5 Affordable Ways to Winterize Your Home

winterizing your homeWinter. Whether we like it or not, it’s right around the corner, ready to drop the temp while you crank up the thermostat. Don’t wait ’til the last minute to start thinking about winterizing your home. Fall can often bring low temps as well, and some day soon you’ll be giving in to the chill and turning on your home’s heat.

So, what can you do to help minimize your heating bill without breaking the bank? Here are 5 affordable ways to get a jump start on winterize your home.

1. Dodging the Draft

Many homeowners struggle with with cold drafts, particularly if they happen to own an older home. So, what’s the solution? You can thank your elders for this little gift. Introducing … the draft snake. This trend started during the Great Depression, and the best part is is simple and affordable. All you need to do is fill a fabric pouch with sand or just roll up an old towel to make your draft snake, then place it along the foot of your door. It will stop the warm air from rushing out and the cold air from rushing in.

2. Bring on the Bubble Wrap

Try to resist popping that bubble wrap (we know, it’s so much fun) and use it as a cheap insulation for your windows. It may look slightly unconventional, but we’ll see who’s laughing when you save a ton on your heating bill.

3. Redirect Your Ceiling Fans

This is one simple trick which eludes many homeowners. If you have ceiling fans, take a close look at what direction they are currently turning. A clockwise rotation will create warm air, while a counter-clockwise rotation will create cool air. When the temp outside begins to drop, make sure you have your fan set correctly and you could be cutting your heating costs by as much as 10%.

4. Set Your Thermostat

Don’t waste heat while you’re sleeping or away at work for the day. Be sure to turn down your thermostat at night to anywhere from 50 to 55 degrees and watch your heating costs drop as much as 10%. If you choose to upgrade, there are programmable thermostats available for purchase, or you can save by just remembering to be diligent.

5. Lower the Water Heater Temp

Most water heaters come with a default setting which most people never adjust. A typical water heater is initially set for 140 degrees, but lowering your setting to 120 degrees will still be a comfortable water temperature while saving you an additional 6-10% on your heating costs.

Keystone Propane is proud to provide our customers with affordable, dependable heating fuel and delivery. Please give us a call today for more information and find out why Keystone Propane is the only choice for your home heating.

 

Choose Your LP-Gas Provider Wisely

KeystonePropaneNewsletter-July2014-001Caveat Emptor … as you may have learned in your Economics Class in high school, this simple Latin phrase means, “Let the Buyer beware.” This philosophy should apply to every purchase you make, whether it’s a personal item or a consumable such as LP-Gas. When you first begin researching an LP-Gas provider, make sure that you do your homework. There are a wide variety of LP-Gas providers in most regions of the U.S. and their care, pricing, and attention to detail are just as various as their names.

Contact every provider in your area. Listen carefully to the information that they provide about their services and how their processes unfold. Beware of those that only discuss their prices and how easy it is to become a customer. They’re only interested in one thing, and that’s your money. If the companies you talk with don’t mention appliance inspection and system integrity testing, you should shy away from them. Your safety should be first and foremost to any company that you decide to purchase LP-Gas from.

Next, for the LP-Gas providers that you have on your short list, you should attempt to contact them after business hours to see exactly how difficult it would be for you to reach someone in case of an emergency. This is a critical part of any LP-Gas business … timely response to out of the ordinary conditions. If it is difficult to get a hold of them, would you want them responding to an emergency at your home?

One last item I would recommend is to talk people you know whom have LP-Gas. Ask them questions about their service and experience with the company that they are currently doing business with; even ask them how much gas a year they use and approximately what price they are paying. Then compare this information to the prices you were quoted when talking to those companies. A large disparity will tell you, the consumer, where your pricing will be in a couple of years.

We at Keystone Propane do our best every year to keep our customers competitively priced within their market segment. By doing this we establish a long term relationship with our customers and a trust that we will always attempt to look out for their interests. As an LP-Gas provider in NE Pennsylvania, we may never be the cheapest, but we will always be competitive. When it comes to service we go to great lengths to ensure that your system meets all Federal, State and Local codes. Our technicians take their time and explain safety procedures you should observe in the event of an emergency.

