What is Propane Autogas?

The World’s Most Popular Alternative Fuel

propane vehicles Propane autogas describes propane when it is used as fuel for vehicles. 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

In fact, it’s estimated that in 2022, there are more than 27 million vehicles in the world that rely on propane autogas. This includes school buses, taxis, shuttles, delivery and construction trucks and more. There are also thousands of propane autogas fueling stations in the U.S., with stations in every state. Read more facts about propane autogas.

According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, 60% of alternative-fuel vehicles nationwide are powered by propane. Overall, propane autogas is the third most popular vehicle fuel, next to gasoline and diesel. 

Its popularity has led to an array of innovations in vehicles that use propane autogas, including light- and medium-duty trucks, vans and shuttles.

Additionally, there are many propane-powered buses in the country transporting nearly one million children to school each day, and that number keeps increasing.

Buses fueled with propane autogas are crash-tested for impact in the side and rear, meeting rigorous motor vehicle safety standards.

Kids are benefiting from a healthier ride to and from school as well because propane school buses get an A+ as far as meeting emissions standards is concerned. Studies have shown that, when compared with the old diesel buses they have replaced, buses fueled by propane autogas:

  • emit 80% fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons
  • reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions by about 10,000 pounds
  • lower particulate matter by 315 pounds

Propane vs. Diesel and Gasoline Vehicles

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 the expected fuel economy. Historically, propane has been 30% less than gasoline, and the savings are even greater with diesel, especially in the wake of the alarming price increases we’ve seen this year.

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.

Propane Vs. Electric Vehicles: Which Is Cleaner?

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 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.

Converting Engines to Propane Autogas

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. Read more about how you can qualify to claim a credit for every gasoline gallon equivalent of propane autogas purchased.

Besides propane autogas, there are many other commercial/agricultural uses for propane.

A Comparison of Efficiency, Reliability and Safety

propane services iowa While natural gas is the leading home heating source in many parts of the country, most people don’t realize that many of the benefits of natural gas translate to propane as well.

Whether it’s a super-efficient furnace, unlimited hot water, temperature-precise cooking stoves, or reliable backup home generators to enhance convenience and safety, you can count on all of these benefits in your propane-powered home in the same way people do in homes supplied with natural gas.

Still, some more key advantages of propane make it stand out above natural gas.

Reliable Supply with Propane

Surveys have shown that people like heating their homes and water with propane because they know they will have a reliable supply of propane on hand whenever they need it. Having a propane tank on their property gives them the ability to store a plentiful supply that’s always ready for immediate use.
And with programs including automatic propane delivery, prebuy, and others, most suppliers offer a range of methods for ensuring that there is plenty of clean-burning propane on hand.

One of the drawbacks of natural gas is that it can only get to your home through an underground pipeline. If something goes wrong with that pipeline, you can’t get any gas. Propane is easier to move around because it gets compressed, or squeezed until it turns into a liquid. It is then put inside large storage tanks and your propane supplier then delivers it right to your home’s propane tank.

When you turn on an appliance, propane goes into action. The liquid changes to gas before it leaves the tank. At that point, it’s similar to natural gas again, and it can create the heat you need for cooking and heating.

Flexible Propane Gas Line Installation

Propane gas lines can usually be fed into a home through a number of possible entry points with a nearby tank. While there are some requirements about a propane tank’s distance from the home that are in place, they are not unreasonable. This may not be the case for natural gas lines.

Propane Releases Fewer Greenhouse Gases

Because of its low carbon content, propane in its original form is not a greenhouse gas. It’s considered “green” as a result of its low carbon content. In contrast, environmental issues have arisen from natural gas leaking methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas.

Propane Is a Safer Fuel than Natural Gas

Compared with natural gas, propane has a far shorter range between its minimum and maximum burn temperatures and is safer as a fuel. Its narrower range of flammability helps keep it from igniting when it hits the air unless the ignition source is 920°F or higher.

