FYI

Extend Your Outdoor Fun Into Fall with Propane

(Photo courtesy of Google images)

Can you believe it is the last week of Summer 2013? If you aren’t quite ready to send off the Summer, take comfort (and warmth) in knowing that you don’t have to! Welcome Fall’s crisp evenings with several outdoor propane powered product options. Propane is a reliable and cleaning burning energy source that helps these products enhance the ambience of your backyard, while keeping you and your family comfortable and warm during the transition into cooler days and nights.

Propane Patio Heaters and Outdoor Fireplaces (from the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC)): Chilly weather is no match for a portable propane patio heater or outdoor fireplace. From small tabletop heaters that can help warm up an intimate outdoor dinner to floor-standing fireplaces that can deliver a circle of radiant heat up to 20 feet in diameter, propane’s clean, versatile energy can raise the outdoor air temperature by between 10 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit. And they’re 85 percent efficient, compared with the 15 percent efficiency of wood-burning fireplaces.

Most propane heaters and fireplaces feature automatic igniters for quick start-up. Portable units typically offer many safety features, including an auto tilt valve that immediately shuts down the heater if it is knocked over.

Propane Fire Pits: Whether the use is for warmth or pure ambience, propane outdoor fireplaces are a simple and stylish for backyard entertaining or simply a quiet evening by the fire. It assists with extending your outdoor living space through the cooler months.

Propane Pool and Spa Heaters (from PERC): Few things are better than a dip in warm water on a cool night. While there are many available options to keep outdoor pools or spas warm and inviting, propane is an excellent choice. In fact, the Energy Department says propane heaters can warm pools and spas more quickly than electric heaters and can maintain heat better in cold weather.

While electric heat pumps are available for pools and spas, the Energy Department reports that their initial cost is higher than that of propane and other gas pool heaters. Heat pumps start losing efficiency once ambient temperatures fall below about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they use considerably more electricity to maintain water heat. Solar heating, of course, works only when there is a steady supply of sunny days.

We have four tips on what to consider when upgrading your backyard with these propane powered outdoor living enhancements:

1. Create a budget. Before you start any project, it’s important to decide how much money you’re willing to spend. And it’s a good idea to build in a 10 percent cushion for unexpected expenses.

2. Consider placement. When determining where to place your new propane grill or outdoor heater, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine a place that optimizes performance. Keep outdoor appliances away from furniture, deck rails, trees, and buildings. Keep grills at least 10 feet from any structure, and make sure fire pits and patio heaters have at least three feet of clearance on all sides. Make sure the surface area is level, well-ventilated, and away from strong winds.

3. Keep the outdoors out. Use outdoor propane appliances outdoors — and indoor propane appliances indoors. Don’t keep a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, a garage, a shed, or a tent.

4. Know when to go pro. When your home already operates on propane, a qualified service technician must install appliances that are connected to an existing gas source. You should also schedule a qualified service technician inspect your outdoor appliances annually.

Fall may be at your doorstep, but now you can comfortably invite it into your backyard. Once you have added these backyard enhancements make sure you have the propane to enjoy them. To find the closest propane cylinder exchange location to you, click here.

 

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