Whether you buy from Keystone Propane or another company, our hope is that you will buy from someone who has you and your family’s safety as their first priority, always.

Thank you,
Keystone Propane

 

How to Throw the Ultimate Summer Party

Summer Fun for Everyone

summer partySummer has finally arrived and Keystone Propane is here to help you get the party started! Celebrate in style this summer with some of our great outdoor party planning ideas. Invite your closest friends or the entire neighborhood … either way you’ll impress your guests while creating Summer memories everyone will remember.

Let’s Talk Appetizers

Naturally, the main course is what’s on everyone’s minds, but offering some mouth watering appetizers will hold your guests over ’til the burgers are well done. Although chips and dip are always a huge hit, don’t be afraid to opt for something a little more unexpected. Check out this amazing recipe for Fiery Grilled Shrimp with Honeydew Gazpacho on Epicurious. Introducing something with flair will definitely get your guests sending their compliments to the chef.

Find a Knife and Get Your Groove On

Carving a watermelon into a basket is an old trick, so why not kick it up a notch? You can easily create a cocktail keg by cleaning out the melon, then creating a hole that’s just a little smaller than keg shank. Insert the keg shank, fill the melon with your favorite pulp free beverage and … voila! You’re now the coolest party thrower on the block.

Super Simple Table Decor

You don’t need to be Martha Stewart in order to make your party table stand out. Instead of trying for something frilly, why not use some vibrant beach blankets to bring some color to your spread? Mix and match some great looks with strips, polka dots, and palm trees to give your party some personality while saving a few dollars on throw away items.

Fun Theme Parties

summer party pinataWhy have a pool party when you can have a PIRATE pool party? Theme parties are entertaining for both the kids and adults in your life and they’re relatively inexpensive to pull off. There’s no shortage of great theme ideas out there. If you’re having trouble coming up with some of your own, check out this great list of theme party ideas.

Backyard Entertainment

You don’t need to hire a live band or dj to get your guests dancing and having a good time. It’s super easy to create a playlist on your phone to keep everyone moving to your favorite party music. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box. Pinata’s are perfect for the kids to enjoy and outdoor movie watching drive-in style is quickly becoming extremely popular in many neighborhoods.

Do you have any ideas on how to create an amazing Summer party? Please share your thoughts with us below!

 

Grill Safety Tips

grill safetyThey say that Spring is finally here, and although the weather may not be fully cooperating, don’t let that stop you from getting outside and enjoying your grill! Nothing says Spring like the taste of outdoor cooking, but before you get started, there are some important things to consider to ensure your grilling goes as smoothly as possible. Grill Safety First

  • Always be aware if you are wearing loose clothing while cooking, and keep flammable materials as far away from heat as possible.
  • Whether you’ve purchased a new grill or are cooking on a grill that you’ve used many times before, it is important that you follow all of the manufacturer’s recommendations for set up, cleaning, and cooking.
  • Never leave your grill unattended under any circumstances. Accidents can happen quickly, and keeping a close eye on your grill could prevent problems from occurring.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
Grill Safety Tips for Gas Grills
  • One important thing to remember is not to overfill your tank. Be sure to leave enough room to allow the liquid to expand.
  • Take a close look at any hoses attached for signs of leaks or cracks that may allow for the escape of fuel.
  • Never even consider cooking indoors on your gas grill under any circumstances. You should also avoid using your gas grill under over-hanging structures such as awnings or canopies.
grill safetySafety Tips for Charcoal Grills
  • It’s common place to see people adding lighter fluid directly to the hot coals, but this can definitely create a dangerous situation.
  • When storing lighter fluid, take care to keep it away from small children and pets. Keep lighter fluid in a safe, cool place.
  • Always leave your charcoal lid open until you are ready to begin cooking.
  • Take care when disposing of charcoal ashes and always use a non-flammable container.

