propane

Propane and solar can work together to play a large part in national energy conversation Solar Appreciation Day is Friday, March 11, and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is sharing ways that construction professionals and their customers can use propane and solar energy together to reduce their carbon footprint. “Solar PV, an intermittent Read more

Propane and solar can work together to play a large part in national energy conversation

Solar Appreciation Day is Friday, March 11, and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is sharing ways that construction professionals and their customers can use propane and solar energy together to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Solar PV, an intermittent electricity  producer, is a low-emission, renewable energy source,” said Bryan Cordill, director of residential and commercial business development at PERC.  “However, relying only on solar power can be difficult in regions due to a variety of reasons like the amount of daylight hours during winter or tree cover. Propane can help.”

Currently, propane is used by nearly 12 million U.S. households for home heating, water heating or cooking, and by thousands of American businesses. The more propane appliances a business or home has, the lower the amount of solar power needed to operate lights or  charge cell phones. Hybrid systems that run on propane and solar can be tailored to a project’s unique needs, providing lower first costs and reduced ongoing energy costs and emissions.

Large, sustained power outages have continued over the last two decades according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 2021, more than 8.6 million people experienced a power interruption. Severe weather-related problems have driven much of the increase in large outages shown, as reported by the DOE. In response, consumers are investing in alternate power solutions. This increased demand for clean energy sources is why construction professionals need to be knowledgeable about different energy sources, like solar and propane.

“We need to consider a mix of energy sources (propane, solar, electric, natural gas) to keep our homes and businesses running,” said Cordill. “We can do that with a low-carbon emissions energy source—propane is here now to make that impact. A diverse energy mix ensures reliability during critical events, like severe weather.”

For contractors interested in improving a home’s carbon footprint in an affordable and reliable way for customers, propane is a viable energy solution. When propane is used with solar power systems, emissions are reduced, and reliability is increased. Discover more about the environmental benefits of propane at Propane.com.

Explore the benefits of propane CHP and micro-CHP systems Driven by the climbing costs of electricity and increasing grid outages, consumers and businesses are searching for affordable, reliable energy solutions. The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) created a new resource for residential and commercial construction professionals that outlines the benefits and capabilities of propane-powered combined Read more

Explore the benefits of propane CHP and micro-CHP systems

Driven by the climbing costs of electricity and increasing grid outages, consumers and businesses are searching for affordable, reliable energy solutions. The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) created a new resource for residential and commercial construction professionals that outlines the benefits and capabilities of propane-powered combined heat and power (CHP) units.

A propane-powered CHP unit uses a propane engine to power a generator that produces electricity. It then uses the heat that’s generated for home or building heating and to heat water. Available in a wide range of capacities, CHP systems are ideal for single-family homes, apartment buildings, small businesses, utility power, and large commercial and industrial applications.

“CHP systems offer residential and commercial customers an energy solution that’s environmentally friendly, affordable, and incredibly reliable—plus, many won’t go down with the electric grid,” says Bryan Cordill, PERC’s director of residential and commercial business development. “Vulnerabilities in our electric grid are causing Americans to seek other reliable energy options, and we want them to know they can rely on propane anytime, anywhere.”

The free, downloadable brochure details some of the key benefits of propane-powered CHPs, including:

  • Propane-powered CHP and micro-CHP systems outpace the efficiency and emissions of traditional heating or water heating systems, surpassing energy savings from even the most efficient boilers.
  • In commercial micro-CHP systems, propane units reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent compared with diesel diesel and 50 percent compared with electric.
  • Propane models reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 13 percent compared with natural gas and 50 percent compared with electric.

Download PERC’s new brochure to learn more or visit Propane.com.

Hydronic heating offers complete, energy-saving system for homeowners When your customers are selecting home appliances, what priorities often drive their decision making? If the answer is cost, comfort, or environmental impact, they may be interested to learn more about hydronic systems, which offer efficient home and hot water heating simultaneously. When it comes to hydronic Read more

Hydronic heating offers complete, energy-saving system for homeowners

When your customers are selecting home appliances, what priorities often drive their decision making? If the answer is cost, comfort, or environmental impact, they may be interested to learn more about hydronic systems, which offer efficient home and hot water heating simultaneously.

When it comes to hydronic heating, there are different options: the hydronic furnace and in-floor hydronic radiant heat, which is most commonly used for homes in cold climates.

Here’s an overview of how one of these systems works and how they can benefit both you and your customers.

What is a hydronic furnace?

