Preparing for Winter of 2015

winter of 2015If you thought last winter was tough, just wait until the winter of 2015. The foreboding forecast from the latest Farmer’s Almanac predicts that the upcoming winter will be equally as bitter as the last, and possibly worse.

Not exactly the news we’re looking for. And how reliable is the Almanac really? Can one speculate solely based on the rings around the moon, sunspots, the hair on the back of a cow’s neck, and wooly caterpillars? Our last treacherous winter made believers out of many East Coasters who suffered through the multiple polar vortexes that froze a majority of the nation.

Whether you choose to put credence in these predictions or not, it’s best to err on the side of caution and do everything you can to ensure you’re heating system is winter ready. The early fall heat wave will sizzle out when you least expect it, so don’t let the cold nights take you and your family by surprise.

Consider hiring a professional to come into your home to inspect and service your heating system to make sure everything is operating properly before you begin using it. Don’t wait to schedule your appointment … qualified professionals could potentially be booked up this time of year. A standard check up will give you peace of mind that your heating system is much less likely to falter during this harsh winter. Standard inspection and maintenance normally includes:

  • Changing or cleaning your filter after a thorough inspection
  • Closely inspecting your home’s thermostat
  • Inspecting your heating unit’s electrical controls and components
  • Checking air flow
  • Applying oil to the motor if necessary

There are also a wide variety of actions you can take to get prepared including:

  • Be sure to remove all flammable materials stored near your furnace or hot water heater. Give it appropriate room to perform optimally.
  • Improve air flow by cleaning filters yourself. Dirty filters typically reduce your air flow and your furnace’s efficiency.
  • Clean away any build up sediment around the base of your water heater tank to prevent damage to the interior lining.
  • Be aware when you turn your heating system on for the first time, and monitor for any unusual sounds and smells.
  • If you have difficulty with your heater initially, look first for the most obvious cause and solution.

By following these helpful tips, your home can be winter ready in no time, regardless of whether the Farmer’s Almanac prediction is right! Please feel free to reach out to us anytime and leave your winter of 2015 preparation advice in the comments below!

 

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!

 

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!