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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do the following if severe weather is forecast.
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.
There has been a push in recent years to make electricity the energy of choice for Georgia homes. But it seems like we can never get through the summer heat without heavy electric demand or damaging storms causing a massive power outage somewhere in Georgia. This summer was no exception.
With that in mind, how on earth are we going to handle an enormous new electric heating load during the winter? That’s a big concern as more fleets transition to electric vehicles and more buildings electrify. Right now, our fragile electric grid is far from ready.
Electricity isn’t the only answer to achieving a clean energy future! Propane remains one of the most reliable fuels available today, and the propane industry remains firmly committed to raising the bar higher by making renewable propane gas available to everyone. While renewable propane gas is not in wide use yet, its production grows substantially each year.
Please go to Renewablepropanegas.com to learn more about propane’s exciting future.
Here are four steps to follow when the inevitable power outage happens.
With a propane-powered standby generator, your power will restart automatically within seconds after an outage, and it will stay on until power is restored.
Permanently installed–similar to an outdoor A/C unit–and supplied by a propane tank–propane generators are available in a variety of capacities to fit the needs of any size home in Georgia.
With a propane whole-house backup generator, you’ll get through a summer outage with your air conditioning keeping the house cool. If you lose power in the winter, your home will stay at a safe, warm temperature so you’ll be comfortable.
And if there is someone in your home who relies on medical equipment such as oxygen, home dialysis, or an electric wheelchair, a propane whole-house backup generator keeps their vital equipment running.
Some of the foods in your refrigerator can begin to spoil just a few hours after the power goes out. You could end up throwing out hundreds of dollars’ worth of food–from your refrigerator and freezer–without a propane whole-house backup generator.
You can also count on your backup propane generator to power your laptop, phone, TV, gaming system and more. You can work safely from home; you and your family will stay entertained, and you can stay connected with loved ones and the world outside as you await updates on restored power.
If you don’t have a propane generator yet and would like to explore your options, reach out to your propane company. If they don’t install generators, they can probably refer you to someone who does.
More folks in the Peach State are discovering the joys and benefits of trading in their electric clothes dryer for a new propane gas clothes dryer. It’s similar to the excitement people felt when they discovered propane tankless water heaters as a viable and money-saving option to inefficient electric storage tank water heaters.
So, what’s so hot about propane clothes dryers? According to the nonprofit Propane Education and Research Council, propane gas clothes dryers offer homeowners an efficient, convenient, and quick laundry solution. Compared with electric dryers, a propane clothes dryer will dry clothes faster and more efficiently.
Propane dryers also offer the latest innovations such as steam cycles to de-wrinkle and freshen garments, drum lights to give better visibility inside the unit, and LCD control screens for ease of use. With propane, laundry day goes by a lot faster!
In terms of convenience, both electric and propane clothes dryers use a single vent to exhaust to the outdoors, which simplifies electric-to-propane replacements.
The efficiency and cost benefits are created by the propane dryer’s higher heating capacity, shorter cycle times, and features like pilotless ignition. In the same way that a propane tankless water heater is more efficient than using electricity to heat water, using propane heat to dry clothes is also more efficient.
In fact, the propane clothes dryer, the clothes washer, and a propane tankless water heater supplying the clothes washer can form a laundry room trio to optimize convenience, efficiency, performance and the latest technology. Going full-tilt with a propane laundry room means avoiding the cost of installing a 220V circuit for an electric dryer. The lower-cost 110V circuit for a propane dryer can also supply the clothes washer with power.
Keep all of these benefits in mind as you look for the propane dryer that’s right for you—whether it’s for a weekly laundry marathon or the occasional light load.
We hope you know by now that versatile, efficient and clean-burning propane can not only dry your clothes and heat your home, it can power everything from water heaters, generators and stoves, along with cooktops and fireplaces. In the Great Outdoors, propane can heat your pool or spa, create comfortable gathering spots with deck and patio heaters and firepits, make cookouts fun and easy with high-performance propane grills and much more.
That’s why Georgians should consider propane as their fuel for all seasons!
Read more about propane appliances and find out about propane vs. electricity.
If you’re looking to improve your business bottom line in the Metro Atlanta area or anywhere else in the Peach State, you need to know about propane autogas.