Whether your cooking juicy burgers, chicken, BBQ, or veggies, just as much attention should be paid to preparation and cooking safety as to your delicious meals. Follow these safety tips and enjoy cooking all your favorite foods this season.

Why Choose a Kamado Grill?

KAMADO Grill JOE CLASSIC 18If you are among the many grill enthusiasts who are always looking to improve your grilling techniques, you may be interested in learning more about the Kamado Grill. Kamado grilling is becoming an increasingly popular way to prepare your favorite foods, giving you juicier meats with the wood-fire flavor that makes mouths water.

What Is Kamado Grilling?

Originally used by the Japanese, the first kamados were ovens used for firing and cooking made from ceramics and other earthen materials. Modern grilling experts turned to the original kamado to create today’s version, which is considered by many to be the premium method for outdoor cooking. They are typically fueled by charcoal, however, there are also other versions that rely on gas or electricity. The ceramic construction of the kamado delivers an impressive amount of heat retention, making the kamado grill an extremely efficient means of cooking outdoors. It is also incredibly versatile in the types of foods it is able to prepare. The adventurous cook can do much more than strictly grilling, as the kamado grill is also well suited for not only smoking and roasting, but baking breads and pizza with the use of a pizza stone.

The Convenience of Kamado

One of the most attractive features of the kamado grill is that it can cook pretty much any type of meat you would normally cook in a conventional. Some kamado grills even offer a rotisserie option that will allow you to crisp your meat to perfection. Because most kamado grills usually use lump charcoal in lieu of the traditional briquettes, they burn cleaner and leave less ash behind. To keep the small amount of clean up as easy as possible, many kamados include a slide out tray to dispose of the little ash that is remaining after cooking.

Another great feature of many kamado grills is that they come with the ability to cook on multiple surfaces at the same time via an internal tray. The convenience of the internal cooking tray allows you to cook several foods at once, making it possible for your meat and vegetables to be finished cooking all at the same time. These separate heat zones are tremendous time savers for those of you looking for a quick and delicious meal.

Have you ever cooked on a kamado grill? If so, please feel free to leave us feedback on your experiences and don’t forget to visit our pages for Kamado Joe and The Big Green Egg for more information!

If You Smell Gas

  1. NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately put out all smoking material and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.
  2. LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
  3. SHUT OFF THE GAS. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
  4. REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor’s home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
  5. DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
  6. GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.

Carbon Monoxide AND Your Safety

WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)?
You can’t taste or small CO, but it is a very dangerous gas, produced when any fuel burs. High levels of CO can come form appliances that are not operating correctly, or from a venting system or chimney that becomes blocked.

CO CAN BE DEADLY! High levels of CO can make you dizzy or sick (see below). In extreme cases, CO can cause brain damage or death.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea

If you suspect CO is present, act immediately!

  1. If you or a family member shows physical symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the building or call 911 or your local fire department.
  2. If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow entry of fresh air, and turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
  3. If no one has symptoms, but you suspect that CO is present, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician to check CO levels and your propane equipment.

TO HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF CO POISONING:

  • Have a qualified service technician check your propane appliances and related venting systems annually, preferably before the heating season begins.
  • Install UL-listed CO detectors on every level of your home.
  • Never use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.
  • Never use portable header indoors unless they are designed and approved for indoor use.
  • Never use a barbecue grill (propane or charcoal) indoors for cooking or heating.
  • Regularly check your appliances exhaust vents for blockage.

SIGNS OF IMPROPER APPLIANCE OPERATION THAT CAN GENERATE HIGH CO LEVELS:

  • Sooting, especially on appliances and vents
  • Unfamiliar or burning odor
  • Increased moisture inside of windows

What is propane?
Propane (also called LPG – liquefied petroleum gas – or LP gas) is a liquid fuel stored under pressure. In most systems, propane is vaporized to a gas before it leaves the tank. Propane is flammable when mixed with air (oxygen) and can be ignited by many sources, including open flames, smoking materials, electrical sparks, and static electricity. Severe freeze burn or frostbite can result if propane liquid comes in contact with your skin.

