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.
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.