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How Is Propane Made?

Propane Is Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG)

propane georgia Over the years, the propane industry, in partnership with the businesses and scientific communities, has worked diligently to make propane the practical fuel source it stands for today. The process of making propane has evolved over the last century or so. Today, there are two primary ways propane is produced, but that is evolving too, thanks to the advent of renewable propane.

Because propane is created through the processing of natural gas and crude oil, it is a fuel that is largely a domestic product. About 90% of the American propane supply is generated right here in the United States. That abundant, right-at-home supply in your propane tank makes propane a reliable fuel choice for your Georgia home or business, and all its potential appliances and equipment, throughout the year.

Going back to its two main sources, some propane is created via crude oil refining. During the stabilization phase of the refining process, heavier hydrocarbons fall to the bottom. But propane, being a lighter hydrocarbon, is at the top and it’s easily extracted.

Crude oil refining, however, only plays a small role now in the production of propane. Most propane is derived today from natural gas production. When natural gas gets taken out of the earth, it is a mix of different gases. One of these gases is propane.

To stop condensation from forming in natural gas pipelines, propane is extracted from liquid compounds as the natural gas is being processed. Butane is also extracted during this process. Propane, being much denser as a liquid than as a gas, is stored and transported as a liquid in this form of production.

Why You Can Feel Good About Propane

Here are the qualities of propane that make Georgians feel good about making it a part of their lives.

So, if you’re searching for energy tips to save money, put “use propane more” at the top of your list.

Look for Renewable Propane in the Future

While renewable propane is not widely available yet, homes and businesses all over the U.S. will eventually be able to easily use it. Since renewable propane is molecularly identical to conventional propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment.

Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Most of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.

This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as conventional propane. Plus, renewable propane has a smaller carbon footprint.

Read more about renewable propane gas.

There Is No Detrimental Impact on Air, Soil or Water

propane safety georgia Propane gas is a perfect choice for those who strive for safety and environmental responsibility because it is not only nontoxic, it produces minimal emissions, according to the nonprofit Propane Education and Research Council.

In fact, propane is a clean-burning fuel that was recognized as an alternative fuel in both the Clean Air Act and the National Energy Policy. In the rare event of a leak, propane has no detrimental impact on the air, soil, water, aquatic life, marine life, or plant life.

Looking Ahead to Renewable Propane

Renewable propane is the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future for the propane industry and propane consumers.

Renewable propane is molecularly identical to propane. But unlike conventional propane, renewable propane can be made from a variety of renewable feedstocks. The most common form of renewable propane today is a byproduct of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel that is made primarily from plant and vegetable oils, animal fats, or used cooking oil.

As the renewable propane sector grows in the years ahead, more people will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further than they do now with traditional propane.

Is Propane an Energy Efficient Fuel?

Fuel efficiency is crucial for any product to be considered an environmentally friendly energy source. Increased efficiency means decreased harmful emissions, and propane is one of the most efficient fuels around, with many propane appliances rated 90% efficient or higher. In other words, you get a lot of bang for your buck with propane, both financially and energy-wise.

Propane Safety

While propane gas itself is nontoxic, it can displace the air in a person’s lungs when inhaled, making it difficult to breathe in the unlikely event that someone is exposed to propane gas in high concentrations. To put it another way, propane hogs up the air in the lungs that a person needs to breathe. But symptoms related to propane vapor exposure stem from oxygen depletion, not from any toxic attributes of the propane itself.

Here are just a few of the reasons why propane is one of the safest ways to power your home.

The bottom line: propane is one of the safest sources of energy around – not to mention one of the most versatile and efficient ways to power just about any equipment you need to keep your family safe and comfortable in any season.

How to Find a Water Heater That’s Right for You

water heaters georgia Have you heard about propane tankless water heaters? These are a great, money-saving alternative to traditional storage tank water heaters, which always need fuel to reheat water and waste a lot of energy in the process.

While it’s true that a tankless propane water heater has a higher upfront cost than a traditional storage tank water heater, you’ll discover that you can save a lot of money on your water heating expenses over time. Tankless units are also more durable than corrosion-prone storage tank water heaters.

How a Propane Tankless Water Heater Works

A propane tankless water heater is so compact in size that it can easily be mounted on a wall. These units are about the size of a suitcase, which allows for installation in crawl spaces, attics, closets, and other tight spaces.

