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The Perfect Season

Now that the cold weather is somewhat behind us, it is time to dust off that grill and get to cooking!

It is a great time of the year when family and friends come together to enjoy the company and the FOOD! Don’t be the host that isn’t prepared for your crowd. There are plenty of ways to make sure everyone is full and happy when they go home.

Grilling: Everyone loves grilling meat, or veggies (I mean what’s not to like when you see those char marks).

Smoking: Propane powered smokers are the best way to experiment with different types of meat.

Frying: I bet you thought it was only on Thanksgiving where it is acceptable to fry… (Not a chance).

So try out these three ways that will be a huge hit at your place and make sure you don’t forget to pick up an extra AmeriGas Propane Tank so you never run out!

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Forklift Tips: Choosing the Right Forklift Refueling Option

Propane-Powered Forklift  Tips

Tip 1: Choosing the Right Refueling Option

What do you do when your forklifts need to be refueled? Do you take the tanks out back and fill them up on site? Do you just swap out the tanks with those your supplier dropped off?

Do you know which refueling option is the best choice for your company?

Most business owners don’t even think about the impact forklift refueling has on business operations.  You could be wasting gallons of propane each week with an inefficient refueling process, or you could even put your business’s safety at risk with poor refueling practices.

Have your propane supplier come on-site. Let them survey your facility and get a sense for your current refueling set-up. Walk them through a mock refueling. This way, you and your supplier can uncover inefficiencies with your current setup and determine how to eliminate fuel waste.  

Flexible Options

Your business is unique from the one down the street, so make sure you’re having a conversation with your propane supplier about what options are available to you. Best-in-class propane suppliers, like AmeriGas, offer multiple refueling options, giving you the flexibility to choose the best refueling option for your business needs:

Cylinder Exchange: AmeriGas monitors your propane usage and delivers full cylinders to keep you up and running. You can also choose to monitor your usage yourself and request deliveries when more propane is needed.
On-Site Cylinder Refueling: Participate in forecasted delivery service that provides propane to your location(s) based on your forecasted usage.
Bulk Tank Service: Opt for an on-site tank and dispenser for maximum flexibility with timely propane deliveries in bulk. Depending on your forklift operations, it may make sense to have a large propane tank at your location. Your local AmeriGas propane expert will inspect your site, help you decide on the size of the tank and get it installed.

 

Schedule a FREE fuel check to have an AmeriGas representative come on-site to show you the benefits of each refueling option. Lean more and schedule your fuel check by clicking here.

 

Next week, check back for the next Propane-Powered Forklift Tip to learn how to conserve fuel and increase your forklift’s operational efficiency.

 

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The Perfect Patio

For many people, getting these outdoor areas ready for early-season entertaining is top priority on spring-cleaning to-do lists! Here are just some friendly safety tips to keep in mind before using your outdoor appliances:

  • Never burn wood, coal, or anything other than propane in a propane fire pit.
  • Before lighting you propane grill for the first time, check the cooking grid and warming rack to be sure both are in their proper place.
  • Clean the grid, the interior of the grill, and the burner with a wire brush to remove any built-up food.
  • Always keep the top open when lighting the grill until you are positive it is lit.

After another blustery winter season, warm weather and the return of outdoor living cannot come soon enough. Make sure you are prepared by stopping at any of our locations and pick up an AmeriGas tank exchange. To make sure you never run out, pick up a spare tank as well! Let the outdoor season begin!

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AmeriGas Rolls on the Rails

AmeriGas Bobtail on the Railroad

Bobtails traveling to islands by barge. Tanks airlifted to inaccessible mountain locations. A propane truck driving Alaska’s ice road. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, AmeriGas now has a bobtail riding the rails.

AmeriGas is the primary provider of propane for the nation’s five largest railroads. For some railroads, we are the exclusive supplier. The gas we deliver fuels heat for the track switches. Each switch guides railcars off one track and onto another at spurs or junctions.

Railways run through some remote areas of the country. Alongside them are gravel access roads that lead to 500- or 1,000-gallon tanks that fuel the switch heaters. We deliver to about 9,000 tanks at thousands of these locations.

At times, severe snowstorms make delivering propane by bobtail to isolated tank locations difficult. In a snow event, switch heaters can run 24-hours-a-day for a number of days. “When there’s a big snowstorm, that’s when the switch heaters need the heat, so that’s when we need to be delivering,” says National Accounts Sales Director Brian Grimm.

Over the last couple of years, representatives from BNSF Railway started talking with AmeriGas about an option to deliver gas directly from the tracks. Railroad crews have long been riding the rails in maintenance vehicles designed to travel the tracks. The challenge was to develop a bobtail that could travel on the road or on the rail system.