Propane Keeps Getting Better

While renewable propane is not widely available yet, homes and businesses all over the U.S. will eventually be able to easily use it. Since renewable propane is molecularly identical to conventional propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment.

Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.

This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as that for propane generated from natural gas. And when compared to electricity, renewable propane has a considerably smaller carbon footprint.

Read more about renewable propane gas.

Why Risk a Run-Out or a Price Spike?

propane delivery iowaAs summer transitions into the fall, we always advise propane customers to start the heating season off with a full tank. Early fall is the perfect time to schedule your propane delivery.

Here are four reasons why this is a smart idea.

  1. Demand drives up propane prices and that demand is usually highest when temperatures drop. However, propane prices can also rise in the summer months, when people hit the road with their campers and RVs. Early fall squeezes between these two periods of peak demand – meaning it’s often the best time to save money on your propane tank fill-ups.
  2. Although sudden cold snaps can happen in the early fall here in the Hawkeye State, these aren’t as common or as severe as the drops that can happen in late autumn and early winter – which means that odds are, there won’t be a sudden big rush on local propane supplies (and the rising prices that typically come with it).
  3. Your family will be prepared for any weather. A sudden change in weather can pinch propane supplies quickly, leading to possible delivery delays and occasionally no-heat emergencies as people scramble to fill their tanks. Schedule your propane tank refill in the early fall and you’ll enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your family will be safe and comfortable in any weather.
  4. You can enjoy all your home comforts. Whether you like to cook on your propane grill on a beautiful autumn weekend, cozy up to your propane fireplace or lounge on your porch warmed by your propane patio heater, you’ll need to fill up on propane to enjoy the comforts of home in the months to come.

Securing Your Propane Supply

Getting propane delivered to your tank whenever you need it may seem fairly easy. But for propane suppliers, planning is more complex, and the process often begins a year before deliveries even reach customers. Plus, supply chain issues have added an extra layer of complexity to the mix lately.

Knowing the volume of fuel that each customer will need represents a key component in creating a supply plan, which includes storing away enough fuel. Customers can help out by contacting their propane dealer long before winter arrives to discuss their anticipated propane needs.

Your propane dealer is committed to supplying you with reliable propane deliveries throughout the year. If you have questions or want to discuss your propane supply, please get in touch with your local propane dealer.

Remember the 80/20 Rule

For safety purposes, your propane tank will never actually be completely full. Here’s why.

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, such as when the sun is shining directly on your tank. 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 delivery driver needs to leave extra space in your tank to allow propane to safely expand. The extra space in the tank provides a cushion against the pressure that builds up in a tank.
Aboveground propane tanks are typically filled to about 80% capacity. As an example, a 500-gallon tank filled to 80% will safely hold 400 gallons of propane.

This is often called the 80/20 rule. Keep in mind that the amount of gas in the tank doesn’t actually change during periods of expansion and contraction–only its density does.

Propane gas expansion is also the reason why you should never paint your outdoor propane tank a dark color since dark colors will absorb more heat from the sun.

Read more about propane safety.

Propane Releases Less CO2 than Other Energy Sources

carbon emissionsDid you know that you’re doing your part to help the environment by using propane appliances instead of electric ones?

It’s true! It takes three units of source energy to get one unit of electricity into your home. That means more coal often has to be burned to produce electricity, generating even more carbon emissions, to get electricity to homes.

In contrast, the minimal number of emissions released by a propane-heated house is cleaner than most alternatives. Propane contains virtually no particulate matter–a known carcinogen–and releases significantly less carbon dioxide (CO2) than other energy sources.

Homes with propane-fueled furnaces also emit up to 50% less nitrogen oxide and 82% less sulfur oxide than technologies fueled by electricity. These types of emissions contribute to acid rain and cause respiratory ailments.

Read more about propane and the environment.

But despite all of this, there has been an aggressive push from those in government to champion the increased use of electricity in favor of other fuels, including propane.

