The Difference Between Natural Gas and Propane Heating
Comparing the Composition, Efficiency, and Eco-Friendliness of Two Popular Fuels
For homeowners in central Delmarva and Eastern Pennsylvania, propane and natural gas are popular home fuels. In fact, many people think of them as the same fuel.
This is understandable. Propane and natural gas both power many of the same appliances, including:
- Boilers and furnaces
- Water heaters
- Ranges and ovens
- Clothes dryers
- Gas logs and fire pits
Propane and natural gas flames also look similar, and these fuels are even scented with the same “rotten egg” odor to make them identifiable in case of a leak. But these fuels are different in their compositions and how they keep your home comfortable and warm.
Here’s a primer on the differences between natural gas and propane:
How Are Propane and Natural Gas Different?
Propane can be described as a natural gas liquid. Natural gas—mainly composed of methane—and propane are extracted from the same wells. The main difference between natural gas and propane is their densities. Methane is lighter than air, so natural gas rises. Propane is heavier and settles to the ground.
For this reason, natural gas travels underground in pipes, while propane is compressed and stored in liquid form.
Which Fuel is a Better Choice to Heat Your Home?
To determine whether propane or natural is the better option for new construction or conversion from another fuel, it’s best to consider these factors:
Heating efficiency: Simply put, propane produces much more heating energy (measured in British Thermal Units or Btus). Natural gas produces 1,030 Btus per cubic foot, while propane produces 2,516 Btus. That’s a lot more heat for your fuel dollar!
Affordability: As the last year has demonstrated, energy prices can rise quickly. Because U.S. propane is almost entirely domestically produced, it’s somewhat insulated from the effects of overseas conflict. This year, propane prices rose less dramatically than natural gas prices, which rose faster on a percentage basis than crude oil, gasoline, or diesel.
Convenience: Propane is transported as a liquid in tanks. It isn’t reliant on utility lines. So, propane-powered homes don’t have to worry about system-wide gas outages because they control their own fuel supply. Of course, they also need to refill their tanks throughout the year, which means having a reliable propane delivery partner.
Greenness: Both natural gas and propane are clean burning, respectively. They emit among the least carbon of any home fuel. But propane has the edge on eco-friendliness since it contains no methane. Methane acts as a greenhouse gas that’s 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Propane is also getting cleaner by the day. Renewable propane functions identically to conventional propane, but it’s made with organic, recycled feedstocks like animal oils, vegetable oils and plant matter. America now produces 200,000 tons of renewable propane each year, and production is expected to increase rapidly over the next decade.
To begin receiving propane deliveries from this region’s most trustworthy, professional team, become a Poore’s Propane customer today.
What To Know Before Buying a Propane Tank
Poore’s Offers Propane Tank Rentals & Installations for Your Pennsylvania Home
Every day, we speak to homeowners in Southeast Pennsylvania who have questions about their propane storage options. Sometimes they’re building a new home or converting to propane from another heating fuel. Sometimes they are just unhappy with their current propane provider and want to make a switch.
Many families don’t realize that they have a range of options for owning or leasing a propane tank. At Poore’s Propane and Oil, we’re always happy to take new customers through choosing and installing a tank. Here are a few questions we commonly get.
Is It Better to Own or Lease a Propane Tank?
Some customers like the independence of owning their own propane tank. However, we almost always encourage people to lease a tank from us. We’ve found that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. When you lease your tank:
- You don’t incur a considerable upfront cost.
- We handle the installation for you.
- We also handle repairs, maintenance, and any testing or certification.
- If your fuel needs grow—because of new appliances, home additions, or children—we can replace your current tank with a larger model.
What Propane Tank Size Does My Home Need?
Many factors affect your tank sizing, including:
- The size of your home
- The number of people in your home—and how old they are
- How many propane systems and appliances you have
When you come to Poore’s Propane for service, our experienced technicians will evaluate your needs. Then we can help you choose a propane tank that meets them!
Poore’s has a range of tank sizes, from smaller models that power one or two appliances to 1,000-gallon tanks that serve large houses. We carry both aboveground and underground tanks.
How Do You Install a Propane Tank?
If we’re installing an aboveground tank, the process is generally quite simple. We will ensure that the tank is placed at a safe distance from your home and in a position that meets your approval. Beyond that, the only preparation might be laying a little concrete slab for stability.
Underground tank installation is more complex, but Poore’s has the experience to handle it! We will arrive with a backhoe to excavate a space to fit your underground tank. We’ll ensure the tank is placed clear of septic tanks and other underground items.
