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Blue, Yellow, Orange…What Is Normal, and What’s Not?

propane flame color arizonaWhen you use your propane gas cooktop, you should always see a blue flame. That’s good, because it’s normal.

When the ratio of fuel to air is correct, there is enough oxygen for complete combustion of propane. Complete combustion results in a blue flame. This means that your propane is burning at its full heat, so you aren’t wasting any heat energy.

What a Yellow or Orange Flame Means

Orange or yellow propane gas flames give you a warning that your propane gas is not being completely burned. When these color flames occur on the burners of a propane cooktop, the cause is usually related to a burner being out of adjustment or blockages in the air inlet, such as from small, burnt food particles.

This results in decreased fuel efficiency. In complete combustion with a blue-colored flame, the temperature of a propane flame is 3,596° F. However, with a yellow or orange flame, the flame’s temperature decreases to 1,832° F. With only half the heat energy now at your disposal, you’ll probably notice difficulties caused by uneven temperature when cooking. For example, you likely won’t be able to achieve even browning or searing when cooking a meal.

This same inefficiency will result in higher energy bills if a yellow or orange flame is present in your home’s heating or water heating system. Who wants to wash clothes, cook, bathe, clean or heat your home using only half of propane’s power?

Even more importantly, yellow or orange flames can pose a safety risk. The incomplete combustion that causes these abnormal flames can lead to a carbon monoxide buildup in your home.

So, if you are seeing yellow or orange flames, or notice a build-up of soot or carbon around your burners, contact your propane service contractor as soon as possible and get the problem corrected.

More Safety Tips for Your Propane Gas Appliances

Propane is an extremely safe fuel, providing warmth and comfort in thousands of homes across Arizona. However, it’s always important that you pay attention to the operation of your gas appliances and make sure a proper maintenance schedule is always followed. You should always consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required. 

Having your appliances checked on a regular basis ensures safe and efficient operation. Besides making sure you get a professional evaluation of your appliances done, there are a number of safety tips you can follow on your own.

Here are just three, courtesy of the Propane Education and Research Council 

  1. Propane smells like rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Propane manufacturers add this smell to help alert customers to propane leaks. If you have someone living in your household with a diminished sense of smell (elderly relative, etc.), install a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security.

  3. If you need to move an appliance, contact your propane supplier or a trained professional to do this work. This is not a do-it-yourself task. You may inadvertently damage the gas connector. Older connectors can easily crack if twisted, which can lead to a gas leak. Plus, always remember that any time you disconnect and then re-connect an appliance, a leak-test must be performed to ensure that the fittings are secure. For the sake of safety, if you are renovating or otherwise need to move your gas appliances, please speak with your fuel supplier first. 
  4. Regularly check the outdoor vents of your appliances to make sure combustion gases flow unobstructed to the outdoors. Insects, birds, and small animals have been known to build nests in vent pipes. Use a broom (not a shovel) to remove any obstructions so you don’t cause any damage to the vents.

Please read more propane safety tips.

Your Propane Company Looks After You

Your professional Arizona propane company is strongly committed to training. This ensures that their employees know precisely how to deliver your fuel safely—and know what to do in case of a leak or other emergency. Many companies also have a well-trained force of certified propane technicians who have years of experience inspecting and servicing all types of propane appliances. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your propane appliances, please contact your local propane company and they will be glad to help.

gas fire pits arizona

While the smell and sounds of a wood-burning campfire may bring back cherished memories—especially roasting marshmallows—not only does burning wood pollute the air in a big way, but breathing in that smoky air can damage your health.

Troubling Facts About Wood Fires*

  • Most wood smoke particles are 2.5 microns or less in size, which is smaller than a human hair
  • The particles in smoke are tiny bits of solids and liquids made of wood that is not completely burned
  • When you breathe in wood smoke, you inhale the fine particles deep into your lungs
  • The particles contain toxic substances that can remain in your lungs for months, which lead to or exacerbate heart and lung disease.