Hydronic furnaces connect seamlessly to select tankless water heaters and condensing boilers to deliver efficient, simultaneous home heating and domestic hot water in one complete system. Hydronic furnaces use hot water from a tankless water heater, saving installation costs—and making traditional furnaces seem like a thing of the past. By pairing them with propane-powered water heater, contractors can help their customers enjoy steady, comfortable heat throughout their home.

A propane-powered tankless water heater supplies continuous hot water—unlike a traditional storage tank with a capacity of just 50 or 75 gallons and required time to recover between uses—so the system can pump a constant flow through the heating coil and deliver steady, comfortable heat to the home without the need for a fuel-powered furnace, gas piping or an extra exhaust vent to the atmosphere. At the same time, the tankless water heater performs its primary job without interruption, prioritizing heating the water that is piped to showers, sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines.

These systems can be installed in a new home or added to an existing home and can be paired with an air-source heat pump to maintain comfort and efficiencies—even on cold days when the heat pump can’t keep up. Plus, this does away with the super in-efficient resistant heat coil for the emergency heat mode.

How can this technology benefit my customers?

With a hydronic furnace, homeowners can rely on steady, comfortable heating throughout their home, saving space, energy, and money.

Budget-friendly

A tankless water heater is typically more expensive than a traditional storage tank model, but some manufacturers offer the hydronic air handler for less than a comparable gas-powered condensing furnace. When you combine that with installation savings you end up with a lower cost installed product. Plus, because propane-powered tankless water heaters only heat water when it’s needed, they can help homeowners save more than $150 per year in energy costs when compared with typical electric storage tank water heaters.

Increased comfort and control

Comfort is one of the biggest perks of hydronic heating. In fact, many homeowners report that their heat is less dry than heat radiated via a traditional furnace. With a hydronic furnace, homeowners control the air temperature by setting a thermostat, just as they would with a traditional furnace or heat pump.

Sustainable operation

And for environmentally conscious homeowner customers, they can have peace of mind knowing their system is reducing emissions compared with other energy options. Notably, a propane tankless water heater produces roughly half of the carbon emissions of an electric storage tank system when full lifecycle emissions are taken into consideration. Plus, they’re aiding in water conservation efforts because hydronic systems create no wastewater. Instead, they take the water used to heat the air and recirculate it through the tankless water heater.

How can installing hydronic heating benefit my business? 

The benefits of hydronic heating don’t stop with the customer. Plumbing and HVAC contractors can reap the benefits, too. The dual technology presents an opportunity for some plumbers to get into the heating business and some mechanical contractors to add tankless water heater installation to their line of services.

Some industry pros predict that builders will embrace hydronic heating as homebuyers already familiar with the benefits of energy- efficient tankless water heaters learn that those energy- and water-saving devices can also help heat their homes.

Visit Propane.com/Water-Heating to learn more.

Bryan Cordill is director of residential and commercial business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at bryan.cordill@propane.com.

 

 

Talk resiliency with customers after downloading PERC’s free power generation guide In celebration of National Preparedness Month, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is encouraging construction professionals to download its new resource, The Ultimate Guide to Power Generation. This free, downloadable resource gives construction professionals an in-depth look at propane’s capabilities as a resilient Read more

Talk resiliency with customers after downloading PERC’s free power generation guide

In celebration of National Preparedness Month, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is encouraging construction professionals to download its new resource, The Ultimate Guide to Power Generation.

This free, downloadable resource gives construction professionals an in-depth look at propane’s capabilities as a resilient energy source for residential, commercial, and industrial use by:

  • Detailing the different types of propane power generation including prime, standby, towable and portable, and micro-combined heat and power (CHP).
  • Educating construction professionals on how to bundle propane generators and propane appliances for more affordable protection.
  • Sharing case studies of residential and commercial projects relying on propane generators and micro-CHP systems.

“If you think about the number of systems and appliances that are powered by electricity—whether in a home or commercial building—you can get a sense of the impact a power outage can have,” said Bryan Cordill, director of residential and commercial business development at PERC. “Recent vulnerabilities in our electric grid have prompted Americans to take a closer look at their energy selections and we want them to know they can rely on propane power generation for true peace of mind and security—all without sacrificing cost or environmental impact.”

Propane’s stability and portability make it the ideal backup power energy source. Propane-powered generators offer an efficient, versatile solution to keep homes and businesses running and protect them from the damage a power outage can cause. Available in a wide variety of capacities, there’s a model that can meet the needs of any size home, business, or commercial building. Plus, propane can power other major energy systems, too, reducing a building’s reliance on standby power.

“We want construction professionals to be well-versed in propane’s role in a resilient design and encourage them to start a preparedness conversation with their customers,” Cordill said. “After all, preparedness is the best defense.”

