means they’re very large. Though these rock covers can come at a steep price, they might be a good option for those interested in a year-round solution that doubles as a rain and snow cover to guard against rust and deterioration.

  1. Fix It Up with a Flower Bed

For homeowners with underground tanks, consider adding a flower bed around or above the propane tank, leaving the dome accessible. This is perhaps the easiest and most aesthetically-pleasing way to disguise the patch of yard near your underground propane tank. Just remember to stick with flowers and other plants with small roots (in other words, don’t plant a tree above your propane tank) and keep in mind that should service to the body of your propane tank ever be warranted, your flower bed will likely be disrupted.

In need of a new above-ground or underground propane tank? Contact GasTec today, one of the most successful and respected propane companies in PA!

The Basics of Residential Propane Tank Sizes

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

The 20 lb. tank

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

The 100 lb. tank

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

The 420 lb. / 120 Gallon Tank

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

The 500 and 1,000 gallon tanks

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

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

Safety Tips for New Propane Heating Users

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

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

carbon monoxide detector

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

Maintain Your Propane Levels

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

Size Does Matter

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