That’s one of the reasons why propane gas powered fire pits are growing in popularity, especially for people living in areas where wood burning may be prohibited.

Propane Fire Pits Have Many Other Benefits

Propane fire pits are also much easier to clean, especially since there is no soot and ash buildup left behind after use.

And just for good measure, propane fire pits can generate plenty of heat to keep you and your family warm while you’re gathered outside on a chilly night.

Rustic Charm and Cooking Capabilities

Cleaner-burning propane gas fire pits can deliver the same rustic charm you love without the pollutants and clean-up chores of a wood-burning unit. Gas fire pits are available in a wide range of materials, styles and sizes, so it’s easy to find the right design for your backyard space.

And while propane gas fire pits are typically not designed for cooking, this doesn’t mean they can’t do the job when necessary. Unlike gas grills, however, propane fire pits don’t contain features such as food drip pans and easily cleanable cooking surfaces, so you will have to take some extra care if you cook anything over a propane fire pit.

But the right cooking tools and a thorough cleanup can make your propane fire pit a reliable option for a quick snack during your backyard gathering.

Taking Propane Indoors

Many people are taking the concept of choosing propane over wood inside their homes too. Old, little-used wood burning fireplaces are rapidly being converted to efficient and safe propane gas burning fireplaces. Other folks are installing a fireplace for the first time and choosing propane.

Propane hearths are available as built-in fireplaces, freestanding stoves, or sealed fireplace inserts that can be installed directly in your existing mantle. With that kind of flexibility, you can enjoy the benefits of a propane fireplace whether or not you have an existing fireplace feature.

Please reach out to your local propane company for advice about the benefits of choosing propane over wood.


propane tank installation arizona

You probably don’t think about your propane tank unless it’s time for delivery. But if you want to add propane appliances or you’re thinking about converting your home heat to propane, you need to talk with your local propane supplier about your tank size.

For example, if you have a 60-gallon tank now for minimal propane needs but want to install more gas appliances, you probably should upgrade to at least a 120-gallon tank. This tank size is ideal for homes using propane for such uses as stoves, clothes dryers and water heaters. If you want to add a propane fireplace and plan to use it a lot, you probably should opt for a larger tank. 

And if you’re planning to switch from another fuel to propane home heating, you should consider a 320- to 500-gallon tank. This lets you store the large amounts of propane that’s needed for whole-house heating.

Again, these are just examples. Your local Arizona propane provider has the knowledge and experience to help you select the right size propane tank specifically for your home.

With a propane tank for a home, deciding on the correct size is pretty simple, although there are some variables. Your Arizona propane supplier has knowledge of winter weather in your part of Arizona, so they’ll know what your propane heating needs are. Here are some of the other factors they will take into consideration:

  • the square footage of your home
  • what propane appliances you have in your home, such as heating, water heating, fireplaces, cooktop, stove, ovens or clothes dryer
  • the total BTUs of all of your propane appliances
  • whether you have a pool heater, as they are high BTU appliances

If you are concerned about price spikes in the propane market, you may want to get a larger propane tank. It also means you will require fewer deliveries. Your Arizona propane supplier can help you decide if that’s the right choice for you.

Depending on the size of your propane tank, you can also choose whether you want an aboveground propane tank or an underground propane tank.

Ready to add propane to your home and need a new propane tank? Contact your local Arizona propane supplier today!

propane safety arizonaYou can feel good about using propane in your home! Propane has always had an excellent safety record, due in large part to strict safety standards established by the National Propane Gas Association. Your propane company does its part as well, mailing out information that explains steps to take if you smell gas, as well as topics like propane gas detectors, carbon monoxide safety, general appliance safety tips and more.

Since June is National Propane Safety Month, this a perfect time to review some safety protocols.

What To Do If You Smell Gas

Don’t wait until you smell gas one day to figure out what to do about it in a safe manner. Please note that propane is an odorless gas, but propane manufacturers add an odor to alert homeowners in case of a gas leak. This smell has been compared to rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or even a dead animal. Make sure everyone in your home can recognize the smell. If you are concerned that you or others in your home may have difficulty smelling propane, consider installing one or more propane gas detectors. 

