Everything You Need to Know About a Popular Home Heating Fuel

propane benefits north carolina Increasingly, more new home constructions in the Mid-Atlantic region are relying on electric heat as their main energy source. So, if you’re used to electric heat, the idea of heating a home with propane might be unfamiliar. After all, most people think propane is just for grills and camping. But as electric rates continue to increase, many homeowners are looking towards alternatives, domestic fuel sources with less volatile prices and a lower environmental impact.

Natural gas from a utility is one way to go, but it isn’t available to everyone—and the cost and hassle of connecting can be prohibitive. But once they learn more, most people are discovering the many benefits of propane. But what exactly is propane?

Understanding Propane Gas

Propane is a byproduct of natural gas. Because it is compressed and stored in a liquid state, it is sometimes referred to as Liquid Petroleum Gas or LPG, for short.

Propane is one of the cleanest, most versatile, and efficient fuels around. It’s a domestically sourced alternative fuel that can provide steady, reliable heat at an affordable price. It also offers exceptional performance and efficiency in a wide range of home appliances at a much lower cost than electricity. Here’s what you probably didn’t know about propane, and why so many customers in North Carolina and southern Virginia are making the switch to it for whole-home, or supplemental use:

It’s Incredibly Energy Efficient

Propane generates more Btus than an equivalent amount of electricity, and it delivers more than twice the Btus of natural gas, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat or energy.

Also, propane appliances are very efficient as well, so they waste very little fuel in the combustion process. On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of the energy used by a power plant to generate and transmit electricity is wasted along the way.

It’s Increasingly Versatile

Because propane is so energy efficient, it’s a smarter choice than electricity for a wide variety of appliances in addition to heating your home.

For example, propane water heaters generate much more hot water at a cheaper cost per gallon on average. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that heat water with propane rather than electricity can see average annual savings of $174 or more.

The same technology that makes propane ideal for space heating and water heaters makes it a smarter choice than electricity to power all kinds of appliances that use hot water or heat:

It’s a Safe Choice

While it’s a highly flammable gas under certain conditions, leaks are rare, and propane is a notably safe and clean-burning way to heat your home and water and run many of your appliances.

Propane can also help keep your home and family safe in cases of emergency where electricity falls short. When storms knock out power, a propane-fueled backup generator will keep your lights and everything else running until the utility companies can make repairs. In addition, a gas stove will continue to work during a power outage. Now that’s some added peace of mind!

How Can I Get Propane in My Home? Call Thomas Brothers Today!

Whether you’re ready to make the switch or have more questions about the right solution for your home—the team at Thomas Brothers has the knowledge, experience, and resources to answer all your questions. And we can get you started, with the right size propane tank for your needs, reliable propane delivery and more!

Contact us for more information today—we’ll be happy to help.

Understanding Propane Conversions

propane conversion north carolina A lot of people have been opening their electric bills over the recent months and wondering if there’s a limit to how high they can go. Others are questioning how “clean” electricity really is. After all, since most of our electric supply is generated by coal-fired power plants, generating electricity is the second-largest creator of greenhouse gases in the United States.

So, it’s no surprise that many people are discovering that propane is a great option to power many of their home appliances and systems! It’s greener than electricity—and more efficient, too. , What’s more, is that converting to propane is actually quite easy. The average conversion takes about two days, with little disruption to your life or comfort. Here’s what you need to know about moving from electric heat to propane power.

It Starts with a Propane Tank

Converting your home to propane power—for heat or any other appliances—requires a propane storage tank on your property. To know what size tank you need, you need to know how you will use your propane. Is it just for cooking, for heating water, or heating your whole home?

There are a lot of variables to consider, but the pros at Thomas Brothers Oil and Propane can help you take the guesswork out of calculating the best size tank for your needs. Typically, residential tanks typically range from 100 gallons to 500 gallons, and we install tanks up to 1,000 gallons.

You also need to consider whether you want an above-ground or underground tank. There are advantages to both:

Whichever option is best for you, we’ll ensure the installation process simple and easy.

Propane Powered Appliances

If you want to heat your home with propane, you’ll need a propane furnace. But the great thing about propane is that it’s excellent for all kinds of other appliances that involve heat, too!

Ready to Switch? Call Thomas Brothers Oil and Propane Today!

Converting a home to propane is a straightforward, easy process that will leave you with lower energy bills and support a cleaner environment. The team at Thomas Brothers can answer all your questions and provide dependable propane delivery and service. We’re trusted by thousands of customers throughout North Carolina and southern Virginia.

Ready to make the switch to propane? Contact us today for more information.