Propane autogas is the world’s most popular alternative fuel, which is defined as any product that bypasses the two big traditional petroleum fuels: gasoline and diesel.
According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, 60% of alternative-fuel vehicles nationwide now run on propane, from school buses to vans and fleet trucks to forklifts, lawnmowers and farm tractors. It is the third most popular vehicle fuel, next to gasoline and diesel.
By converting to propane autogas, businesses in Georgia have already displaced tens of thousands of gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel, which produce far more emissions than propane autogas. Plus, some propane companies are helping businesses become even more eco-friendly by setting them up with a propane autogas dispensing station on their property, or scheduling regular on-site fueling.
Here are three key areas where propane-fueled vehicles have an edge over those that rely on diesel or gasoline.
Fuel: You can generally count on an average savings of 30 to 40 % per mile driven with propane autogas, considering both the cost of the fuel itself and expected fuel economy. Historically, propane has been 30% less than gasoline, and the savings are even greater when compared to higher-priced diesel.
Fluids: New, lower emissions diesel technology presents extra costs because diesel emissions fluid needs to be purchased, stored and changed. Plus, in cold temperatures, diesel vehicles need anti-gel fluids to prevent fuel filters and fuel lines from clogging. If your fleet runs on propane autogas, however, you will benefit from reliable performance in any type of weather without the need and extra expense of additional fluids.
Filters: To meet emissions requirements, today’s diesel technology requires diesel particulate filters that must be cleaned. Excessive idling accelerates cleaning intervals. These extra maintenance expenses just add more to the total cost of ownership.
There has been much talk about achieving net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, and transitioning to all-electric vehicles has been a big part of the conversation because electricity is considered a “clean fuel” by many.
Although a battery-powered electric car itself doesn’t produce any emissions, the power plant that generates the electricity used to charge those batteries probably does. And right now, those power plants are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States.
Other obstacles slowing the move toward electric vehicles include low supply, charging infrastructure challenges, expensive upfront costs and limited mileage range.
For fleet owners who want the cost benefits of propane autogas but need the flexibility of a gasoline backup or who aren’t ready to purchase new vehicles, EPA-certified bi-fuel conversion kits can be installed on existing vehicles.
You can count on propane refueling technology to deliver as dependably as the vehicles themselves. Refueling with propane autogas is quick, quiet and safe. It’s the same experience as refueling with diesel or gasoline, making the transition to propane autogas easy for fleets.
Propane autogas fleet operators can also save money by taking advantage of the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit, which was recently passed by the U.S. Congress as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. You can qualify to claim a credit for every gasoline gallon equivalent of propane autogas purchased.
Read more about propane autogas.
There has been a push in recent years to make electricity the energy of choice for Georgia homes based on the dubious claim that it is the right choice for reducing our carbon footprint. But according to current data, this logic doesn’t hold up.
Right now, energy from our electric grid is far from clean. In 2021, the combustion of fossil fuels like natural gas and coal for electricity generation was the nation’s second-largest source of CO2 emissions. And in Georgia, more than 60% of the electricity generated is still sourced from coal and natural gas.
So how clean is propane? For starters, when you use propane appliances instead of electric ones, you’re relying on a fuel that produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the grid.
Just as important in the propane vs. electricity debate is the topic of energy efficiency, which has a big effect on the environment as well. Because the less energy you use, the less impact you have on the environment.
Propane generates more Btus than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. To appreciate propane’s big advantage over electricity in energy efficiency, you have to consider Btu content.
Btus can be used to compare energy sources on an equal basis. To compare propane to electricity, we need to know that:
To make these two energy sources “equal,” divide 91,452 Btus by 3,412 Btus. Your answer will be:
Propane101.com makes this comparison to illustrate the efficiency of propane compared to electricity. A 100-watt light bulb left on for a full day–24 hours–will consume 2.4 kWh. If propane could be used to power the same light bulb. it would only use 9/100th of a gallon of propane.
Read more using propane appliances in your Georgia home.
About 90% of the propane used in the U.S. is produced domestically, meaning every gallon you buy contributes to the independence of America’s energy needs.