Here’s what to do (and what not to do) if you smell propane in your home or business:

  • DO get everyone out of the home and away from nearby areas.
  • DO attempt to shut off the valves at the tank if it is safe to do so.
  • DO call your propane supplier and the fire department once you are safe location away from the source of the gas leak.
  • DO NOT attempt to find the leak.
  • DO NOT attempt to repair your appliance or relight your pilot.
  • DO NOT turn on or off light switches inside the home.
  • DO NOT use a phone inside the home or in nearby areas.
  • DO NOT light matches anywhere inside or near the home.
  • DO NOT return to the building or area until it is determined to be safe by the responders.

Read more about dealing with gas leaks by going here.

Don’t Neglect Your Propane Appliances

To stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your gas appliances. The best way to keep all your propane equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required. Here are a few issues you need to keep in mind.

  • When gas appliances operate properly, propane burns with a blue flame. If you see yellow flames—or notice significant amounts of soot on any equipment–the gas may not be burning completely. This can create carbon monoxide. Contact your propane company or HVAC contractor for service if you notice a yellow flame or soot on your appliances.
  • Regularly check the outdoor vents of your appliances to make sure combustion gases flow unobstructed to the outdoors. Insects, birds and small animals have been known to build nests in vent pipes. To prevent any damage, use a broom or a soft brush to gently remove any obstructions you find in your vents.

You can read more safety tips here.

propane grill cleaning arizonaIn our previous blog, we reviewed some safety reminders so you can enjoy an accident-free barbecue season in your backyard. We want to continue this focus on grill safety by taking a deep dive on how to clean your grill in a thorough way.

Be prepared: this is not about doing a few scrapes across your grill with a wire brush. Of course, you should always use a grill brush to scrape off any food residue every time after you finish cooking. This will help avoid flare-ups. But we’re talking here about a deep cleaning.

You should invest some time to do this at least once a year—or more if you use your grill a lot. This will keep it running properly and safely. (About half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns that could have been avoided.)

As you’re cleaning your grill, don’t forget to make sure your propane cylinder has enough propane. It’s always a good idea to have a back-up cylinder on hand in case you do run out. Your propane company may be able to connect your grill to the main propane tank so you can stop worrying about running out of fuel while you’re in the middle of grilling.

What You Need To Clean Your Grill

You don’t need any high-tech tools to do a thorough job of cleaning a propane grill from top to bottom. All you need are some basics: rubber gloves, aluminum foil, a grill brush, and a large bucket of hot and soapy water. Dish soap is recommended.

  • Make sure all the grill burners are off and that the dials are in the “OFF” position.
  • Turn off and disconnect the propane tank. If you’ve just finished grilling, wait until the grill is barely warm before doing this.
  • Take out the grease trap and turn it upside down over a trash can so it can drip.
  • Put on the rubber gloves and remove the grates as well as the burner protectors under them. Put the grates and burner protectors in the bucket of hot, soapy water for a good soak. Put the grease trap in as well.
  • Use aluminum foil to cover the burner tubes and other heating elements. Then thoroughly clean the underside of the hood and the inside walls. Wipe dry with paper towels.
  • Take the grates, burner protectors, and grease traps out of the bucket and clean those. Rinse well.
  • Take the foil off the burner tubes and gently wipe the tubes.
  • Carefully check burner holes with a toothpick to dislodge any clogs. Replace the burner covers, grates and grease trap.
  • Clean the grill exterior with a manufacturer-recommended cleaner.

Please visit this page to read more information and tips on overall propane safety.

gas grill safety arizona

If you’re an expert with cooking on a propane grill, you already know about how terrific its precise control of heat can be. By just turning the dial, you can instantly add or reduce heat. When you want to go from medium heat for corn on the cob to high heat for a quick-searing steak, you’re fully in control. Propane can do that–charcoal can’t!