When you turn on your hot water faucets or an appliance, a flow sensor will activate a propane gas burner to heat the water. The heating will continue until you turn off the faucet, which shuts off the gas burner.

Isn’t that a better choice than relying on your old storage tank water heater to heat water and store it for when you need it? This is not an ideal situation as the tank will lose heat over time, especially if the hot water tank is in an unheated space. And that costs you money!

By switching to a tankless model, your energy efficiency can improve by up to 40% and you’ll have access to virtually unlimited amounts of hot water – because you won’t have to worry about the tank draining and having to refill and reheat.

Choosing the Right Tankless Water Heater

There are two key factors that need to be considered when deciding on the type of tankless water heater that meets your needs.

  1. Flow Rate: This is how much hot water you will need at any given time.
  2. Temperature Rise: This is the difference between the incoming cold-water temperature and the desired water temperature

You will need a Georgia propane professional to calculate which fixtures you plan to run simultaneously and how much hot water each will use.

So, depending on key factors like how many tubs and showers you have, how often you’re running appliances like a washing machine or dishwasher, and how many of these would be in use at once, your propane service company can customize your tankless water heater to suit your needs and always deliver all the hot water you need.

How Long Do Propane Tankless Water Heaters Last?

Propane gas-burning tankless water heaters should work for 20 years or more. That’s two or three times longer than most storage tank water heaters.

And if you experience the average energy savings of $150 per year, these savings should pay for your investment in a tankless water heater in about six or seven years. After that, you can pocket all the savings on heating the water in your home.

GA Rebates for Propane Tankless Water Heaters

As you consider your requirements, or if you need some help figuring out what’s most important, get in touch with your Georgia propane service company. They’ll be glad to walk you through the process and help you get a better understanding of your household’s hot water needs. They can also tell you all about current Georgia rebates that will help you save money on a tankless water heater as well as other propane heating equipment.

It’s important to note that when you want to install propane-powered equipment, it’s essential that you bring in a licensed technician. Propane equipment is extremely safe when installed properly. But as with all energy sources, improper installation can be dangerous. Certified propane technicians have the training, experience, and tools to do the job quickly, correctly and safely.

This is largely because of the Certified Employee Training Program (CETP), which is run under the direction of the Propane Education & Research Council. What’s more, you can only take advantage of available rebates if your installation is inspected for safety with a Gas Check®. Please speak to your propane appliance provider about this inspection.

Simple and Safe Ways to Check

grill tank georgia Since most portable propane grill tanks don’t come with a built-in gauge, you need another way to figure out how much fuel is left in the tank attached to your propane grill. You obviously don’t want to wait until your grill shuts off to tell you that your propane tank is out of gas.

Simple Ways to Check Your Portable Gas Cylinder

Use water. You can determine the approximate level of propane in a tank by using a little bit of water. Here’s how:

The top of the cool spot is the fill level of the tank. It feels cool because liquid propane inside the tank is absorbing the heat from the water, which makes the metal wall of the tank cool to the touch.

Weigh the tank. Most propane grill tanks come with two numbers stamped on the handle – the water capacity (“WC”) and Tare Weight (TW – the weight of the tank when it’s empty). Most grilling tanks weigh about 17 pounds when empty. To measure how many pounds of propane are left in your tank, simply weigh it on a scale and subtract the TW number. For example, if a tank weighing 27 pounds has a TW of 17 pounds, there’s about 10 pounds of gas left—or about 2.5 gallons.

For an easier way, there are analog propane scales that look like luggage scales and are pre-set to take your tank’s TW into account. There are also digital propane tank scales that provide a digital readout of remaining cook time and gas fill percentage. Some even come with smart phone apps.

Use an external gauge. Inline pressure gauges fit between the gas line from the grill and the cut-off valve on the tank, measuring pressures to determine how full the tank is.

Pick the method that you’re most comfortable with and give it a try the next time you’re wondering how much propane is left in your portable cylinder.

80/20 Rule for Tank Fills

When you take your portable 20-lb propane tank to a refill station or tank exchange, you should get four gallons (or 17 pounds of propane; propane weighs 4.25 pounds per gallon). For safety reasons, the propane cylinder should only be filled to 80% of its maximum capacity. Leaving the tank 20% empty leaves room for the LP gas to expand, which it will do when the temperature rises. A propane cylinder illegally filled to 100% capacity could burst. This same 80/20 rule also applies to your home heating propane tank.