4 Reasons a Propane Gas Log Set Is More Efficient Than Wood

gas fireplaces north carolina Nothing adds more cozy charm than a crackling fire. But as a source of supplemental heat, a wood-burning hearth is a lot of work. Logs, kindling, matches, smoke, and ash: What a mess…and what a hassle! It’s one reason many people have installed propane gas logs to replace their old-fashioned fireplace.

It’s easy to understand why. They love the convenience! Simply flip a switch and the flame goes on—or off—with no more worrying about smoldering embers or cleanup. But the biggest surprise for most customers is just how efficient a propane gas log hearth is compared to a wood fire.

Propane Logs Are as Versatile as They Are Efficient!

Fact: A propane fireplace runs at or around 80 percent efficiency. That makes it four to five times more efficient than a wood fireplace. Here’s why:

1. No Chimney. A big reason a propane gas log is more efficient than a wood fire is that it doesn’t need a chimney. A wood fire requires a chimney to burn safely, but in addition to pulling smoke and combustion gasses out of your space, as much as 90 percent of the heat is sucked up the chimney as well. What’s more, if your home is well sealed, you may need to crack open a window or use a vent, letting cold air in to ensure the fire has enough oxygen to burn.

On the other hand, a propane log set using direct venting only needs a single dual-chambered pipe directly through a wall to the outdoors. The pipe simultaneously draws air for the fire from the outdoors, while it expels the fire’s combustion byproducts to the outside.

Ventless models have a regulator that produces a fine gas-air mix that allows the gas to burn cleanly. You don’t even need a chimney or a flue! That means all the heat stays in the room, instead of going up and out the chimney.

2. Better Control. With today’s propane logs, a remote control and a thermostat let you dial up precisely the heat you want. This is great not only for controlling temperature, but for controlling your propane usage. Those electric igniters are also more efficient than a standing pilot light.

3. Better Heat. A propane gas log can come with a multispeed blower to push warm air into the room, providing better, more even heat—especially in great rooms and other larger spaces.

4. Less Work. Lastly, they let you spend time enjoying time with family and friends, not tending a fire—how efficient and valuable is that?

Looking for the Perfect Gas Log Set? Visit Thomas Brothers Today.

It’s easy to convert a traditional fireplace to a maintenance-free, efficient propane hearth with a gas log insert. Thanks to minimal space requirements between the fireplace and wallboard or wood, a gas hearth can be installed almost anywhere. That means you can incorporate cozy charm into just about any room, including living rooms and family rooms, but also kitchens and dining rooms.

Create your dream master suite or a spa-like bathroom escape, just by adding a gas fireplace!

Thomas Bros. sells and installs a great selection of propane hearth products from top manufacturers including Empire and Rinnai. Let our professionals show you how easy and affordable installing a gas fireplace or stove can be! Contact us for more information or stop by our Yanceyville, NC showroom today.

Improving Your Operations with the Help of Propane Solutions

bulk propane north carolina No matter what business you manage, the bottom line is always top of mind. Keeping your eye on efficiency, cost, and value is right up there with delivering a great product or service. And that’s exactly why you should know all the benefits of commercial propane.

Manufacturing, construction, warehousing, agriculture, landscaping, hospitality, and a broad range of other industries all rely on commercial propane. So, whether you need bulk propane for your business, or a cylinder exchange program, the experts at Thomas Brothers Oil and Propane can help you make the most of propane for your business here in North Carolina or Southern Virginia.

Why Choose Propane?

The reason propane is such a great fuel for commercial uses is that it’s so versatile. It can be used for heating, operating machinery, running vehicles, and more. Additionally, not only is propane better for the environment—it’s great for your bottom line.

Compared to other heating fuels, including electricity, propane:

Agricultural Propane Supply and Service Solutions

Propane delivers consistent heat ideal for warming livestock barns, hatcheries, and greenhouses, and it’s non-toxic, and can’t harm soil or groundwater. Clean-burning propane can power much of your landscaping and agricultural equipment, from commercial mowers to irrigation engines.

Propane puts less wear on equipment, keeping it out of the shop and keeping your operations running smoothly. Here are just a few pieces of equipment that can benefit from propane power:

Forklifts & Industrial Needs

Warehouse management, construction, and industrial facilities rely on forklifts. Let our team show you why propane-fueled forklifts will keep your operation running smoothly with less downtime! Here are just a few of the distinct advantages:

Propane’s versatility is a plus for your business or job site. In addition to forklifts, propane can be used to power a wide range of equipment, including:

Hospitality & Food Service

Professional chefs prefer gas for cooking. Hotels, hospitals, nursing facilities all benefit from propane for cooking, water heating and space heating, as well as for industrial washers and clothes dryers, just to name a few.