Winter and Our Failing Electric Power Grid

The electric infrastructure in our country has failed us time and again, causing massive disruption, frustration, and discomfort.

However well-meaning the “all-electric” movement may be, it is putting faith in breakthroughs that do not yet exist to an electric grid that is already unreliable.

Consider what will happen when the electric grid is taxed by huge new demand—caused by conversions of cars, commercial buildings, homes, and more. And imagine what a massive power outage would be like in the middle of a brutally cold winter in Iowa? (Tragically, we already saw a preview of that in Texas last year).

So, until our electricity supply is less environmentally destructive and not prone to numerous blackouts, it is simply not the best choice for staying warm in winter.

Millions of Americans, including many Iowans, rely on propane for warmth as well as hot water and cooking. Thanks to propane generators, they can still enjoy all of these benefits even when their electric power goes out.

Don’t Miss Out on Iowa Propane Rebates

If you want to increase efficiency, save on energy costs and add value to your home, why not invest in a new appliance (or two?) Iowa rebates make it easy and affordable.

Don’t wait! Installation rebates for new propane gas equipment are available only while funds last. You can save even more when you install a qualifying Rinnai propane product and add a manufacturer’s rebate to your savings.

To learn more about rebates, go here and then contact your propane service company for additional details.

Convenience & Efficiency of Propane Framed by an Existing Mantle

gas fireplace inserts iowaPropane fireplace inserts give you the best of both worlds: the convenience and efficiency of propane framed by an attractive existing masonry fireplace. You also get:

  • More realistic flames: Today’s improved gas burner technology means a warm glow, and flickering and dancing flames, just like a wood fire.
  • Adjustable heat: Whether the winter winds are blowing and you need a roaring fire, or you just need to take the edge off a cool early spring or autumn day, the multi-stage temperature controls can give you just the right amount of heat.
  • Smarter fireplace inserts: You can use the thermostat to program your propane fireplace to turn on and off at specific times, and program temperature settings for any time of the day or night.
  • High-efficiency backup heat: Do you feel the need to supplement your home’s heating system? Today’s propane fireplace inserts can keep you much cozier than a wood fire. You may be surprised to learn that as much as 90% of the heat produced by a wood-burning fireplace goes straight up the chimney! Did you ever notice how cold a room becomes when a wood fire begins to burn out? It’s because all the heat in the room is being drawn out the chimney!
  • More variety in sizes: Some masonry fireplaces have openings that are too narrow or shallow to fit a standard-sized propane fireplace insert. Smaller inserts are becoming more common, meaning more people can get the benefits of a propane fireplace.
  • Fireplace inserts with blowers: If you have a big space to heat, like an open-concept living room-dining room-kitchen space, you can get a propane fireplace insert with multi-speed blowers that push warm air to the far corners of a room, creating more even and comfortable heating.
  • Masonry fireplace refinishing: You can update your existing masonry fireplace to fit your personal style, from sleek contemporary to modern farmhouse.

Discover the Benefits of Any Propane Hearth

Today’s propane hearths bring you all the warmth, glow, and comfort of a wood fireplace without most of the drawbacks. That’s true whether it’s the aforementioned sealed fireplace insert or a built-in fireplace or a freestanding stove. Here’s what we mean.

  • Health impact: Wood smoke may smell good, but you really don’t want to inhale it. Wood smoke contains what is known as fine particulate matter. These microscopic particles can cause respiratory problems and other health issues. With propane, you avoid those risks.
  • Environmental impact: Burning wood creates about 28 pounds of smog-producing particulate emissions (soot and ash) per MMBTUs of heat output.* Propane, on the other hand, produces less than one percent of that. Using propane greatly reduces your home’s carbon footprint.
  • Efficiency: Propane fireplaces burn at about 80% efficiency, that’s about four to five times more efficient than a wood fireplace.
  • Versatility:  A propane fireplace can be a terrific heat source during a power outage. Even when there are no power issues, the heat produced by a propane fireplace may let you turn down your thermostat a few degrees.
  • Convenience: Most of today’s propane fireplaces feature thermostats, allowing you to control the flame and the heat from the comfort of your couch.