Other Safety Related Information

Can you smell it?
Propane smells like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray or a dead animal. Some people my have difficulty smelling propane due to their age (older people may have a less sensitive sense of smell); a medical condition; or a the effects of medication, alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

ODOR LOSS. On rare occasions, propane can lose it’s odor. Several things can cause this including:

  • The presence of air, water or rust in a propane tank or cylinder
  • The passage of leaking propane through the soil

Since there is a possibility of odor loss or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.

PROPANE GAS DETECTORS. Under some circumstances, you may not smell a propane leak. Propane gas detectors sound an alarm if they sense propane in the air. They can provide an additional measure of security. You should consider the purchase of one or more detectors for your home.

GUIDELINES regarding propane gas detectors:

  • Buy only units that are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation and maintenance.
  • Never ignore the smell of propane, eveN if no detector is sounding an alarm.

FLAMMABLE VAPORS ARE A SAFETY HAZARD. The pilot light on your propane appliance can ignite vapors from gasoline, painT thinners, and other flammable liquids. Be sure to store and use flammable liquids outdoors or in an area of the building containing no propane appliances.

DON’t RISK IT! If you cannot operate any part of your propane system, or if you think an appliance or other device is not working properly, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician for assistance.

Running Out of Gas

DON’T RUN OUT OF GAS. SERIOUS SAFETY HAZARDS, INCLUDING FIRE OR EXPLOSION, CAN RESULT.

  • If an appliance valve or a gas line is left open, a leak can could occur when the system is recharged with propane.
  • If your propane tank runs out of gas, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous.
  • A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED. In many states, a propane retailer or a qualified service technician must preform a leak check of your propane system before turning on the gas.

Light Pilot Lights

IF A PILOT LIGHT REPEATEDLY GOES OUT or is very difficult to light, there may be a safety problem. DO NOT try to fix the problem yourself. It is strongly recommended that only a QUALIFIED SERVICE TECHNICIAN light any pilot light that has gone out.

YOU ARE TAKING THE RISK of starting a fire or an explosion if you light a pilot light yourself. Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings concerning the appliance before attempting to light the pilot.

Appliance Maintenance

LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS. Only a qualified service technician has the training to install, inspect, service, maintain, and repair your appliances. Have your appliances and propane system inspected just before the start of heating season.

HELP YOUR APPLIANCES “BREATHE.”
Check the vents of your appliances to be sure that gases can flow easily to the outdoors; clear away any insect or bird nest or other debris. Also, clear the area around your appliances so plenty of air can reach the burner for proper combustion.

DO NOT TRY TO MODIFY OR REPAIR values, regulators, connectors, controls, or other appliance and cylinder/tank parts. Doing so creates the risk of a gas leak that can result in property damage, serious injury, or death.

HAVE OLDER APPLIANCE CONNECTORS INSPECTED. Certain older appliance connectors may crack or break, causing a gas leak. If you have an appliance that is more than 20 years old, have a qualified service technician inspect the connector. Do not do this yourself, as movement of the appliance might damage the connector and cause a leak.

The Benefits of Choosing Propane

There are many things people take into consideration when selecting a heating system for their home. Safety is usually at the very top of that list, closely followed by affordability and practicality. Discussing these concerns with trained professionals can quickly give you the peace of mind you need to make this important decision.

The good news is that both propane furnaces and boilers come in a wide variety of options to accommodate your needs. They typically last for approximately 15-20 years, and are a reliable means of home heating. If your area experiences a power outage, you can still enjoy heat, hot water, and hot food, even during inclement weather. And compared to electric heat pumps, a propane heating system is considered to be an average of 20 degrees warmer. Also, it typically costs less to repair a propane furnace than an electric heat pump.

Propane heat can be the ideal solution if you are considering moving to an area that isn’t served by natural gas. Having this flexibility can be extremely important to anyone interested in building a new home, especially if you are planning to install radiant heat. Best of all, over 80% of propane is produced in the United States, helping to reduce our reliance on foreign oil.