Maintaining a propane tank on your property gives you the ability to store a sufficient supply that’s always ready for immediate use, eliminating any dependence on an underground gas pipeline. That’s just one more reason to feel good about using propane every time you get a propane delivery.
Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future for the propane industry and propane consumers.
While not in common use yet, renewable propane is molecularly identical to traditional propane. But it is made with renewable biofuel resources such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass, and other triglycerides.
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.
Read more about renewable propane.
A tankless water heating system eliminates the standby energy losses that occur in storage-tank systems because this type of unit only heats water on demand. Here’s how it works.
When you turn on your hot water faucets or an appliance like a dishwasher, water is circulated through the tankless unit’s heat exchanger and delivered on-demand. Your energy efficiency will improve up to 40% and you’ll have access to a virtually unlimited supply of hot water. You won’t have to worry anymore about your hot water tank draining and having to refill and reheat. Long, hot showers, here we come!
And while it’s true that a tankless propane water heater has a higher upfront cost than a traditional storage-tank water heater, you can save a lot of money on your water heating bills. Those savings will add up as the years go by.
So why not heat as much water as you need without paying to keep it stored? Remember, with a tankless model, you benefit from a constant supply. Simply turn on the hot water faucet!
You can read more about the procs and cons of a tankless unit if you’re considering a water heater replacement.
Learn more about choosing the right water heater for your home.
There are many ways you can take advantage of propane’s versatility to enhance your outdoor living space during the warm months. A propane firepit is just one example.
With all of the warmth provided by a propane-fueled firepit, you can bring your friends, neighbors and family together and never worry about feeding the fire or cleaning up ashes afterward, as you have to do if you had a wood-burning firepit.
You have choices too. A large propane firepit can be used as a centerpiece for your yard, or you can set up a series of small ones at the entry of your home to wow your guests. Many models have ignition systems that can be turned on and off with a smartphone.
A propane gas firepit is also a healthier choice than a wood firepit. Here’s why.
Propane firepits are much easier to clean than wood, especially since there is no soot and ash buildup left behind after use.
And just for good measure, propane firepits can generate plenty of heat to keep you and your family warm while you’re gathered outside during a chilly evening.
Cleaner-burning propane gas firepits can deliver the same rustic charm you love without the pollutants and clean-up chores of a wood-burning unit. Propane gas firepits are available in a wide range of materials, styles and sizes, so it’s easy to find the right design for your backyard space.
And while propane gas firepits are typically not designed for cooking, this doesn’t mean they can’t do the job in a pinch. However, unlike propane gas grills, propane firepits don’t contain features such as food drip pans and easily cleanable cooking surfaces, so you will have to take some extra care if you cook anything over your propane firepit.
But the right cooking tools and a thorough cleanup can make your propane firepit a reliable option for a quick snack during your backyard gathering.
Read more about propane firepits and other outdoor propane products.
Many people are taking the concept of choosing propane over wood inside their homes too. Old, little-used wood burning fireplaces are rapidly being converted to efficient and safe propane gas-burning fireplaces. Other folks in Georgia are installing a fireplace for the first time and choosing propane.
Propane hearths are available as built-in fireplaces, freestanding stoves, or sealed fireplace inserts that can be installed directly in your existing mantle. With that kind of flexibility, you can enjoy the benefits of a propane fireplace whether or not you have an existing fireplace feature.
Read more about propane gas fireplaces.
*Source: Clean Air Make More
Over the last few years, dozens of local governments in a handful of states have enacted ordinances that would outlaw gas connections in new buildings in an effort to reduce emissions and combat climate change. Cities where these regulations have passed include New York City, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, there has been no strong local push to ban natural gas or propane gas anywhere in Georgia. Even so, Georgia (along with 19 other states) recently addressed the issue of a potential gas stove ban by passing a new so-called “preemption law.”
The amended ordinance enacted by Georgia lawmakers would prohibit any government entity — state, county or local —”from adopting any policy that prohibits the connection or reconnection of any utility service or sales of certain fuels based upon the type or source of energy or fuel.”
The “sales of certain fuels” language pertains to propane.
This year, the issue of gas stove bans reached a new flash point when the focus shifted from the environment outside to harmful pollution inside the home. This was due to recent studies that showed the potential for indoor air pollution hazards associated with the use of natural gas stoves. Unfortunately, rumors spread rapidly that the U.S. government planned to confiscate all existing gas stoves from people’s homes. This is false.