Want to learn more about propane hearths? Go here and then contact your local Iowa propane company.

*MMBtu stands for Metric Million British Thermal Unit; it’s used as a measurement of heat content or energy value.

Keep Propane Safety on Your Menu This Summer

gas grill safety iowaCooking, whether it’s inside or outside, always presents the potential of accidents and injuries because you’re dealing with high heat and hot flames. Just letting your mind wander away from the task at hand for a few seconds or panicking when something goes wrong could lead to bad consequences.

So, with the propane grilling season now in full swing in Iowa, here are some timely tips about what you should do if you ever have a grease fire or flare-up on your outdoor propane grill.

First and foremost, always be ready for an emergency. Near your grill, always keep these essentials: a fire extinguisher, insulated gloves, and either baking soda or sand so you can quickly smother any fire that erupts while you’re grilling.

What to Do about Flare-ups

Grill flare-ups are tall flames with a lot of smoke. These are actually quite common when grilling meats because of dripping fat, oil and marinades. To prevent your flare-up from turning into a full-fledged fire, do this:

  • Immediately move the food to a warming rack, using long-handled tongs.
  • Slowly replace the food and locate it at the center of the grill to let fat burn off; continue this process for each item.
  • Once all food has been returned to the grill, finish cooking with a watchful eye.

If You Have a Grill Fire

The problem with flare-ups is that these can spread quickly and easily turn into a full-blown fire. Here’s what to do if it looks like your flare-up has turned into something more serious.

  • Turn the grill off.
  • Remove the food and smother the flames by throwing baking soda or sand on top of the fire. NEVER use water to extinguish a grease fire. Throwing water on the fire can make the fire spread. There’s a reason for that old saying: “oil and water don’t mix.”
  • Close the lid and any grill vents to further starve the fire of oxygen.
  • If the propane tank has become part of the fire, or if the fire expands out of control, evacuate the area immediately and call the fire department.

Avoiding a Grease Fire

The best way to handle grease fires and flare-ups is to avoid them in the first place. Here are ways to do it.

  • Clean your grill regularly, following instructions from your manufacturer. Regular cleaning will greatly reduce the risk of fire. Your food will taste better too!
  • Grease sometimes pools in the firebox area around the burners. If it is safe to do so, turn off the gas and leave the lid open so the grease can burn off.
  • Always cook with the lid down, and leave it down during cooking time.
  • Oil the food, not the grates.

Read more about propane safety.

Learn the Secrets of Cooking Like a Pro

gas grill tips iowaIf you want to show off your cooking skills during Memorial Day weekend and beyond, you’ll need to know some of the secrets of cooking like a professional chef on your propane grill.

First, here is some background about why cooking on a propane grill is a smart choice. Today’s propane grills provide precise temperature and heat control, which is a major reason so many Iowans love using them. You can’t get that precision and control by cooking with charcoal.

Simply by turning the dial, you can instantly adjust your propane grill to give off more or less heat. If you’re grilling a variety of dishes, that control gives you the power to cook everything to perfection.

You have the choice of using different temperature modes or heat zones when you’re using a propane grill. Turn the dial to high heat on one side and low heat on the other, and that allows you to sear on the hot side and transfer it to the cooler side to finish cooking.

Direct Heat Vs. Indirect Heat

Being able to use direct heat or indirect heat, or both at the same time, is another reason why propane grills are so versatile and popular.

Direct heat cooks food hot and fast. It’s great for searing meats, or grilling thin cuts of meat and quick-cooking foods like vegetables.

Indirect heat is how you grill barbecued chicken and pork shoulder. You can even use indirect heat to bake bread. To grill with indirect heat, simply turn off the burners directly under where you want the food to cook, keep the other burners on, and close the grill lid.

But remember that indirect heat takes longer, so be patient. But that patience will pay off when you hear the praise you get from family and friends for the food you have prepared for them!