Looking for a Commercial Propane Partner? Choose Thomas Brothers!

We’re proud of our commercial partnerships that support businesses throughout North Carolina and southern Virginia. Thomas Brothers is committed to providing the same superb and attentive service to our commercial accounts as to our residential clients.

As a result, we are known for our customer service and a real understanding of your needs, and our commitment to providing our commercial clients with the most dependable commercial propane service in the area. Not only that, but we also have fair, transparent pricing to eliminate any unpleasant surprises that may have plagued you with your previous provider.

Contact us today for more information.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at Heating Your Home

propane heating north carolina As energy prices remain extremely volatile, a lot of folks are considering what exactly is the most efficient, effective way to heat their home. If your home heating equipment is new—meaning installed within the last 2 or 3 years—your best bet is to keep it. But if you are looking to replace an old system—a decade old or more—and considering your options, there are a few things to keep in mind, including cost, efficiency, dependability, and more. Most people in North Carolina are weighing their options between propane and electric heat.

Why Choose Propane Over Electricity?

Here’s why propane likely makes the most sense for your home:

What About Electric Heat Pumps?

Heat pumps are touted as an efficient way to cool and heat your home especially when central air is not an option. And they are great for cooling purposes. But when it comes to whole-house heating, they are noticeably less effective as a propane-powered furnace or boiler.

Why is that? Electric heat takes much longer to reach a comfortable temperature and maintain it—which in turn drives up your energy usage. That means, even without geopolitics driving energy costs up, electricity costs you more on a month-to-month basis, especially in the winter months when it’s coldest.

Because electric heat pumps rely on outdoor air, they become less able to keep your home warm the lower the temperature goes. If you’re still not convinced that propane is right for you home, consider the following facts and figures:

If You’re Choosing Propane…You Should Choose Thomas Brothers!

Whether you are looking to upgrade to a high-efficiency propane heating system or explore whether converting to propane makes sense for you, the experts at Thomas Brothers Oil and Propane can help. There’s a reason homeowners and businesses in both North Carolina and Southern Virginia rely on us for expert propane equipment installations and dependable propane delivery all year long.

We can help you make the right choice! Contact us today to learn more.

Get Familiar with How Propane Tank Monitors Work

propane monitor north carolina When you use propane inconsistently, whether it’s because you only use your house on weekends, or you run a rental property, you may use a lot of propane one month and less at other times. That makes it hard to use an automatic delivery algorithm to predict your needs. Even things like using your propane hearth more or less often can affect your use.

This is exactly why Thomas Brothers’ wireless propane tank monitoring service is a great solution. A wireless propane monitor will prevent runouts because it offers real-time accuracy and help provide precise, on-time propane tank refills.

How Does a Tank Monitor Work?

Wireless tank monitors track the level of propane in your tank in real time and transmit your usage to us via wireless cellular technology. When the tank gauge reaches a pre-set level, the monitor alerts us—and you—directly via a wireless mobile app. We can see exactly how much propane is in your tank and schedule a propane delivery at exactly the right time—not too early, not too late.

In addition to timely alerts, the app gives you even more control and insight. You can use it to easily track and adjust your monthly energy consumption which can help you better save on energy costs.

Even if you don’t use it to improve energy efficiency, a tank monitor can save you the expense and hassle of fuel runouts and take the guesswork out of knowing when to order fuel—especially if you’re ordering propane for a second property.

What Happens if I Run Out of Propane?

If you’ve never run out of propane, you don’t know what a hassle it can be. There’s the inconvenience, of course. There’s the cost of an emergency fill-up, plus a leak test for safety.

And, if you rely on propane for heat, you can add the potential for frozen pipes and the expense of that repair. If you lose heat and it’s cold enough, water in your pipes will start to freeze—and expand, resulting in cracks or breaks. A tiny crack of just an eighth of an inch will leak more than 250 gallons of water a day and a burst pipe will release a real flood.

Even if your tank doesn’t hit completely empty, you’ll experience some problems. When propane levels get too low, air can get into your system, which can lead to expensive damage. In general, you shouldn’t let your tank’s propane level go below 20% before scheduling a delivery.

Enjoy Propane Tank Monitoring from Thomas Brothers Today!

A wireless tank monitor is easy to install, and we can have you ready to go in a matter of minutes. Contact us today to find out more about the benefits of wireless tank monitoring and how we can get you set up—100% hassle-free.