At the moment, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is only seeking to obtain public input on hazards associated with gas stoves. The CPSC is the government agency that strives to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths associated with faulty consumer products.
So, what’s the truth about gas stoves? Do all Georgians who enjoy cooking on their propane gas stoves have any reason to be concerned?
Last December, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study that concluded that “12.7% of current childhood asthma nationwide is attributed to gas stove use…”
Unfortunately, the researchers seem to confine their description to just “gas stoves,” apparently not realizing that there are some key differences between a stove powered by natural gas and one that’s fueled by propane. (More on that soon).
Research that’s raised alarm bells over the potential risks involved in cooking isn’t new, however. All cooking—whether it happens on a gas, electric or wood stove—produces some particulate matter (PM). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines PM as microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems.
“Anything with a red-hot element is going to generate particles,” said Iain Walker, an engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab who studies home indoor air quality and ventilation. “That includes most stovetops, ovens and even small appliances like toasters. Frying and roasting cook methods both produce a lot more particulate matter than boiling or steaming.”
As an example, think about all of the smoke that’s produced when you’re searing a steak in a frying pan on your cooktop. It’s not healthy to be breathing that in because of all the particulate matter it contains.
This is why indoor air quality experts always advise using your kitchen range hood to vent particulate matter to the outside whenever you are cooking. If you don’t have a range hood, open a nearby window to achieve at least some ventilation.
An earlier study, done by researchers at Stanford and published in January 2022, revealed that all of the 53 natural gas stoves observed leaked methane gas, even when turned off. The research team also wrote: “In addition to methane emissions, co-emitted health-damaging air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) are released into home air and can trigger respiratory diseases.”
Nitrogen dioxide has been shown to contribute to breathing problems like asthma. A 2016 study at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that the simple act of boiling water on a natural gas stove produces nearly twice the amount of nitrogen dioxide than the outdoor standard established by the EPA. Considering that about one-third homes in our country use natural gas for cooking, that’s something that needs to be addressed.
Here is a critical point we have not seen addressed in either of these studies. Concerns have long been raised about methane leaks coming from natural gas beyond indoor emissions from stoves fueled by natural gas. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and it’s the main component of natural gas.
Now, compare that to propane. In its original form, propane is not a greenhouse gas and it’s considered a “green” fuel because of its low carbon content. Unlike natural gas, propane does not contain any methane gas!
Besides the type of gas used to power your stove, the major difference between a propane stove and a natural gas stove are the gas jet nozzles. Because propane is highly pressurized, the nozzles have much smaller holes. Natural gas isn’t pressurized as much as propane, so the nozzles have larger holes. That’s the reason propane and natural gas stoves can’t be interchanged as is. If you wanted to switch from a natural gas stove to one that’s fueled by propane, you would need to get a propane conversion kit for stoves. This is needed to replace the gas jets. This job is best left to a professional, however.
The Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) pointed out that there are competing studies about the adverse impact to indoor air quality that various types of stoves produce.
PERC cited The Lancet Respiratory Medicine abstract, which states: “…we detected no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.”
PERC also found flaws in the Stanford study’s findings (noted above). “These are based on an extremely small sample size and unrealistic cooking conditions and don’t provide a clear picture of …particulate matter generated from electric cooking,” according PERC. (Electric stoves produce particulate matter…and emit dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde that can be toxic.)
Tucker Perkins, PERC’s president and CEO, points to a 2020 study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that found that electric ranges cause household fires at a rate 2.6 times greater than gas ranges; civilian injuries at a rate 4.8 times higher; and civilian deaths at a rate 3.4 times higher.
“Am I suggesting we ban electric stoves? Of course not,” said Perkins. “Many factors affect things like indoor air quality and fire safety, and policymakers must weigh all of them.”
Perkins emphasized that work must continue to eliminate the presence of harmful emissions in and near homes.
“Rather than gas bans, states should focus on natural gas supply chains and mitigate potential hazards….This, along with proper installation, ventilation, and yearly checkups by qualified technicians constitutes a common-sense approach to addressing health and safety concerns around gas appliances.”