Safety Tips for Propane Cylinders

Here are some safety tips to always keep in mind.

Remember that propane cylinders incorporate special components such as valves, connectors, and other parts to keep them safe for use with grills and other propane appliances. Damage to any component can cause a gas leak. Don’t risk it! Instead, always contact a qualified propane service provider for assistance.

Your Georgia propane company wants to make sure you know how to approach propane safety in and around your home or business, no matter how you’re using propane. We encourage you to review our propane safety and operation tips, courtesy of the Propane Education and Research Council.

It’s American-made, Versatile, Efficient and Clean

propane georgia You can feel good about using propane in your Georgia home or business because this popular fuel is American-made, versatile, efficient, and clean!

First, about 90% of our propane is produced right here in the U.S. Not only does that make it a reliable fuel choice, but it also helps propane’s price to remain relatively stable.

Propane is also an amazingly versatile fuel. You can use it to heat your home and your water, cook your food and dry your clothes, to name just some of its potential household uses. Whatever appliance you choose, you can count on getting a lot of power and heating energy from every gallon of propane you use.

Plus, because there are strong federal, state and local regulations, as well as extremely high industry standards, propane is an incredibly safe energy source for your home or business.

Is Propane Good for the Environment?

Propane is a clean-burning fuel that was recognized as an alternative fuel in both the Clean Air Act and the National Energy Policy. Propane does not contain a speck of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. And in the rare event of a leak, propane has no detrimental impact on the air, soil, water, aquatic life, marine life or plant life.

Today’s propane heating systems and other propane appliances have high efficiency ratings. That efficiency, along with propane’s clean-burning properties, allows you to reduce your home’s carbon footprint without having to sacrifice either comfort or convenience.

New to the Mix: Renewable Propane

Have you heard about renewable propane? For the propane industry, it represents the next big step towards a zero-carbon-emissions future.

While renewable propane is not widely available yet, homes and businesses all over the U.S. will eventually be able to easily use it. That’s because renewable propane is molecularly identical to conventional propane, which is already a clean-burning fuel. But it is made with renewable resources, such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass and other triglycerides. There will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment!

How Is Renewable Propane Made?

Here’s a closer look at some of the common feedstocks used in the production of renewable propane gas.

As the renewable propane sector grows, more and more people will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further.
Renewable propane gas will also offer propane providers in Georgia greater opportunities to be involved in projects that require energy sources to be zero-carbon or as close as possible when it comes to emissions.

Please explore RenewablePropaneGas.com to learn how propane is getting cleaner by the day.

8 Propane Safety Tips You Should Know

propane safety georgia Without question, propane is one of the safest fuels you can use in and around your Georgia home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your propane gas appliances. The best way to keep all your propane equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Also, be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required.

To help guide you through a winter that will be safe and comfortable, here are eight valuable safety tips, courtesy of the Propane Education and Research Council.

  1. Propane smells like rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Propane manufacturers add this smell to help alert consumers to propane leaks. If you have someone living in your household with a diminished sense of smell, such as an elderly relative, purchase a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security.
  2. When appliances operate properly, propane burns with a blue flame. If you see yellow or orange flames—or notice significant amounts of soot on any equipment–the gas may not be burning completely. This situation can create carbon monoxide. Arrange for an inspection from a propane professional if you notice a yellow or orange flame or see soot build-up on your gas burners.
  3. If you are renovating your home or need to move your propane gas appliances for any reason, please consult with a professional. Moving gas appliances should not be a do-it-yourself task—you may inadvertently damage the gas connector. Older connectors can easily crack if twisted, which can lead to a gas leak. Be aware that any time you disconnect and then reconnect an appliance, a gas leak test must be performed to ensure that the fittings are secure.
  4. Regularly check the outdoor vents of your appliances to make sure combustion gases flow unobstructed to the outdoors. Insects, birds, and small animals have been known to build nests in vent pipes. Snow and ice can clog your vents also. To prevent any damage, use a broom or a soft brush–not a shovel–to gently remove any obstructions you find in your vents.
  5. Make sure that carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are installed on every level of your home. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for placement and maintenance. Test your CO detectors every year and replace batteries as needed. You generally should replace the whole CO detector every five or 10 years, depending on the type of unit you have.
  6. If you have a propane backup generator, make sure it has enough fuel to run for at least a week in the event of a power outage. Run your generator periodically to make sure it is operating properly. This will also help critical moving parts remain lubricated. Be sure you follow a proper maintenance schedule for your generator also.
  7. Never store portable propane cylinders indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
  8. Never use outdoor propane equipment (grills, portable generators, etc.) indoors. Carbon monoxide coming out from these devices is dangerous.