Download PERC’s backup power resource for free at Propane.com/Generators. To learn more about the benefits of propane, visit Propane.com.

Three considerations for right-sized tankless installations–and increased customer satisfaction Propane tankless water heaters use less energy, cost less to operate, and produce fewer emissions than other options, which is why a growing number of homeowners are requesting these systems. As contractors know, determining the right configuration for their projects isn’t always straightforward. Whether considering a Read more

Three considerations for right-sized tankless installations–and increased customer satisfaction

Propane tankless water heaters use less energy, cost less to operate, and produce fewer emissions than other options, which is why a growing number of homeowners are requesting these systems.

As contractors know, determining the right configuration for their projects isn’t always straightforward. Whether considering a single unit for the whole home or multiples that run in tandem, knowing how to predict demand is key to giving customers a setup that meets their performance and cost expectations.

Here are three factors to consider when right-sizing a tankless system for projects.

How much water will the customer need?

Knowing how many people will live in the home, who will be using hot water, and for what purposes is the first step toward installing a system that will fulfill their specific needs. Additionally, understanding a customer’s lifestyle and habits–when they shower, how often they do laundry, and whether they expect to install radiant heating–can help determine expected peak demand times.

Take stock of the number and type of appliances and systems requiring hot water and note their water delivery rates. To calculate peak demand, the Department of Energy (DOE) recommends counting the number and gallons per minute (GPM) rate of faucets, showers, and appliances that could be in use in the home at any given time. Features such as in-floor radiant heating and spas can considerably raise a home’s hot water demands. Propane tankless water heaters provide an endless supply of hot water, averaging roughly 222 gallons per hour, compared with an average first-hour delivery rating of just 62 gallons per hour for electric storage tank models.

How much will the water need to be heated?

It’s important for contractors and installers to know the difference between outdoor ground temperatures and the desired indoor hot water temperature. That will reveal how much the water will need to heat and, therefore, how quickly the unit can deliver hot water.

For example, a typical shower head delivers 2.5 GPM, so a 9.4 GPM unit would run three to four showers depending on the inlet ground water temperature. According to the DOE, the average groundwater temperature across the U.S. is 50 degrees. In most cases, water should be heated to at least 120 degrees, so the home will need a tankless unit that can heat 2.5 GPM by 70 degrees. Lower flows can be heated to a bigger temperature rise and higher flows to a smaller temperature rise. Most propane or natural gas tankless water heaters on the market can handle a rate of 5 GPM at a 70-degree temperature rise. As fixtures are added, demand on the system increases and that 5 GPM rating can quickly get overwhelmed.

While a tankless unit will provide hot water almost instantly at the unit, the water still has to travel to the faucet, so location of the units is an important part of system design. Oftentimes, two smaller units, each placed closer to the end use site, can provide the project a higher level of satisfaction than one large or two smaller units installed in a single location. This also provides some redundancy if a unit or fixture needs to be serviced.

What can the home accommodate?

Peak demand scenarios are why contractors shouldn’t assume an undersized system will cover their client’s full range of needs. Oversizing isn’t as big of a concern with tankless systems. While oversizing a traditional tank water heater would result in significant wasted energy over the life of the unit, tankless units vary their flow rates based on demand and, therefore, having excess capacity doesn’t necessarily mean a tankless system is using more energy.

New projects can more easily accommodate tankless units at the point of use than existing homes, which are often designed for a central tank system–and may be better suited for one or more units installed in the basement. For most projects, one unit is sufficient. Multiple units may be used to handle larger loads or as homeowners scale up in the future as their hot water needs change. Because of the popularity and dependability of propane tankless water heaters, new products are available on the market that would allow customers to have “multiple” heaters in a single cabinet, or on a single rack that comes to the project ready for installation making system design easier still.

To determine the optimal number of tankless units for a home, help customers understand their consumption habits and how the system can be sized to meet their expectations. Determine peak demand and gauge actual usage and lifestyle habits. Then, compare prices for systems that meet those needs relative to a client’s budget. Put in as much capacity as those factors will allow to balance cost and comfort. By simply installing a propane system, customers will see optimal cost savings. That’s because propane tankless water heaters offer reduced energy costs, a lower total cost of ownership, and a longer service life compared with other options. Notably, propane tankless systems can reduce energy costs by up to 50 percent and eliminate standby energy loss from the tank.

To learn more about propane water heating systems, visit Propane.com/Water-Heating.

Bryan Cordill the director of residential and commercial business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at bryan.cordill@propane.com.