But before you get down to some serious grilling this spring, we urge you to read the safety tips below so you can prevent fires, burns, and other accidents. Nothing ruins a cookout like a trip to the emergency room or having to ask the fire department to come to your rescue.

Inspect Your Grill

While cleaning your grill at the start of the season, give your grill a thorough inspection. If you suspect a leak, do the following:

  • make sure the gas is shut off
  • mix equal parts of water and liquid detergent in a container
  • spray some of this soapy solution on your propane cylinder and hose connections
  • turn the gas on slowly
  • if bubbles appear where you sprayed the solution, you probably have a gas leak.
  • make sure the tank’s connections are tight and repeat the test.

Reasons for leaks include damaged or rusted grill hoses or gas cylinders. Any of these situations require service by a propane grill expert. You should never try to fix a gas leak—on your grill or anywhere else—by yourself.

Keep Your Grill In A Safe Location

You most likely know that a propane grill is for outdoor use only. But here’s a reminder. Using your grill indoors, even in the garage, is not only a fire risk but it can create a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.

Additionally, your grill needs to be on a flat, level surface to prevent it from tipping over.
Give your grill a wide clearance from anything combustible, including the house, siding, rails, and furniture. Also, don’t place it near windows. Once you have started your grill, don’t move it. You could get burned and moving it could dislodge a burner tube or other parts in the grill.

More Safety Tips For Your Grill

  • Keep the lid open when starting the grill to prevent gas from building up under the closed lid and causing a flash burn.
  • Never leave your grill unattended when using it. Use the social distancing rule when it comes to your grill and children or pets: keep them at least six feet from your grill.
  • Clean your grill regularly to keep grease from building up on the burners or base of the grill, as that will create a fire hazard.
  • Once you are finished grilling, turn off the all the burners on the grill and turn off the propane supply at the propane cylinder.

If you have any questions about safety for your propane grill, or if you want to learn more about your options in new outdoor grills, please contact your local propane company and they will be glad to provide advice.

You can read more propane safety tips here. Here’s to a happy and safe grilling season!

generator installation arizonaAlthough electric utility companies always prepare for peak summer demand in Arizona—which doubles the strain put on our power grid than any other time of the year—at some point a power outage is going to happen. Many of these outages are blamed on equipment failure.

Needless to say, the fragile electric infrastructure in our country has failed us time and again, causing massive disruption, frustration, and discomfort. We’ve all followed the tragic, widespread power outages that occurred in Texas recently. And we’ve all experienced a number of uncomfortable power outages in our own area over the years.

While some people keep gasoline-powered portable generators in their garage for power outage emergencies, these units have the capacity to deliver only a limited amount of power. They can also be dangerous if not vented properly.

On the other hand, a whole-house backup propane generator allows you to enjoy all the comforts of home whenever power is disrupted.

Get Your Power Back In Seconds

Permanently installed–similar to an outdoor A/C unit–and supplied by a propane tank, your propane generator will start automatically within 10-30 seconds of the power going out. Propane generators are available in a variety of capacities to fit the needs of any size home in Arizona.

Protect Your Comfort

With a propane whole-house backup generator, you’ll get through a summer outage with your air conditioning keeping the house cool. If you lose power in the winter, your home will stay at a safe, warm temperature so you’ll be comfortable.

Protect Your Loved Ones

Is there someone in your home who relies on medical equipment such as oxygen, home dialysis, or an electric wheelchair? A propane whole-house backup generator keeps their vital equipment running.

Protect Your Food

Some of the foods in your refrigerator can begin to spoil in just a few hours after the power goes out. You could end up throwing out hundreds of dollars’ worth of food–from your refrigerator and freezer–without a propane whole-house backup generator.

Protect Your Electronics

A backup generator powers your laptop, phone, TV, gaming system and more. You can work safely from home; you and your family will stay entertained, and you can stay connected with loved ones and the world outside as you await updates on restored power.

If you don’t have a propane generator yet and would like to explore your options, reach out to your propane company. If they don’t install generators, they can probably refer you to someone who does.

propane fireplace arizonaThinking about converting your old wood fireplace into a high-efficiency propane fireplace instead?