Looking for a Full-Service Propane Provider? Choose Poore’s!
When you switch to Poore’s, you will have a full-service propane partner for the long term. We make getting set up easy and proudly deliver your propane reliably and at a fair price. With our automatic delivery option, you never need to check a tank gauge. We track your tank levels based on typical usage for your home’s size and the current weather. Then, we deliver you propane when your tank gets to be 25-30 percent full. No stress, no run-outs—and no extra charge!
Are you ready to partner with a fuel company that sincerely values your comfort? Join the family of Poore’s customers!
Is Routine Heating Maintenance Important?
Skipping Your Furnace or Boiler Tune-Up Can Have Costly Results
It’s natural to put off yearly appointments. Whether it’s an annual physical, a dental cleaning, or a car inspection—we have all groaned at the prospect of having to take an hour more out of our lives.
But all those routine check-ins are essential, and so is getting your yearly heating system tune-up.
Your home’s boiler or furnace should receive routine service from a certified technician at least once a year to ensure everything is functioning correctly and address any performance, efficiency, or safety issues. At Poore’s Propane and Oil, all our Priority Plus Service Plans include a yearly tune-up.
Here are some key benefits of getting an annual heating tune-up:
Your Equipment Will Operate Safely & Effectively
As part of any annual service, the technician will perform a carbon monoxide test and inspect your equipment’s safety controls and wiring.
A tune-up will also improve the air quality in your home. Dust, soot, and sediment can all collect in your equipment over time and can end up circulating into your living space. Annual maintenance will clean out this debris and keep your indoor air quality on point.
You’ll Lower Your Monthly Energy Costs
Regular maintenance visits are an opportunity for technicians to check the calibration of your thermostat, measure combustion efficiency, clean filters, and test blowers and motors. The result is a boiler or furnace that runs more efficiently and needs to burn less fuel to keep your family warm.
The energy efficiency savings you’ll experience can quickly defray the cost of your tune-up or service plan!
Your Equipment Will Last Longer
A lower fuel budget won’t be the only savings you’ll experience when you arrange an annual tune-up.
The moderate cost of standard maintenance is nothing compared to an expensive repair, but four out of five repairs could be prevented with regular maintenance. The technician that inspects your equipment will be able to catch issues early and prevent repairs down the line. This proactive care also extends your equipment’s life expectancy. You can get the most out of your home comfort investment!
You’ll Comply with Your Manufacturer’s Warranty
Most manufacturers will only honor their warranty if you get an annual tune-up. So, it’s imperative that you don’t skip service. Otherwise, you might end up on the hook for a costly repair that your manufacturer would otherwise have covered.
Whether you heat your home with a boiler or furnace, the HVAC professionals at Poore’s can perform a rigorous inspection and tune-up to ensure it’s working at peak performance before the winter arrives.
The early fall is a great time to arrange your annual heating system service! You can beat the winter rush and have full confidence in your equipment going in the cold weather seasons. Contact us to schedule service today.
How To Choose the Right Propane Tank
Compare Common Propane Storage Tank Sizes
Whether you’re converting your home’s heating from electricity to propane or installing new propane-powered appliances, the team at Poore’s Propane and Oil can help you find a tank that fits your home and family’s needs.
In the meantime, here’s an explanation of the factors we take into consideration and which tank sizes we carry.
What Factors Determine the Propane Tank You Need?
Many factors can affect the size of the propane tank that you need, like:
- The square footage of your home
- How many propane appliances are in your home
- The number of people that live in your house
- Average age of the people in your house (since infants and older folks generally need higher temperatures)
There are other considerations for our customers in central Delmarva and eastern Pennsylvania. We account for the frigid winters we experience, which cause homes to burn more fuel than they would in other parts of the country. Additionally, we consider whether our clients have a pool or spa heater, which uses a lot of propane on its own.
Common Propane Tank Sizes
It’s worth noting that the total capacity of a tank is not the same as the propane it will hold. Because propane expands and contracts, tanks are only ever filled to about 80 percent. Here are some standard tank sizes and what systems and products they serve.
|20-pound tank||This is the classic cylinder used in grills, outdoor heaters and other smaller appliances.|
|33-pound tank||These cylinders are commonly used for commercial forklifts.|
|420-pound tank||Holding around 96 gallons of propane, this can power one or two appliances, like gas ranges, clothes dryers, or gas logs.|
|250-gallon tank||This tank holds about 200 gallons of propane. It can fuel the heating system of a smaller home with one or two appliances.|
|500-gallon tank||This tank holds 400 gallons of propane. It can serve a 1,500-square-foot home with several propane appliances.|
|1,000-gallon tank||This tank can hold 800 gallons of propane. It’s primarily used for commercial purposes. Some large homes with multiple propane appliances also require this size tank.|
Are you thinking about making the change to propane? We can help! Contact us today to learn more or to begin service.