Grilling Meat Safely

Here are a few tips to help you keep your grilled meat as safe as can be:

  • trim excess fat before cooking to prevent flare-ups
  • use rosemary in your marinade, as studies have shown this can significantly reduce toxins. Garlic, lemon juice, and onion are other recommended marinade ingredients.
  • make sure the meat is cooked to a safe temperature by using an instant-read thermometer. It also prevents you from over-cooking those thick pork chops or steaks.
  • don’t put your cooked meats on the same platter you used for the meat when it was raw. Use a clean platter to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Searing on a Propane Grill

If you’ve ever marveled over the beautiful crust that steakhouses get on their meats, you can do it at home on your propane grill. It’s all about searing, whether it’s beef, lamb or pork. Here’s how to do it.

  • take the meat out of the fridge 20 to 30 minutes before grilling.
  • pat the surface of the meat dry with paper towels before seasoning (wet meat steams instead of sears). If you’ve marinated the meat, use paper towels to blot off excess marinade.
  • turn your propane grill on and set it onto high.
  • wait about 10 to 15 minutes until the grill is hot before putting the meat on.
  • once the meat is on the grill, leave it alone for at least one minute before turning it, at least two minutes if you have a thicker cut. After turning the meat, reduce the heat.
  • use an instant-read thermometer to make sure your meat is grilled to the safe and desired doneness.

Want to try something new on your grill this year? Check out these grilling ideas from the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

You can read more about outdoor living with propane by going here.

How They Work, How Much They Cost

water heaters iowaIf someone asked you to describe a water heater, you might say it looks a lot like a giant tin can. Of course, what you would be describing is the storage tank for the typical water heater. The water stored inside this “tin can” is heated by a small burner at the bottom of the tank.

But this type of standard water heating is not your only option if you’re looking for a replacement system. Did you know that not all hot water heaters need to store hot water?

It’s true. Some hot water heaters simply heat water on-demand, accessing water directly from a water pipe. Such units are called tankless water heaters. Generally fueled by propane, a tankless water heater is a great way to lower your energy costs and make the process of heating water much more efficient in the process.

Additionally, tankless units take up such a small space that you will actually be able to reclaim all that square footage your old bulky water heater is now taking up. Most tankless units hang on a wall and are about the size of a small suitcase and, maybe best of all, they will last about twice as long as a standard storage-tank water heater.

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

Your old storage-tank water heater unit heats water and stores it for when you need it. This is not an ideal situation because the stored water will lose heat over time, especially if the hot water tank is located in an unheated space. The water heater then has to start the process of heating the water all over again.

Now, consider a tankless hot water heater: when you turn on your hot water faucets or an appliance like a dishwasher, water is circulated through a heat exchanger and delivered on-demand. Your water heating efficiency can improve up to 40% and you’ll have access to virtually unlimited amounts of hot water. That’s because you won’t have to worry about the tank draining and having to refill and reheat, even when you don’t need that hot water yet.

How Much Does a Tankless Water Heater Cost?

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 over time. Consider this.

Prices for a tankless water heater can range from about $170 for small gas-fired units to more than $2,000 for high-output heaters, which can supply two showers at the same time. On average, though, the cost is about $1,000 per unit.

But keep in mind that propane gas-burning tankless water heaters should operate for 20 years or more. That’s two or three times longer than most storage tank water heaters as well as electric tankless water heaters.

So, if you experience an average energy savings of $150 per year, these savings should pay for your investment in a tankless water heater in about six or seven years. After that, you can pocket all of the savings on heating the water in your home.

Are you wondering if a propane tankless heater is the right choice for you? Complete this questionnaire to find out which type of water heater may be best suited for your home. Then reach out to your trusted propane company, who takes care of all of your fuel requirements while also giving you good advice and friendly assistance as you make decisions for your Iowa home.

propane and electricity iowaElectrification advocates claim that electricity is the only sustainable energy solution. That is far from the truth. Propane-heated homes are generally more energy-efficient, with a small overall carbon footprint.