Determined to serve our railroad customers no matter what the weather brings, Fleet Manager Jay Massey drew up specifications for a rail truck and reached out to truck builder Westmor Industries. Westmor delivered a propane delivery truck with a hy-rail (highway to rail) wheel system similar to what railroad maintenance trucks use. Now, when roads are not navigable, the hy-rail system converts the bobtail from road-ready to a rail-equipped in minutes.

Once positioned on the railroad track, the driver uses a lever to drop a set of rail wheels that raise the bobtail’s front tires off the track. The driver drops a second set of rail wheels at the back of the truck to align with the track, but the rear tires stay in contact to propel the vehicle.

AmeriGas drivers from two locations—Steele, ND and Avon, MN—braved temperatures of 30 degrees below zero in January to train in the truck. BNSF workers, who escort the AmeriGas bobtail on all deliveries made by rail, joined them. After completing two days of test runs, they were ready for the first rail delivery, which came in early March.

While the hy-rail technology is available at the push of a lever, setting up a rail delivery is more involved. Before the truck can hit the rails, District Manager Steve Blenker of the Steele and Avon offices works with BNSF to arrange a delivery window. The process involves coordination among the local AmeriGas and BNSF teams and officials at the railroad’s hub in Fort Worth, TX, which controls when and where trains are moving on the tracks.

In March, muddy and wet conditions made road access to two BNSF tank sites difficult. A bobtail driver regularly travels through two miles of fields to access one of the sites. Conditions made that impossible, so AmeriGas and BNSF worked together to coordinate timing of two deliveries by rail.

When the delivery window arrived, BNSF secured access for the bobtail to travel along 15 miles of track. Propane and rail crews traveled to the tank sites as a team while a train waited on a siding until the fills were completed and the bobtail was off the rails.

“It really worked great–without a hitch,” says Steve, who joined three others from the Steele district for the inaugural ride. “It was very interesting to be with the BNSF employees as they used computers and radios to access the track for us from Fort Worth.”

The hy-rail bobtail will deliver to tanks in North Dakota serviced mainly by the Steele office but also Avon and AmeriGas in Detroit Lakes, MN, led by District Manager Dave Martinson.

Delivering propane by rail is not only more efficient, but also safer. The hy-rail bobtail meets or exceeds all road and rail requirements. Furthermore, electronics in the cab enable the railroad’s hub to communicate with the propane driver, monitor vehicle’s location on the tracks, and even stop the truck (if needed).

Our bobtail on rails is just one more way AmeriGas delivers our portable fuel wherever it needs to go.

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Protecting Orchards with Propane

Orchard Propane Delivery

As we head into spring you are sure to recognize more outdoor appliances running on propane-your grill, lawn mowers, patio heaters, and mosquito traps to name a few. But you may not realize this piece of equipment can run on propane too.

What is it? This large wind fan is actually an orchard fan, powered by propane, which helps to keep the orchard trees from being damaged by spring freezes.   These large fans, which can stand over 30 feet tall, redirect warmer air toward orchard trees preventing widespread damage to the crops.

How do they work? Warm air tends to rise as the temperature drops at night. The propane-powered fans pull the warm air in as it rises and push it back down to the ground. This push of warmer air can raise the temperature around the trees up to 3-5 degrees. This increase in temperature, although small, is usually enough to prevent the blossoms on the orchard trees from bursting and destroying the chance for a crop.

These fans are just one option for heating orchards. Other options include ground-level orchard heaters which are placed throughout or near the rows of crop. Propane provides an environmentally friendly way to protect crops from freezing. Propane is a clean fuel as listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act. Using propane instead of other fuels reduces the carbon dioxide and other air pollutants making propane the clean, green choice.

To learn more about all the benefits of using propane for agriculture, visit  www.amerigas.com or contact us.

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Tanks 101: Tank Sizes

As odd as it may sound, propane tanks are quite mysterious.  They’re available in a vast array of shapes and sizes—but how are you supposed to really know which tank is right for you?  Whether you’re looking to heat your entire home with propane, or just use it for your stove, we’ll help you find the One.

120-325 GALLON TANK.  These tanks are perfect for homes that only have two or three appliances using propane.  If you need propane for your gas fireplace, standard hot water, clothes dryer or stove—then this is the tank for you!

500 GALLON TANK.  If you’re looking to heat your entire home, or multiple appliances, then a 500 gallon tank best fits your needs. These tanks are perfect for heating a smaller home, reducing the number of fill-ups required throughout the year.

1000 GALLON TANK.  Use a lot of propane throughout the year?  Then we have the tank for you!  1000 gallon tanks are perfect for larger square footage homes. You can easily heat your entire home and run all your appliances off of a 1000 gallon tank! These tanks are also great for smaller businesses looking to use propane for larger commercial and industrial appliances.