Poore’s Propane and Oil—Delaware, Maryland & Eastern Pennsylvania’s leading source for propane, heating oil delivery, plus a variety of HVAC services!
Switching Providers? 3 Important Things to Note
Not All Propane Companies Are the Same!
With higher prices on just about everything these days, we aren’t surprised that many Delaware and Pennsylvanian families are looking at their budgets and shopping around for the best deal whenever they can. But when it comes to your home comfort, not all propane retailers are built the same, and making a switch without doing your homework can be risky.
Here are three things to bear in mind when weighing your options:
Is This New Propane Price Really Better?
Many companies make too-good-to-be-true promises about the price of their fuel—so you need to check the details and fine print. Look out for extra delivery fees, start-up fees, or tank installation and rental fees that might not be included in the “per-gallon” rate.
You also need to look at your agreement with your current fuel provider. Is there a termination fee? These are often in the $100-$200 range to start. You should factor this into your calculations of how much cash you’ll actually save by switching providers.
What happens with your propane tank?
However, if you lease a tank from your current provider, things can become complicated and pricy fast. Here are some likely scenarios:
- The most likely option is that your old provider will require you to purchase your leased tank when you terminate service. You will then own your tank, which means you’re responsible for maintenance and repairs. You might be able to sell the tank to your new fuel provider, passing liability for service to them and putting some money back in your pocket.
- Your current fuel provider might uninstall their tank, and your new provider with install a new one. There’s always a chance of service interruptions if you can’t schedule installation on the same day your old tank goes away.
- The most convenient option is for your new propane company to buy the tank from the company you’re leaving. Then, your lease just moves from one provider to the next. All parties must be flexible and accommodating, which isn’t guaranteed.
What Do You Lose or Gain with a New Propane Provider?
At Poore’s Propane, we provide an extensive range of services to our customers, including:
- Online account services
- Monthly budget plans to lower your winter expenses
- Propane appliance installation, service and repairs
Many other fuel providers—in particular, cash-on-delivery discounters—are bare-bones operations. This means they keep staff low, and services limited. For example, while a full-service company like ours can offer automatic delivery so you never run low on fuel, a discounter would likely make you call for propane and couldn’t guarantee delivery if their drivers are busy or their supply is low.
At Poore’s, we believe in providing dependable delivery and home comfort service every day, no matter the challenges. If you’re unhappy with your current provider and looking for a change, we want you to join our family of customers! Give us a call today to learn more.
Grill Temperature Troubleshooting
Here Are Some Quick Fixes!
Summer is an incredible few months in southern Delaware and southeast Pennsylvania—in fact, it’s the ideal time of year for cooking out a porterhouse, a salmon steak, or a mess of burgers and dogs! We’re sure you’ve been giving your propane-fired grill a workout all summer.
But what do you do when your propane grill won’t heat up completely or has inconsistent heat? Don’t lose your cool! Here are a few common causes of grill temperature issues — and how to fix them yourself!
NOTE: Before attempting these fixes, check your grill’s manual to confirm your manufacturer’s solutions.
Is Your Grill In “Bypass Mode?”
One of the main selling points of propane is that it produces a powerful flame with even heat. If your propane-fired grill isn’t heating, then something might be impeding the flow of gas.
Here’s the thing, though—this might not be a malfunction. Today’s grills are equipped with a safety device that prevents them from overfilling with gas. When this mechanism is tripped, for example, by opening your burner knobs before turning on your propane flow, your grill goes into “bypass mode” and won’t heat higher than about 250 degrees.
All you must do here is reset your grill’s regulator. For most models, you need to:
- Open the grill lid, close the valve on your propane cylinder and disconnect it.
- Turn all the grill’s control knobs to “high.” Wait for one minute.
- Turn all the control knobs off.
- Reattach the cylinder and light your grill as usual.
Do Any of the Burners Look Dirty or Blocked?
If one section of your grill is cooler than it should be, a single burner might be clogged.
You can typically just scour the ports of the burner with a wire brush. If that doesn’t work, you can also detach the burner and clean it from the inside.
Do You Have a Loose Connection or Leak?