Your Georgia Propane Company Looks After You

Your professional propane company is strongly committed to training. This ensures that their employees know precisely how to deliver your fuel safely—and know what to do in case of a leak or other emergency. Many companies also have a well-trained force of certified propane technicians who have years of experience inspecting and servicing all types of propane appliances.

If you have any questions or concerns about your propane appliances, please contact your Georgia propane company and they will be glad to help.

Please visit our Propane Safety page to watch some videos, including one that shows you what to do if you suspect a gas leak.

A Clean-Burning, Non-Fossil Fuel Is on the Way

renewable propane

Propane gas is becoming increasingly popular for its energy efficiency and the many amenities it provides, including in Georgia. But will there be enough to go around in the future? The good news is that the advent of renewable propane gas can not only help meet rising demand, but it also gives us a dependable, secure domestically made energy source.

While it is not in common use yet, renewable propane gas has positioned itself to be a major part of the clean fuel conversation in the years ahead.

Since it is molecularly identical to propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment. As usage of renewable propane increases, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, making a big difference in the battle to mitigate the effects of climate change.

So where does it come from and how is it made? While conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, renewable propane is a non-fossil fuel produced at biofuel facilities from renewable biomass-based feedstocks.

Reducing Landfill Waste

Many of these feedstocks are what most people would consider waste products. For example, production of renewable propane diverts used cooking oil and meat fats from languishing in landfills. In 2018, in conjunction with biofuel production, renewable propane production used the following as feedstocks:

That’s a lot of waste being put to good use! Here’s a closer look at some of the common feedstocks used in the production of renewable propane gas.

Achieving Negative Carbon Intensity

Current research could bring us to a place where renewable propane produces net-negative carbon emissions. One of the most promising ways for reaching this goal is with dimethyl ether (DME). Researchers can now synthesize this biogas from animal waste. This prevents the release of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the product can be blended with propane.

Renewable Propane Production

The 200,000 tons of American renewable propane currently made is only about 0.1% of total propane production. The good news is that there is tremendous potential for growth as more resources are dedicated to renewable propane production. Also, since renewable propane is a coproduct of biofuel, they will scale up together.

Read more about renewable propane gas.

Understanding the 80/20 Rule for Propane Tanks

propane tank georgia Have you ever noticed that right after your propane supplier delivered your fuel, they didn’t fill your propane tank all the way up to the 100% level?

Don’t worry. Your propane supplier is not doing anything wrong. Quite the contrary. They’re looking after you by following what’s known in the industry as the “80/20 rule.” This rule is followed for a very important reason: safety.

Propane: From Liquid to Gas

The propane in your tank is stored as a liquid. The liquid changes to gas before it leaves the tank. That’s why it’s called liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

Like any liquid, propane will expand when its temperature rises. The difference with propane is that it expands a lot, and quickly. Its volume increases nearly 17 times the volume of water over the same temperature increase.

This is why your propane delivery driver needs to leave extra space in your tank. This enables propane to safely expand. Aboveground propane tanks are typically filled to about 80% capacity; underground tanks can be filled slightly higher because they are insulated against the heat.

That extra space in the tank provides a cushion against the pressure that builds up inside the tank. For example, a 500-gallon tank filled to 80% will safely hold 400 gallons of propane.

This safeguard is especially important in hot weather—when liquid propane will expand the most. It’s important to note that the amount of gas in the tank doesn’t change during periods of expansion and contraction–only its density does. For example, if you notice that the tank gauge reading fluctuates slightly during quick temperature swings (hot day, cool night), again, don’t worry because that’s perfectly normal.

Propane gas expansion is also a reason why you should never paint your outdoor propane tank a dark color. This is because dark colors absorb more heat.

Propane Delivery Options

Life can get busy with work, family and other obligations. And sometimes, you might forget to regularly go outside and check your tank gauge to see how much propane is in your tank. If the reading is 30% or less, you know it’s time call your propane supplier to schedule a delivery.