1450-1990 GALLON TANK.  Is a 1000 gallon tank just not cutting it for you?  Our 1450-1990 gallon tanks are perfect for larger organizations that are looking to run several large appliances on one tank.

When figuring out what tank is best for you, keep in mind that the volume propane expands when it’s introduced to heat.  That’s why we’re always sure to follow the 80% rule when we fill our customer’s tanks!

The actual size tank you need may vary based on climate and usage. Please be sure to contact your local office to speak with an expert! We’re confident that we’ll find you the right tank for you!

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Introducing the AmeriGas Ride Share Program

AmeriGas is always looking for new and better ways to serve the communities we are in.  In the past, we’ve investigated propane bobtail drones, new propane scents, and cutting-edge hose-free propane delivery, but unfortunately none of those have made it to market yet.  But today we’re very happy to introduce a partnership with Uber, the ride-hailing service, to offer our customers rides in our trucks!

AmeriGas has one of the largest truck fleets in the country, with over:

  • 3,700 Propane Bobtail Delivery Trucks
  • 4,000 Service Trucks
  • 425 Rack Trucks

All of those over 8,000 trucks have a routinely under-utilized front passenger seat.  Well not any more!  Beginning shortly with trials in select areas and then expanding nationwide, AmeriGas will list all of our trucks and drivers with Uber so that customers can request rides (see terms and conditions below).

Imagine riding shotgun in this tandem axle beauty as you haul 2,500 gallons of propane through breathtaking landscapes!

Trip to the mall?  Grocery store run?  Just think how many bags you can carry with one of our knuckle boom trucks!

Knuckle Boom Truck

And impress your friends when you pull up to the club in this brand new F-550!

Service Truck

Terms and Conditions

AmeriGas Ride-Share customers agree to follow all DOT and company safety policies including wearing seat belts and safety footwear (i.e. steel toed boots).  All customer-requested trips will be worked into existing propane delivery and/or scheduled service routes, customer rides may take longer if routes include deliveries to larger tanks of 500 gallons or more.  Discounts may be available to ride-share customers willing to pull hoses on delivery stops and wear additional safety gear including face shields and gloves.

 

April Fools!

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Tanks 101: Understanding the Basics

Not sure what type of propane tank is right for your home? Look no further because AmeriGas is here to help! Propane tanks come in different shapes and sizes, which allows us to customize your tank to fit your needs.

All propane tanks fall with 3 main categories:

1.  Underground tanks
2.  Above ground tanks
3.  Vertical tanks

 

UNDERGROUND TANKS

Underground propane tanks are the perfect for preserving the aesthetics of your landscaping. In most cases, a propane tank can be easily installed underground with only a small dome showing. Since propane is environmentally safe, it poses no threat to the homeowner’s soil or water.

Advantages:
- Hidden from plain view
- Keeps your tank cool during warmer months

Disadvantages:
- More costly installation

 

ABOVE GROUND TANKS

In areas where the terrain prevents underground placement, above ground tank can be easily and discretely installed. By simply integrating the tank into the homeowners landscaping, above ground tanks can easily be masked by the natural environment.

Advantages:
- Inexpensive installation
-
 Faster installation 

Disadvantages:
- More difficult to hide your tank
- Weather induced maintenance

VERTICAL  TANKS

Vertical propane tanks, typically 120 gallon tanks, perfect for homeowners that need propane for cooking or their fireplace. Vertical tanks are safely and discretely installed right up against your home. These tanks should be installed at least three feet from any windows or doors, and at least 10 feet from any source of ignition.

Advantages:
- Easy to hide
- Installed up against your home

Disadvantages:
- Limited sizes available

Still unsure about what type of tank is right for you? Contact us or call your local office to speak with an expert! Our highly-trained employees will not only match you with the right tank for you, but they can also provide you with additional details regarding tank installations and custom design.

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Your Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning

Spring is honestly my favorite time of the year. I mean—how could it not be? Birds are chirping, the flowers blooming. Everything is beginning to come back to life. Except me, once I realize it’s time for spring cleaning. The second I make that realization, I immediately want to crawl back into hibernation.

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a short list of to-do’s you should focus on this year.

1. PROPANE OVEN. Let’s be real, no one likes cleaning their oven. I think it’s actually my least favorite chore. Although cleaning your oven has definitely improved thanks to innovations like the self-cleaning oven, it’s still no walk in the park. That’s why I scanned the internet to find the best (and easiest) way to clean your oven! This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make your oven sparkle without all the harsh chemicals found in store bought cleaners.

2. PROPANE WATER HEATER. Just like your car needs oil changes, your water heater also needs routine maintenance. Over time, sediment builds up inside the tank, hindering the water heater’s efficiency. The buildup forces the water heater to work harder, resulting in added time, energy and money to heat the same amount of water. Think it’s time to part ways with your current water heater all together? Stop wondering and find out! Just remember: Whether your water heater’s brand new or on its last leg, experts suggest flushing out your water heater annually to keep it at top performance.