This could be an issue where not enough gas is igniting, either because of a loose connection or a leak. When you attach a propane cylinder, you can check for leaks this way:
- Spray your connector valve and outlet with soapy water.
- Open the cylinder valve and look for bubbles.
- If you see bubbles, close the cylinder valve, tighten the connection, and slowly open the valve again.
- If you still see bubbles, your cylinder has a leak and needs to be replaced.
The connection issue might involve a misalignment or obstruction with your control valves and venturi tubes. Here’s how to fix that:
- Light your grill with a low flame.
- Loosen the venturi tube adjustment screw to release its shutters.
- Once the flame turns blue, turn off the grill and tighten the screw.
8 Energy Saving Tips for the Summer Season
Put Money Back in Your Wallet
Are you starting to feel the squeeze with higher energy bills this summer? With so much focus on increasing gasoline and other oil-based fuel prices, people sometimes overlook just how much electric rates are also surging across the nation, as well as right here in Southern Delaware and Southeast Pennsylvania.
In line with that, Poore’s Propane and Oil is here to help in any way that we can. Here are eight concrete steps to reduce your summer energy usage without sacrificing your comfort.
Run the Dishwasher Only When Full…and with Cold Water
Clothes washers and dishwashers are designed to run with full loads. If you’re running them partially full, you are wasting water and energy. Hold off until they’re full—you’ll end up running fewer cycles and using less energy to do so.
Plus, washing clothes and dishes on cold settings reduces the fuel you use in heating water!
Keep Your Oven AND Fridge Doors Closed
Every time you open an oven, the inside temperature drops by at least 25 degrees. This forces your appliance to burn more fuel to restore the heat setting. So, avoid opening the door and use the oven light instead.
Similarly, the longer the fridge door is open, the more electricity it must use to keep food cool. Make your food choice before opening the refrigerator or freezer, and just be more mindful when searching for a snack!
Close Blinds and Curtains
By keeping your reflecting blinds or curtains drawn in daylight hours, you prevent sunlight from heating your space and causing your A/C to cycle more often.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats let you pre-program your home temperature to be higher when you’re away or asleep, and then lower it again when you’re awake and at home. They can also make power-saving adjustments when they sense rooms are empty. These temperature tweaks save you money on electric bills.
Switch Out Older Lightbulbs
Did you know that incandescent bulbs waste 95 percent of their energy as heat instead of light? You can remedy this by switching them out with energy-efficient LEDs or halogen bulbs.
Shorter, Cooler Showers
Heating water accounts for almost 20 percent of your home’s energy costs. You can make a dent in that expense by taking a cooler shower during the summer, which is quite refreshing too! Since the average shower uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute, shaving four minutes off your daily shower saves nearly 3,650 gallons yearly!
Keep Cool Air Inside Your House — and Hot Air Outside
Even if you have a high-efficiency A/C system, you could still end up wasting energy because of poor insulation. Here are some steps you can take to keep the cool air inside:
- Insulate heating ducts
- Improve insulation in crawl spaces and attics
- Seal air leaks
- Check weather stripping
Call the Pros at Poore’s Propane!
Finally, ensuring your cooling equipment is working at peak efficiency is crucial. Bring in Poore’s expert HVAC technicians to perform their 14-point heating/cooling tune-up. You can also get an affordable service plan that includes this routine maintenance. The energy savings you enjoy will quickly offset the cost of the plan!
Ready for your annual tune-up? Drop us a line today to arrange an appointment.
Reduce & Stabilize Your Propane Costs
Enrolling in SmartPay Is a Smart Idea This Season
At the start of 2022, we all hoped that supply chain snarls and rising inflation would be behind us soon. Unfortunately, these problems have only persisted. Believe us when we say that the sooner prices go down, the happier everyone will be.
Local fuel companies like Poore’s Propane and Oil don’t have a way to control world energy prices. Still, we’re constantly working on ways to make things a little easier for our valued customers in central Delmarva and Eastern Pennsylvania. One thing we know will help is enrolling in our SmartPay Monthly Budget Plan.
How Does SmartPay Work?
With the SmartPay Budget, you no longer pay for your fuel in full at the time of delivery. Our team will calculate how much fuel you’re likely to use in a year and how much it will cost based on the market. Then, we divide this annual cost across 10 equal installments.
Spreading out your payments with SmartPay always made sense. Now, with prices so high, we believe that it’s almost essential.
A Monthly Budget Plan Protects You from Price Spikes
When you pay for heating oil or propane on delivery, you’re generally hit with several huge bills in the fall and winter. These are the worst times to absorb big energy expenses—when you’re purchasing gifts during the holiday season or getting ready to file your taxes.