One question that homeowners will usually contemplate is this: how much propane will my new propane fireplace use? As a general rule, a propane fireplace uses about one gallon of propane for each 100,000 BTU. So if you install a propane fireplace that is rated 50,000 BTU, you’ll be using about one gallon of propane for every two hours that it’s in use.

To put this into perspective, think about the expense and all of the work you need to put into operating your wood burning fireplace. You’ll probably be delighted by how much easier and inexpensive it is to have propane fireplace in your Arizona home. With a fireplace that runs on propane gas, you’ll never have to get up and put another log on the fire or get stuck with the task of discarding ashes.

Converting A Wood Burning Fireplace To Propane

Today’s propane hearths are available as freestanding stoves, built-in fireplaces, and sealed fireplace inserts that can be installed directly in your existing mantle. And they give you all the warmth and comfort of a wood fireplace without the drawbacks, and with some great benefits that you just can’t get from a wood-burning hearth.

Whether or not you have an existing fireplace, you can enjoy the benefits of a propane hearth in your home with these advantages.

Convenience: A propane hearth gives you warmth and a beautiful glow whenever you want it. And most of today’s propane hearths come with thermostats and remote controls. You’ll be able to control the heat and the flame intensity from the comfort of your sofa.

Versatility: A propane fireplace or freestanding stove not only exudes charm, it’s also a heat source that will keep your living space warm even when the power is out.

Efficiency: A propane fireplace runs at around 80 percent efficiency. That makes it four to five times more efficient than a wood fireplace. That’s because as much as 90 percent of the heat produced by a wood-burning fireplace goes straight up the chimney! Did you ever notice how cold a room becomes when a wood fire begins to burn out? It’s because all the heat in the room is being drawn out the chimney!

Health impact: You may think that wood smoke smells good, but it’s really not that good for your body. Fine particles, also known as fine particulate matter, are the greatest health threat from a wood fire. These microscopic particles can create respiratory problems and other issues. You don’t get these health risks with propane.

Environmentally-friendly: When we say a propane fireplace is better for the environment, we mean it. A wood-burning fireplace emits up to 4,000% more emissions than a propane-fueled fireplace!

Innovations In Propane Fireplaces

Fireplace inserts with blowers: If you have an open-concept kitchen-living dining area, or any other large space to heat, the multispeed blowers push warm air to the far corners of a room, providing better and more even heating.

Masonry fireplace refinishing: With a propane fireplace insert, you can update the style of your existing fireplace without a lot of expense.

More realistic flames: Better gas burner technology means more realistic flames that flicker and dance, just like a wood fire.

Once you get your new propane fireplace installed, count on your propane provider to keep you well-supplied so you can always keep your home fires burning.

Don’t stop with fireplaces! Read more about all of the other benefits of propane.

propane appliances arizonaBy fully embracing propane, home builders can provide their clients with greater comfort and efficiency. If you’re a construction professional looking for a way to stand out from the competition and grow your business in Arizona, remember: propane can do that.

Propane Home Benefits

  • Builder friendly. You can put propane to work anywhere, independent of the grid. Propane appliances also give you flexibility when creating your design plans.
  • Meeting demand. Homeowners prefer the performance of gas appliances. All-gas homes are typically valued up to five percent higher than all-electric homes. Read why propane is the cleaner, more efficient choice in Arizona.
  • Building green. Installing high-efficiency appliances significantly reduces a home’s total energy consumption, helping builders meet IECC, Zero Net Energy, and other above-code standards.

By choosing to build an all-propane home, builders can help their clients enjoy greater comfort while saving money on energy costs. The all-propane home has grown so popular that there is a model known as the Propane Energy Pod, which merges five applications of propane into an integrated whole-house energy package:

1. Heating Your Home With Propane

A high-efficiency propane furnace offers all the warmth you need, even during the coldest days and nights. Propane furnaces last up to 50% longer than electric units. Additionally, high-efficiency direct-vent propane space heaters can provide zone heating to the most used rooms in your living space—and you won’t have to rely as much on your primary furnace.

