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Lakes Gas Blog

Stay Safe Around Propane Heaters

Indoor Propane HeaterWarm weather is on the way, but after such a cold winter, you may be rushing it. If you just can't wait for meals on the patio or a game of catch, a propane heater might be your best friend.

It can provide some added warmth so you can enjoy the outdoor activities you love, even if summer hasn't quite arrived.

But if you're thinking of bringing that heater inside to give your furnace a break, read these tips first:

  1. Make sure it's Indoor Rated. All propane heaters produce carbon monoxide and most are not designed for indoor use, as they require proper ventilation. If your heater does not say it is safe for use indoors, it's not.
  2. Ventilate the area: Again, models designed for indoor use still release carbon monoxide; they just release less than those designed for outdoor use. Crack a window or open a door, so the potentially deadly gas can escape.
  3. Install a carbon monoxide detector. If it goes off, get out of the house immediately and contact Lakes Gas.
  4. Keep children and pets away from the heater. It's wise to keep everyone, including adults three feet away from the device at all times.

Following proper propane safety procedures can help you stay toasty inside or out.

Propane Can Power Your Car

Propane VehicleYou use propane in your home, but have you ever considered using it to fuel your car?

In recent years, as gasoline prices fluctuate wildly, many drivers are ditching the gas pump and turning to propane.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, propane has several benefits for fleets, private users, and the country as a whole.

Energy Security
Most gasoline used in the U.S. comes from politically volatile countries overseas. Political unrest there can cause prices to soar here, and threaten our supply completely.

The propane we use, however, is mostly produced here. Increased propane usage helps increase U.S. energy security.

Lower Fuel Prices
Though propane vehicles cost more than traditional vehicles, fuel prices are generally far lower. This makes it easy to recoup the higher up-front cost quickly. Many drivers find the return-on-investment worth the higher initial cost.

Lower Maintenance Costs
Propane fuel has high-octane properties and is low in carbon and oil contamination. This results in improved engine life, translating into less vehicle maintenance.

Environmentally Friendly
Propane vehicles produce smaller amounts of harmful emissions. Propane itself is not considered a greenhouse gas.

Easy to Fuel
One concern about switching to propane-fueled vehicles is the ability to find a fueling location. But as the popularity of propane vehicles increases, so does the number of fueling stations. There are now nearly 3,000 public propane fueling stations in the country. And with this handy tool, the U.S. Department of Energy makes finding one easy.

Interested in switching to propane for your vehicle? Learn more here.

Propane Can Save Schools Money

Propane School BusTo save money on bus fuel, some districts are turning to propane.

In 2013, USA Today reported that about 95 percent of buses still ran on diesel fuel, but that many districts across the country were beginning to invest in propane buses.

Propane buses require more up-front investment (they're about $3,000 to $4,000 more each than traditional buses) but can save districts about $98,000 over the life of the bus.

In addition to a larger up-front cost, there are other downsides. Some districts with propane buses won't use them for out-of-town sports events, as there's no place to refuel on the route. As propane buses become more popular, however, more recharging stations will crop up.

A 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Energy evaluated propane school bus fleets, and listed several benefits, such as:

Cost Savings – School districts in the study saved nearly 50% per mile for fuel and maintenance

Short Payback Period – The up-front investment required for a propane fleet can be recouped in 3 to 8 years.

Improved Efficiency – Propane buses were more efficient than diesel buses.

Improved Fuel Economy – In the study, propane buses achieved fuel economy of 7.2 miles per diesel gallon equivalent.

Reduced Environmental Impact – In the study, greenhouse gas reductions were approximately 770 tons per year.

Winter heating bills got you fired up?

Winter BillsConsider a supplemental gas stove. They 'll keep you toasty while lowering your energy bills because they're designed to heat the room you're in, so you can turn down your thermometer and let the stove keep you comfortable.

Gas stoves can use natural gas or propane. Naturally, we're fans of propane stoves. Here are a few reasons why.

Can be installed anywhere
With natural gas stoves, you're limited by gas lines. If there are none in the neighborhood, you'll have to run a line to your home, which can be expensive and-in some cases-impossible. If a line does exist, its path determines where your stove will be. You'll have to plan your room around it.

Propane stoves give you freedom. You can run a line almost anywhere, provided you can place the tank nearby. Plus, it's easy to install multiple stoves in different rooms of your house.

Clean
A propane stove erases any worry about ashes dirtying up your floor. But it's not just better for your living room, it's better for the environment. Propane is non-toxic, clean-burning, and not considered a greenhouse gas.

More for your money
Propane burns hotter than natural gas, so you need less of it to produce the same amount of heat as natural gas. That means your energy dollar goes farther with propane.

Need propane for your new stove? Contact your nearest Lakes Gas location.

How Large Should My Propane Tank Be?

One of the first questions a new propane customer asks is  Propane tanks
"how much propane will I need?"

Obviously, your estimated propane usage will affect your tank size and delivery schedule. It could also influence the specific buying program you choose.

So how do you figure it out?

Calculating estimated usage yourself can be complicated. A number of factors affect your usage, including:

  • Your home size
  • Your thermostat setting
  • The climate of the area where you live
  • Energy efficient windows and appliances
  • How often you use your appliances
  • The number of people in your home
  • The number of bathrooms in your home

The list goes on. So you could reach for a calculator to figure it out – and risk miscalculations that could cause you to run out of propane- or you could calculate the easy way.

Just talk to your Lakes Gas sales representative.

They're trained in estimating usage, and they'll take all these factors into consideration to help you find the tank size, buying plan, and delivery schedule that fits your needs.

Sounds way simpler, right?

Try it for yourself. Contact your nearest Lakes Gas location.