3. PROPANE FURNACE. To keep your propane furnace functioning at maximum efficiency, routine maintenance is crucial. Routine maintenance allows for early detection of any blocks or leaks within your furnace, which can be extremely costly if left unnoticed. Experts recommend having your furnace serviced annually by a professional.

4. PROPANE FIREPLACE. Although propane burns much cleaner than the alternatives, propane fireplaces still require a deep cleaning every so often. Failure to follow a routine fireplace cleaning will end up costing you more money. How so? Over time, buildup naturally accumulates on the pilot of your fireplace. The more buildup that accumulates, the harder it is for your fireplace to work (aka more money for you). Lucky for you, cleaning your propane fireplace is relatively easy. Experts recommend cleaning your propane fireplace once a year.

5. PROPANE GRILL. Scrubbing down your grill grates between every use just isn’t cutting it. Don’t agree? Then maybe you should take a quick peak to see what’s going on underneath your grates. All that buildup inside your grill isn’t just gross to look at (and dangerous!); it’s also messing with the taste of your food (and let’s be honest, you didn’t spend 3 days marinating that rack of ribs for nothing!). Luckily, deep cleaning your grill is relatively simple and only takes about 15 minutes. Experts suggest deep cleaning your propane grill at least 1-2 times per year.

 

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6 Ways to Treat Yourself (and Your Home) This Tax Refund Season

It’s one of my favorite times of the year—tax refund season! It’s the one time of the year the government actually gives us money back. The biggest question we’re all faced with is: What should I do with this extra money? With summer right around the corner, we think it’s time to refresh your outdoor living space and prepare yourself (and your home) for all of the summertime festivities. Check out our suggestions below to prepare your home for the most epic summertime gatherings!

1. PROPANE FIRE PIT AND FIREPLACE. Whether you’re looking to snuggle up by the fire on a chilly summer night or make memories with your family while roasting marshmallows, a fire pit or outdoor fireplace is the perfect addition to any outdoor living space. When you add propane in the mix, you’re saving yourself time, money and a major headache. Propane fire pits, for example, offer you mobility since they’re powered by a propane tank. That’s something you just can get with natural gas fire pits, which rely on a gas line. Compared to wood, propane offers cleaner burning and more efficient heat with—wait for it—no mess afterwards. Now that’s music to my ears!

2. OUTDOOR KITCHEN. Outdoor kitchens are amazing for entertaining friends and family during the warmer months. With an outdoor kitchen, you’ll never have to worry about having to leave the party to check on the main course! Best of all, outdoor kitchens keep all the grease, smoke, heat, nasty smells and the mess outside! When you power your outdoor kitchen with propane, your guests—and wallet—will thank you. Propane provides you with more temperature control than electric. When you cook with propane, you’ll be confident that your food will be evenly cooked to perfection every time! Now who wouldn’t love that?

3. PROPANE POOL AND SPA HEATER. Want to get more use out of your pool or spa? Then a propane heater is exactly what you need. Propane pool heaters heat the water much quicker than electric heaters, solar heaters and heat pumps. Propane pool and spa heaters are also inexpensive to purchase and they operate independently from the air temperature! That means that with propane, you’re pool or spa will be the perfect temperature regardless of how chilly it is outside. Talk about getting the most out of your pool or spa!

4. PROPANE TIKI TORCH. Have you ever had the chance to visit any of the Polynesian islands? Yeah, me neither. But there’s no need to get upset over it because with AmeriGas, you can bring the laidback island lifestyle to your home! Propane Tiki torches can easily, and greenly, transform your backyard into an island oasis.

5. PROPANE MOSQUITO TRAP. Never worry about having unwanted pests crash your family barbeque again! Propane mosquito traps can protect your entire—yes I said entire—backyard from those annoying, biting insects. Repellents are an inconsistent, short-term solution that typically produces unpleasant odors. Propane mosquito traps, on the other hand, are virtually odor- and noise-free while offering more consistent and reliable coverage. Save your family from nasty mosquito bites this summer by investing in a propane mosquito trap today!

6. PROPANE GRILL. Did you know that most grillers prefer propane over charcoal? Whereas charcoal grills are difficult to handle, propane grills are easy to start, maintain steady temperatures and are easy to clean. Most importantly, propane grills offer indirect and multi-zone cooking so you’re not burning your meal to a crisp! With propane, you don’t have to worry about open flames, nasty flare-ups or messy clean-ups like you do with charcoal.

Still have questions about upgrading your outdoor living space? Contact us or call your local office to speak with an outdoor living expert today!

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