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!

Mandatory Leak Checks Are All About Safety…It’s Also the Law.

propane leak testLife is hectic. It’s easy to lose track and forget to check your tank gauges or to order propane. While running out of propane can be a big inconvenience, it doesn’t seem like it should be a such big deal. That’s why customers often ask why we must perform—and charge them for—a safety check when they’ve let their propane tank hit empty. Can’t we just fill up the tank and be on our way? Not exactly.

The Necessity of Propane Leak Testing

It’s about safety. All propane piping and fittings are coated with a pipe-joint compound to seal connections and prevent leaks. But if the pressure changes in the lines—as happens when you run out of fuel—there is the possibility that the joint compound could contract and create a leak. While propane is completely safe under most conditions, it can be highly flammable, so leaking propane lines can be dangerous.

As a result, we perform a pressure test to make sure everything is operating safely when we refill your tank after a runout. These pressure tests are also required by state and federal law, as well as insurance rules. According to the National Fuel Gas code, a licensed professional must perform a leak test:

Avoiding a Runout

  1. The best way to avoid the hassle of runouts and the cost of a leak test is to sign up for our Automatic Delivery service. Thomas Bros. customers love this option because it’s 100% FREE to enroll and it makes propane deliveries so easy. We use our computer algorithms that track your fuel usage alongside the real-time weather conditions to accurately predict when to schedule your delivery…so you never run out.

    Another benefit of Automatic Delivery service? It helps us plan delivery routes for maximum efficiency, which helps us keep costs down for you!

  2. If your propane use isn’t very consistent, we can’t use our algorithm to predict your needs. Maybe you travel often, or it’s a second home or a rental property, which means your propane use fluctuates. That’s when the real-time accuracy of our Otodata wireless propane tank monitor is the best option.

    Wireless tank monitors track the level of propane in your tank in real-time and transmit your usage via wireless cellular technology. When the tank gauge reaches a pre-set level, the monitor alerts us—and you—directly via the wireless mobile app.

  3. You can opt for will-call propane deliveries, but you need to monitor your tank levels. Keep an eye on your tank, and call when you have NO LESS THAN A QUARTER TANK (25%) REMAINING. That ensures we can get you on the schedule and make a delivery in plenty of time. If you run out of propane, we will have to perform and charge you for a test.

Whether it’s reliable deliveries, prompt service, or smart ways to manage fuel costs, homeowners and businesses in Alamance, Caswell, Orange, Person, and Rockingham Counties in North Carolina, and Nottoway, Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Prince Edward in Virginia trust Thomas Bros. for a reason.

Contact us today to learn more.

This Helpful Device Can Save You Both Money and Hassle!

tank monitor installation north carolinaThere are a lot of reasons to consider adding a wireless tank monitor to your propane tank—and eliminating runouts is just the top of the list. Wireless tank monitors use wireless and cellular technology to monitor the level of propane in your tank in real-time. When the tank gauge reaches a pre-set level, the monitor alerts us—and you—directly, and we schedule a timely delivery! It really is that easy.

Now, if you’ve never run out of propane, you may not think it’s a big deal. But if your tank gets too low—or runs out completely—you’ll need to pay for professional assistance pressure tests to get your system back up and running again.

3 Reasons Why Tank Monitoring is a Must

Here are some other key reasons a tank monitor is a great choice to include alongside your existing propane services:

Safety

Why do you need a pressure test when you run out of propane? It’s about safety. When the pressure in your gas lines changes—as happens when you run out of fuel—there’s the possibility that the seals around pipe fittings could contract and create a leak. A leak test checks the integrity of these joints and seals.

While propane is completely safe under most conditions, it can be highly flammable, so leaking propane lines can be dangerous. That’s why pressure tests are also required by state and federal law, as well as insurance rules.

Flexibility

Without a tank monitor, our automatic delivery service relies on consistent usage patterns. Firing up the grill, fireplace, logs, and similar appliances can cause your propane use to vary with the weather or the season, making it hard to predict your actual usage.

And if you’re a will-call customer, a tank monitor frees you from having to watch your tank. The convenient app will alert you when it’s exactly the right time to schedule a fill-up.

Additionally, wireless propane tank monitors are also ideal for second homes and income properties. You can keep an eye on the propane supply without having to physically go there. And with our wireless tank monitoring app, you can even track multiple tanks—all in one easy-to-use interface.

Savings

With a complimentary wireless mobile app, you have even more control and insight! This user-friendly app allows you to check your tank monitor any time of the day or night to see your usage patterns day-to-day, as well as exactly how much fuel is in your tank at any given time.

The bottom line? A tank monitor offers peace of mind because you never have to worry about the hassle and costs of running out of propane, even if you’re a will call customer. Installation is quick and easy—we can have you set up and 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!

Dear Thomas Brothers Propane Customer,

We want to acknowledge the recent, alarming surge in energy prices. This is difficult for everyone and we want you to know we are here to help any way we can. If you need assistance or have any questions please contact us to discuss the best solution.