If you forget to check your tank, you risk running low on or worse, completely running out of propane. That means the expense and hassle of an emergency propane delivery. And if you run out of propane, you also need a professional to pressure test your propane system and relight the pilots on all your appliances. That’s another expense.

Many of Georgia’s propane companies offer a solution with their automatic delivery service. They track your propane usage and schedule a delivery to your home before you run low.

If your local propane company doesn’t offer automatic delivery, or if you prefer the control of will-call, you need to be vigilant about monitoring your propane tank gauge levels and request a delivery when your tank is between 25% and 30% full. While your propane dealer may be able to make a delivery within a day in cases of extreme emergency, it is always best to provide a few days’ notice. This advance notice is necessary for scheduling your home into a delivery route.

Please check with your local propane dealer to find out what services and options they offer. Find propane service companies in your area.

Your Gas Furnace May Have Electronic Ignition

propane furnace georgia If you have an older gas furnace in your Georgia home, your heating unit relies on a small blue flame known as a pilot light to ensure the ignition of the burners. Water heaters, gas fireplaces, and old gas stoves often have similar pilot lights. Here’s how to know: if your furnace has a round knob on the gas valve with the words OFF/ON/PILOT/, you have what’s known as a standing pilot ignition.

As you’ve probably learned from experience, the biggest drawback to pilot lights is that they will get extinguished at times. This will cause you to lose your heat. Common reasons for a pilot light to go out include a nearby draft, dirt buildup, or a malfunctioning thermocouple.

Another drawback is energy waste. Since the pilot light needs to remain active, your furnace is always consuming some propane gas. It’s not a lot, but that obviously adds up over time.

There is a safety issue as well. Pilot lights can develop problems that cause them to burn inefficiently. When this happens, a small amount of carbon monoxide can be released into your home.

Modern Furnaces and Electronic Ignition

These problems are not an issue when you have a modern propane gas furnace, which uses electronic ignition instead of an old-fashioned pilot light.

Most furnaces with electronic ignition have a device called a hot surface igniter. This is a small electronic device that receives an electrical current whenever your thermostat calls for heat. The ignition heats up to a temperature that is hot enough to ignite the gas to your burners, and then it shuts off after it has done its job.

Another type of electronic ignition is an intermittent pilot light. This uses a small flame to ignite the burners just like a conventional pilot light. The difference is that the flame is only lit (by an electronic spark) when your furnace is ready for a heating cycle. When the pilot light is not needed, it is completely off, saving you money on propane gas.

Although you can still find gas furnaces with standing pilot lights, they have mostly become obsolete since 2010. If you have a furnace installed after 2010, it almost certainly doesn’t use a pilot light to light the burners but relies on an electronic ignition system instead.

New Propane Gas Furnaces Heat Efficiently

Modern propane gas furnaces are best in their class in terms of efficiency. They have efficiency ratings from 90%–98%. This means that less than 10 % of the propane used for heating is lost to combustion.

Besides an electronic ignition system, new propane furnaces use vent dampers in the flue to help lower your energy costs. When your home is heated to the desired temperature, the vent dampers close, keeping residual heat in to be circulated in the home rather than venting outdoors. The vent dampers open when you need more heat. That allows the fumes from combustion to safely vent out of your home. Because the burner in your furnace cannot ignite when the damper is closed, you’ll only be using propane when you need more heating.

Read more about the benefits of a new propane gas furnace installation.

Advice for Keeping Safe Before and After the Storm

propane safety georgia Georgians are no strangers to the damaging effects of hurricanes. Our latest brush came with Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall in Florida on August 30 before moving north into our state.

Lowndes County, which is home to Valdosta, experienced the worst damage, with estimates of 80 homes destroyed and 835 more sustaining major damage due to winds that reached nearly 70 mph.

What’s more, Gov. Brian Kemp estimated that Idalia caused at least $41 million in damage to public infrastructure in Georgia. Read more about hurricane damage in Georgia.

Even though this storm has passed, we’re not out of the proverbial woods yet since the Atlantic hurricane season lasts until November 30. With that in mind, we wanted to share important safety reminders to help you stay prepared for any future storms.

Preparing for a Hurricane

Do the following if severe weather is forecast.

Steps to Take After the Storm

Other Propane Safety Reminders

Please keep in mind that propane is one of the safest fuels you can choose for your Georgia home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your gas appliances.

The best way to keep all your propane gas equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required and then get in touch with a propane professional if you require appliance service or have any questions.