We make It Easy to Keep Comfortable All Year Long

fireplace installation north carolinaNothing adds more cozy charm to a room than a crackling fire. Propane-fueled fireplaces add ambiance—and provide efficient supplemental heat without the mess, smoke, and ash of a wood-burning fireplace. And a gas log set or gas stove is much safer than traditional wood fires as well. No more playing with matches and waiting for tricky kindling to catch—you can turn on and adjust the flame with a wall switch or even a remote control and turn it off the moment you’re done.

Thomas Brothers makes it easy to add a freestanding gas fireplace or stove to virtually any room in your northern North Carolina or southern Virginia home!

Easy Installation, Endless Warmth, and Style

Thanks to direct vent and vent-free models, a gas stove or fireplace is easy to install—no chimney necessary. With direct venting, a gas fireplace can be vented directly through the wall to the outdoors through a single, dual-chambered pipe. The pipe simultaneously draws air for the fire from the outdoors, while it expels the fire’s combustion byproducts to the outside.

All that’s needed is access to propane or natural gas. And, because the space requirements between the fireplace and wallboard or wood are minimal, they can be installed almost anywhere.

That means you can incorporate the ambiance and warmth into just about any room, including living rooms and family rooms, but also kitchens and dining rooms. Create your dream master suite or a spa-like bathroom escape, just by adding a gas fireplace. You can also convert traditional fireplaces to a maintenance-free propane hearth with a gas log insert.

We Have Affordable Options from Empire & Rinnai

Whether you’re looking to make upgrades for yourself or to add value for a potential sale, adding a propane-fueled fireplace or stove is an easy and affordable option.

Thomas Brothers has a great selection of styles to complement any decor, from traditional to rustic to sleek and contemporary, as well as realistic propane logs. We also offer products from leading quality manufacturers such as Empire and Rinnai.

Extend the Summer with Propane Appliances, too!

Don’t let cooler weather prevent you from enjoying your backyard or patio. Thomas Brothers can also help you warm up your outdoor living space with a propane patio heater or firepit.

It’s an easy way to create a welcoming area to entertain friends and family long past summer, and even year-round.

We service and install everything we sell, so you can feel confident that all your equipment will be set up properly for safety, peak performance, and long life, and we stand by our work.

Contact us for more information today. We’ll show you just how easy and affordable installing a gas fireplace or stove can be.

A Fuel That Supports an Off-grid Lifestyle

off-grid power north carolinaMaybe you’re planning your dream home or a vacation hideaway well off the beaten path. Or perhaps you just want to be more self-sufficient, and less dependent on a local utility company. Whatever your motivation, off-grid doesn’t have to mean roughing it. These days, an off-grid lifestyle can include every convenience of modern living, thanks to the versatility and efficiency of propane.

Surprised? Propane is both clean-burning and abundant, making it a cost-effective home energy solution that can help lower energy bills whether you’re living on- or off-grid.

Building in a remote location can be desirable for all kinds of reasons but hooking up to electric and natural gas systems can cost thousands of dollars when you’re far from the main lines. Propane, however, can be safely stored right on your property in a tank perfectly sized and suited to your specific needs. Combined with other alternative and renewable energy sources like solar and wind, propane can transform off-grid living from extreme to extremely comfortable. Here’s how:

Propane is Incredibly Efficient

Propane generates more BTUs than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat or energy. Also, propane-powered appliances are in turn also very efficient, so they waste very little fuel in the combustion process.

Propane is Extremely Versatile

In addition to heating, propane is extremely efficient for powering a wide variety of appliances. When it comes to cooking, most chefs prefer the control that comes with a gas range. And propane water heaters generate much more hot water at a cheaper cost per gallon. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that heat water with propane rather than electricity can see average annual savings of $174.

The same technology that makes propane ideal for water heaters makes it a smarter choice than electricity to power all kinds of appliances that use hot water or heat:

Propane is Remarkably Safe and Reliable

For off-grid living, a propane-powered whole house generator provides the reliability and security other people get from the grid. A generator will kick on seamlessly when your solar or wind power is depleted. There’s no glitchy flickering, no brownouts.

Propane is Considerably Cleaner… and Greener!

When it comes to environmental impact, propane gas is a fantastic choice. It burns cleanly and produces minimal emissions. Propane also doesn’t harm soil or groundwater—an important factor in determining whether a fuel is “green.” Further, propane is also an American energy source. About 90% of the United States’ supply of propane is domestically generated. Most of it comes from the processing of natural gas.

Looking for a New Propane Tank or Supplier? Call Thomas Brothers!

Whether you’re looking to add a backup generator for your northern North Carolina or southern Virginia home or you’re interested in using propane for an off-grid property, the pros at Thomas Brothers Oil and Propane can answer all your questions.

Contact us today for more information.

