Safety, Savings and Comfort with Propane
Being safe, saving money and staying comfortable becomes a lot easier when you rely on propane — and us! To help you achieve these objectives this season, we offer some advice.
Shelter from the storm
Our service team has put together these suggestions to help your family stay safe during severe weather this season.
- Create an emergency plan and discuss it with everyone in your family. This plan should include instructions on how to turn off propane systems.
- Prepare a disaster supply kit, which should include several days’ worth of water and canned food supplies, along with a can opener, extra clothes, blankets, flashlights, medications, batteries and supplies for your pets. You should also have a battery-powered radio.
- If you use a whole-house propane generator, make sure it has enough fuel. Check the owner’s manual for instructions on calculating how much propane your generator uses. (For generators 9kW or less, it’s approximately 1.5 gallons per hour.)
- If your area is prone to flooding, make sure your tank is anchored securely.
- Once the storm passes, check your appliances for water or other damage. Never turn on a light switch, use a power source or inspect your appliances while you are standing in water. Have us inspect your appliances if you believe they have been damaged.
- Don’t use outdoor appliances indoors and make sure your indoor gas appliances are properly vented.
- If you smell propane in your home, leave immediately and call for help.
Feel free to call us so we can inspect your equipment and make sure it’s running safely and efficiently. We care about your comfort and safety!
Use your generator safely
With more people relying on both portable and permanent generators than ever before, our team also wanted to share these safety tips.
- Never operate a portable generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space; keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and away from windows and doors.
- If your generator is not connected to a propane tank, be sure to store its fuel in a properly labeled container.
- Always use a grounded extension cord with the proper power rating.
- Have your generator checked and adjusted annually for safety and efficiency.
- Installed whole-house generators should have a transfer switch to ensure a smooth transition when the lights go out. A transfer switch cuts electricity flow to the grid while the generator is on. This prevents the power in the generator from “back-feeding” into outside power lines and potentially injuring utility crews.
How do new water heater standards affect you?
New water heating standards from the U.S. Department of Energy went into effect in 2015. Under the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, all new storage tank water heaters—regardless of fuel source—must meet a higher efficiency rating.
Manufacturers say those increases in energy efficiency can be achieved in many cases by using more insulation. However, this will make the storage tank units a few inches taller and wider—while also increasing their cost. Depending on the model and tank capacity, new tank water heaters may be as much as three times more expensive as older ones.
That increased size will also have a big effect on homes with space constraints; a small propane gas tankless unit that hangs on the wall will be an easier fit than new, bigger tanks.
These regulatory changes are also expected to close the upfront cost gap between propane tankless units and electric storage tank heaters. Propane tankless units may even end up having a price advantage!
If you’re thinking about replacing your water heater soon, we recommend exploring your options in tankless water heaters. (See related article below.)
Go tankless for savings and comfort
- Tankless water heaters deliver an endless supply of water.
- Their compact size saves roughly 12 square feet of floor space.
- These systems are on-demand, so they heat water only when it’s needed. That feature eliminates standby losses that occur in systems with hot water storage tanks — like the typical electric water heater.
- They save more than $150 per year in energy costs compared with typical electric storage water heaters.*
- They have 50% to 60% lower CO2 emissions compared with electric storage tank systems.
- They may also qualify you for state and manufacturer rebates.
*Source: Propane Education Research Council.