Propane Safety

Thanks to stringent industry regulations, propane is one of the safest choices for home heating.

  • Propane is safe and will not harm soil.
  • An odor is added to propane to help with detection due to the fact that is naturally colorless and normally has no odor.
  • Propane gas is nontoxic.

Tips for Converting to Propane

If you are thinking of converting from your current heating system to propane, you should always have a professional evaluation. A trained expert can help you to accurately determine your home’s heating needs so that you can make an educated decision. For example, having a heating system that is too big can be tremendously wasteful, causing you to lose money and efficiency.

Find out more about the benefits of propane heat and schedule a consultation with a Keystone Propane professional today.

 

Free Solutions for Heat Savings

Don’t let this year’s winter weather put a burden on your pocket book. By following these few simple tips, you will see a noticeable difference in your heating bill without spending any additional money!

Turning Down the Thermostat Does Make a Difference

Did you know that you can save approximately 3% of your total heating costs by turning down your thermostat just 1 degree? Those percentages can add up quickly. Think of how many opportunities there are to turn down the heat when you and your family aren’t home. Remember to adjust your thermostat before you leave for work and again at night before you go to bed … you can save a bundle.

Clean Those Heating Vents

Any build up or blockages in your heating vents could prevent the proper circulation of air flow throughout your home. Without good circulation, the lack of efficiency isn’t only wasting heat … it’s wasting money as well. Be sure to keep your vents clear of debris, carpeting, or anything else that could disrupt airflow and efficiency.

 It’s Curtains for You

How and when you adjust your curtains could aid in both warming your home and insulating it at night. Determine which windows in your home are facing south, and open your shades and curtains to let the sunlight in. Closing all your curtains in the evening will help to prevent the warm air from escaping, increasing your overall heating efficiency.

Are You a Fan of Fans?

Fans can quickly disperse the heat in your home, especially if they’re left on longer than needed. It can be extremely easy to forget to turn off a fan after use, so do your best to be aware of fans running longer than absolutely necessary, especially in your kitchen and bathroom.

Close Up That Fireplace

Contrary to popular belief, that cozy fire can actually be stealing the heat from your home when it’s in use. Try to limit your the use of your fireplace and always keep the damper closed when not in use.

Contact us today for information on Keystone Propane quality services and how we can help you save on heating costs!

 

 

 

 

 

Spend a Little – Save A Lot

When it comes to saving big on heat expenses, sometimes spending a little money is the key. Here are a few affordable things you can do to help lower your heating bill and increase your home’s efficiency.

How’s Your Ductwork?
You can easily lose upwards of 50% of heated air if your home does not have well planned ductwork. If you happen to be particularly handy, there are lots of ways you can improve your ductwork system. Be sure to check that all of your ductwork is connected properly and repair any of the places where pipes may be pinched. Always remember to use tape with metal backing in lieu of regular duct tape, as it lasts much longer. If you are inexperienced or uncomfortable with this type of work, hiring a professional may be your best bet. Although it my be more expensive, it can save you a lot in the long run.

Stop Heat from Escaping
Gaps around doors and windows could allow a significant amount of heat to escape your home. Inspect all of your home’s doors and windows for any drafts and open areas. Caulking is an excellent way to seal older windows to help keep the heat in and the cold air out. Also, investing in a few inexpensive door sweeps to block exterior entrances can improve your home’s efficiency as well.

Time to Winterize
Another way to eliminate heat loss is winterizing older windows. If window replacement isn’t an option, covering your windows with a with a clear plastic can help with insulation. It is also a good idea to review your home to pinpoint any other areas that can be better insulated with traditional methods. Pay particular attention to your attic, which is one of the most common places that allows heat to escape in older homes. Always be sure to look for blackened spots on the edging of the fiberglass … this dust is an indicator of where airflow is escaping. Sealing these areas first can make a tremendous impact.

For more information on how to help save on your heating bill, contact Keystone Propane today.