10 Tips To Keep Your Family Safe

summer propane tips north carolinaWith searing temperatures already kicking in here in North Carolina, it’s important to remember that extreme heat can be dangerous for both people and pets. And while propane is a very safe fuel source to utilize year-round, extreme heat can cause pressure to increase in tanks. Keep these tips in mind to protect your family and home.

  1. Light colors serve a purpose. Propane tanks are required to be painted in light-reflective colors, such as white, grey, and silver. This helps them stay cool. Dark colors attract and retain heat, which can create a potentially hazardous situation.
  2. Make space. Don’t store things in direct proximity to your propane tank. And be sure that no flammable materials are within 10 feet of any propane tank or grill. That goes for twigs, leaves, and brush too.
  3. Spray it down. When the weather is extremely hot, use your garden hose to periodically spray your tank with cool water. This will help lower the pressure and temperature inside the tank.
  4. Check with the experts. When extreme heat is in the forecast, let your propane provider and other utility suppliers know if you suspect any issues with your tank or gas lies. Make sure you know how to turn off your propane supply, electricity, and water, and when to do it in case of an emergency.
  5. Keep a radio handy. In the event of a large-scale power outage, a battery-powered radio will help keep you informed in real-time.
  6. Lights out. If you lose power, turn off all the lights and appliances in your home to reduce damage from a power surge. Keep on small light turned on so you’ll know when power is restored.
  7. Use generators outside only. Generators keep essential appliances and keep food from spoiling. But they produce carbon monoxide (CO), which is a poisonous, odorless gas, and thus they should never be operated in an enclosed area. This includes basements, garages, sheds, or tents.
  8. Outdoor propane appliances must stay outside. The same is true for any propane appliance not specifically designed and approved for indoor use. Grills, patio heaters, space heaters, or similar should never be used indoors.
  9. Store safely. Never store or use portable propane cylinders indoors or in an enclosed area. Keep them outside, out of the sun, and away from other combustible materials.
  10. Alarm yourself. Be sure you know the smell of propane. It has an odor akin to “rotten eggs” to help alert you to potential leaks. Know what to do if you smell gas. Install UL-listed propane gas detectors and CO detectors in your home. They can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide or propane gas. Be sure to follow manufacturer instructions for installation.

The Local Propane Provider You Can Rely On

Your safety is important to us. If you need to turn off your propane for any reason, or if your propane tanks get damaged in any way due to extreme weather or just by accident, call us right away. We’ll do an inspection and make sure your system is safe. Don’t operate any appliances or equipment until we’ve checked it out!

Have questions or need more information? Contact us. Smell gas? Leave the area and then call 911 and call us.

Our Convenient Propane Payment Options Can Help!

propane payment options virginiaWe’re all familiar with the ongoing supply chain issues and geopolitical conflict that has led to higher prices across the board…not just for the oil and propane to fuel your home, but also at the gas pump and at the grocery store, too. While we can’t control prices at large, we’re always looking for ways to help you keep costs manageable. And we can tell you that customers who were enrolled in one of our pricing plans for propane were protected from the worst of the past winter’s price spikes.

We know every budget is different, and that’s why we offer multiple options. Read on to see how each works and discover the best option for you.

Our Monthly Budget Plan

This plan is always our most popular, even when fuel costs are low. That’s because our Monthly Budget Plan is a smart way to manage winter propane—and heating oil costs—and avoid unexpected high invoices, no matter how cold it gets or how much fuel you use.

We use an average based on your past propane or heating oil use to spread your costs evenly throughout the year. This helps to cut your winter bills nearly in half and make it easier for you to budget your expenses.

The point of the plan is to keep your fuel costs level and manageable, so if we have a particularly harsh winter or prices spike further, we’ll help adjust your payments, so you don’t get hit with a large balance in the summer. Likewise, if it’s a mild winter, we can adjust and reduce your payments. The point is to help you save while avoiding big fluctuations.

Our Capped Price Program

At the beginning of the season, we’ll set an agreed-upon cap price per gallon for your propane fuel. Your propane cost won’t ever go above that price. But if market prices fall, so will your price! 

When you opt for this plan, you can also enroll in our Automatic Delivery service, which delivers even more peace of mind. You don’t have to remember to monitor your gauges or order propane because we’ll take care of it automatically! That means you don’t have to worry about running out.

Ready to enroll? Click here to get started.

Whether you use propane, heating oil, or both, letting the pros at Thomas Bros. Oil and Propane handle all your heating needs is a smart choice. No matter what happens with prices next winter, our price protection plans are designed to help you keep costs manageable. If you’d like to sign up for a plan, now is the time to enroll. Contact us to learn about all the ways we can help you save!