Consider these facts when deciding whether electricity or propane is better for your home.

  1. Electricity might not release greenhouse gas emissions in your home, but many of the power plants producing it do. Today, 63% of electricity comes from burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, and electricity production release the second-largest share of emissions.
  2. Propane is one of the cleanest energy sources, producing 43% fewer emissions than the equivalent amount of grid-generated electricity.
  3. Electric-heated homes are often inefficient. It requires 27 kilowatt-hours of electricity to produce the same amount of energy as a single gallon of propane.
  4. Full electrification will badly overburden the power grid, increasing the risk of prolonged blackouts.
  5. Converting a home to electricity is extremely expensive, a burden on Iowa homeowners.

The simple truth is that propane is a more sustainable, affordable and efficient energy solution than electricity for Iowa homeowners. Visit PropaneIowa.com for more information.

Propane as a motor fuel

Instead of filling your vehicle’s tank with gasoline, there may come a day when you’ll “fill ‘er up” with propane autogas.

Autogas is already powering buses, police cars, street cleaners and other vehicles in cities worldwide. Many businesses are also using propane to fuel their vehicles.

Propane’s lesser environmental impact is what makes this fuel a leading alternative for vehicles of all kinds. Since propane has a lower carbon content than petroleum products, it creates fewer toxic emissions and burns cleaner. Some estimates show that converting a vehicle to propane autogas can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 90%.Your vehicle’s engine could even last longer with propane.

The future: renewable propane

The success story of propane and the environment doesn’t end here. Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future.

Renewable propane is molecularly identical to propane. But it is made with renewable resources such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass, and other triglycerides.

As the renewable propane sector grows, more Iowans will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further.

Find out more about renewable propane.

Read more about propane vs. electricity. And then contact your local propane company if you want to explore ways to expand your use of propane.

Winter Savings Tips for Your Propane Home

energy savings iowaWhen trying to find ways to save money and conserve energy, you should think of your entire Iowa home as a system, and that system has three main parts:

  1. The building envelope – roof, walls, windows, doors and foundation
  2. The mechanical systems – furnace, boiler, water heater, central air unit, etc.
  3. The occupants themselves – their energy decisions and overall energy usage.

Each of these three components contributes to your home’s energy efficiency and you can make a positive impact on energy usage (and your energy costs) in a number of ways.

Let’s start with the building envelope. Many homes are colder than necessary in the winter due to poor insulation levels. In the average home, about one-third of heat loss occurs through the ceilings, which should have a minimum of six inches of quality thermal insulation to keep heat inside the home, where it belongs. Otherwise, some of your heat will rise through the ceilings into the attic and then seep outside. What a waste of heating energy! Consider calling in a trusted home improvement contractor to evaluate your insulation levels.

Something you can do on your own during the winter months to save money will take hardly any effort at all. Use the sun’s free solar heat by leaving drapes and curtains open during the day. Just remember to close them at night.

Take Savings to A Higher Degree

In many families, there are often debates over which is the right thermostat setting during the winter. The trick is finding a balance between comfort and savings.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE), in the winter, the optimal setting is 68°F when you’re at home. Dial it down toward the 60°F range when you’re asleep or out of the house. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.

Why You Save

According to the USDOE, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. The longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature.

The Energy Department concludes that you can save as much as 10% a year on annual energy costs by simply adjusting your thermostat 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.

TIP: An easy way to control your temperature settings is to invest in a smart programmable thermostat.

Mechanical Systems and Propane Appliances

To learn about how you can make a positive impact on your home’s energy efficiency through upgrades to mechanical systems, consider the benefits of having a propane gas furnace. This will heat air to about 130-140 º and operate in short intervals to minimize operating costs while maximizing warmth.

Right now, when you install a new propane furnace in your home, you may qualify for a $250 rebate. Other rebates are also available for the installation of new propane water heaters, including highly efficient tankless models. Learn more about propane rebates.