But a SmartPay Budget Plan removes uncertainty. You don’t have to worry about how much next month’s fuel will cost. Even if you get two deliveries in one month, you only make one payment for that month. And importantly, your winter expenses are essentially cut in half.
If prices drop and stay lower, we will happily adjust your plan. In the end, you only pay the cost of the fuel you receive at the market price on the days it’s delivered—not a cent more!
There’s no cost to enroll—plus, you will earn a rebate each month that you have a credit balance on your account. Poore’s customers who participate in Smart Pay tend to like it much better than paying in full for each delivery. We hope you’ll give it a try. Contact us to enroll. It only takes five minutes to get started!
How Do I Turn Off My Home’s Propane Tank?
What To Do if You Smell Gas & Need To Perform an Emergency Shut Off
Propane is one of the safest, most dependable home fuels around. It’s non-toxic and won’t harm your soil or water even in the event of a leak. If your home heating and appliances run on propane, you can feel confident in your safety.
Even so, it’s vital to have a plan ready in case there’s a propane leak. This means ensuring everyone in your family knows how to identify and react to the smell of gas. It also means knowing how to shut off your home’s propane tank.
Be Ready in Case of a Leak
First, ensure that everyone in your home knows how to identify the smell of propane, which is much like that of “rotten eggs.” You should also post emergency contact numbers—including your fuel supplier—where people can find them easily and quickly.
Take the time to explain to people in your house how to respond if they smell gas:
- Alert everyone in the house.
- Extinguish all open flames or sources of ignition, including phones or other mobile devices.
- Everyone should vacate the building immediately and move away from the leak.
- If safe, close the gas shutoff valve on your propane tank.
Turning Off Your Home’s Propane Tank
On horizontal tanks, there’s often a dome at the top that you can lift to access the gas shutoff valve. The valve is usually a screw-type handle that’s red or yellow. Once you find the valve, turn the handle clockwise until it’s tight. This shuts off the gas from the tank to your home.
Here’s a video that will take you through the process:
What Should I Do Next?
Regardless of whether you still smell gas, it’s essential to bring in a professional before reopening your propane tank or returning to your home. Use a neighbor’s phone or call from your cell once you’re well clear of the leak. The expert technicians at Poore’s Propane can help identify and fix any signs of trouble with your propane tank so you can get on with your life.
If you have any questions about your home’s propane-fired systems or appliances, or if you want to make an upgrade to your home’s existing propane tank, contact us today. We’d be happy to help.
Professional Propane Services
We Are The One-stop-Shop for All Propane Needs!
Are you a new Chester or Delaware County homeowner looking for a trustworthy propane supplier in the area? Maybe you’re a long-term resident who’s dissatisfied with your current fuel company. Or maybe you’re considering propane systems and appliances for a newly built home.
Whatever your situation, Poore’s Propane & Oil wants to be your one-stop-shop for propane.
Since 1954, we’ve served households in Pennsylvania, delivering home heating fuel and peace of mind. We treasure the trust we’ve built across several generations—here’s our promise to your family.
Making the Switch to Propane is Easy!
We know that getting set up with a new fuel provider can feel daunting. At Poore’s Propane and Oil, we make it as painless as possible.
To begin, our propane professionals will set you up with a fuel storage tank that’s right sized for your home. We have a range of tank sizes and shapes—both aboveground and underground models—and make installation a breeze.
Once you’re set up, Poore’s makes sure you never run out of propane. When you enroll in automatic delivery, our computer systems track how much propane your home will typically use based on prior usage patterns and real-time weather conditions. Then, we deliver fuel when we estimate your tank is no lower than 30 to 25 percent full. No worries, no run-outs—plus this service is totally free!
Our customers also love our SmartPay monthly budget program. This plan shields you from fluctuations in propane expenses. Instead of getting hit with several huge bills in the fall and winter, your total propane costs are spread out across 10 even monthly installments. Your winter bills are cut virtually in half.
Local Commitment with a Personal Touch
Why is Poore’s Propane and Oil the absolute best choice for your home? We have deep roots in eastern Pennsylvania—our customers are our neighbors and friends. Unlike a national conglomerate, we know this region personally. Our drivers and technicians know these roads, and when you call with an emergency delivery request or a system breakdown, they’re close by and ready to help.
No matter the time of night or how bad the weather is, Poore’s Propane and Oil is there for your household. Come experience the Poore’s difference! Drop us a line to become a customer today.