2. Water Heating With Propane

Propane water heaters offer a hot water recovery rate that’s about twice as fast as electric models, which means there’s little chance of running out of hot water! Propane water heaters also take up less space, have more accurate temperature adjustment and offer more size and installation options. Read more about propane water heaters.

3. Cooking With Propane

With superior heat distribution and better temperature control than electric stoves, propane gas ovens, stoves and ranges are preferred by the vast majority of professional chefs. When you adjust the heat levels on a propane stove, the result is instant. On an electric stove, it takes longer for the temperature to heat up or cool down. Propane stoves can also be used even if you lose power.

4. Clothes Drying With Propane

Quickly reaching the required temperature to dry clothes evenly, propane dryers operate for about half the cost of electric dryers. Clothes see less wear and tear as a result of the moist heat of propane dryers, and your propane dryer’s moisture-sensing controls will automatically shut it off at the right time.

5. Extra Warmth And Ambiance With A Propane Fireplace

Offering a higher efficiency level than other sources of energy, propane gas fireplaces are great for inside or out. You’ll get double the heat as wood fireplaces but spend about one-third the money. You’ll also enjoy about six times the heating capacity of an electric fireplace. Like propane stoves and cooktops, propane fireplaces will continue to operate during power outages.

Learn more about using propane in residential construction.

propane tank gauge reading arizona
The last thing you need is to run out of propane, especially if you rely on this versatile fuel to heat your home and/or hot water. If you’re like many people who are working from home now, it’s safe to assume you will be using more propane than you did last winter. Here’s a brief review about what you should know about checking your propane tank gauge.

First, look for a round dial (like a clock face) on your cylinders or tanks. Often, the dial is under the lid of the cylinder or tank, although sometimes it’s located on the top of a cylinder.
Next, see what number the hand is on. That number is the percentage (not the gallon count) of propane in your cylinder or tank.

How Many Gallons Of Propane Are Left?

Multiply the capacity of the cylinder or tank by the percentage. For example, if you have a 120-gallon cylinder and the gauge reads 70%, multiply 120 x .70. This equals 84 gallons.
If the gauge reads 30% or less on your tank or cylinder, you should arrange for a delivery from your local propane company.

If you’re having trouble reading your gauge or don’t know the capacity of your storage, contact your local propane company for assistance.

Propane Tank Gauges Should Never Read 100%

Your delivery driver needs to leave extra space in your tank to allow for propane to safely expand. Aboveground propane tanks are typically filled to about 80 percent capacity; underground tanks can be filled slightly higher because they are insulated against the heat. The extra space in the tank provides a cushion against the pressure that builds up in a tank. As an example, a 500-gallon tank filled to 80% will safely hold 400 gallons of propane.

This is known as the “80/20 rule.” It’s especially important in hot weather—when liquid propane will expand the most. If you notice that the tank gauge reading fluctuates during quick temperature swings (hot days, cool nights), don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. Also keep in mind that the amount of gas in the tank doesn’t actually change during periods of expansion and contraction–only its density does.

Propane gas expansion is also a reason why you should never paint your outdoor propane tank a dark color, since dark colors absorb more heat.

Preventing Run-outs

How often you need to schedule deliveries depends on frequency of use. If you use propane every day, you will see a pattern for when you will need more. Your propane company can tell you, based on your number of appliances and estimated use, how often you will need deliveries.

If this is the case, they may be able to put you on an automatic delivery schedule. Their computer system tracks how much fuel your home will typically use. They will then deliver fuel automatically to you, usually when your tank gets to be 25-30% full. The result: no more run-outs and no more wasting time calling for a delivery.

If you already get automatic deliveries, please let your propane company know if your heating habits have changed so they can adjust their delivery projections. This ensures your delivery schedule will remain accurate and you will still get your fuel before you run too low.

If you have any questions about your propane deliveries, please reach out to your local propane company.