Are You Familiar with Propane’s Benefits and Versatility?

propane appliances There’s so much to consider when building or buying a new home. Some things are subjective and personal—such as architectural style—but others are more practical that can affect your bottom line, as well as your day-to-day comfort. Choosing appliances is one of those.

Of course, appearance and features are part of the decision, but so is efficiency. Along with that, it’s whether they’re powered by electricity versus propane.

Why Power My Appliances with Propane?

Propane—isn’t that for grills? Yes, but it’s also an incredibly versatile and efficient option for running a wide range of equipment and appliances in your home—including heating systems!

In areas where electric heat tends to be more common, people are often surprised at the benefits that propane offers. In fact, propane is one of the cleanest, most versatile, and efficient fuels around. Propane offers exceptional performance and efficiency in a wide range of home appliances at a much lower cost than electricity.

If you’ve never lived in a propane-fueled home before, you might be surprised to know all the benefits. Let’s detail those for you below:

Your Energy Options: Propane vs Electricity

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 appliances are incredibly energy efficient, so they waste very little fuel in the combustion process. On the other hand, generation of electricity is the second-largest creator of greenhouse gases in the United States. Why is that? It’s because most of our electricity supply is generated by coal-fired power plants. In fact, only the transportation sector creates more greenhouse gases.

Because propane is so 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. 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.

Propane Can Power Several Popular Appliances

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, including:

  • Clothes Washers and Dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Outdoor Lighting
  • Patio Heaters
  • Pool and Spa-Tub Heaters
  • Outdoor Grills
  • Cooking Ranges

Propane: It’s Cleaner and Greener!

When it comes to environmental impact, propane gas is one of the cleanest and efficient fuels around. It burns cleanly and produces minimal carbon emissions. Another important factor when it comes to evaluating whether a fuel is “green” …propane also doesn’t harm soil or groundwater.

Further, did you know 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—which is considered a greenhouse gas when burned. Propane, however, is not considered a greenhouse gas.

Dependable, Accessible Supply

One of the biggest reasons people prefer using propane gas for home heating and water heating is that they know they will always have propane when they need it most. That type of security is invaluable!

When you use propane, your supply is delivered and stored in a tank on right your property, so you’ll always have it right on-hand. Compare that to the reliability of Texas’s energy grid in the face of extreme weather and the additional challenges posed by a complete switch to electricity. At the same time, natural gas companies continue to struggle with severe cold, and we only narrowly avoided the outages experienced in the wake of winter storm Uri in 2018.

And consider this, too. 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. Now that’s peace of mind!

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, propane delivers more bang for your buck, all while protecting the environment. It’s a win-win for homebuyers—and builders—who care about the environment, but also want to keep costs under control.

Locally, the professionals at Pico Propane and Fuels have the knowledge, experience, and resources to answer all your questions about the benefits of a propane-powered home. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services—including delivery, appliance sales, tank sets, installations, and more!

Pico Will Get You Ready for Grilling Season!

grill tank refill While some say BBQ season never ends in Texas, it’s undeniably true that the spring season will be here sooner than you think—are you ready for the cookouts to come?

If you need a propane refill station near you that offers propane when you need it most—especially one that also offers affordable prices—as well as no lines, we’re here to help.

Whether you need a cylinder refill or outright exchange, or you want to pick up an extra propane grill tank so you always have a spare, Pico Propane and Fuels is happy to help you with our convenient propane services.

We’ve got multiple locations for fast, convenient tank refills and exchanges across Texas and New Mexico. Just click the link here to see where they’re located.

Quick Facts About Refilling Your BBQ Tank

Here’s some quick tips and things you need to know before you stop by:

1. Do You Need a Refill?
It’s likely been a while since you last fired up the grill, and even longer since you refilled your tank. If there’s no gauge, you can use a scale to see exactly how much fuel you have left.

Look for the tare weight (TW) stamped on the handle. This is the weight of your tank when empty. Weigh your tank and subtract the tare weight to know how many pounds of propane are in your tank. The average grill uses 1.5 pounds of propane an hour at medium high.

2. How to Remove and Re-Insert Your Tank
Ready to bring your tank in for a fill-up? It’s easy to remove your tank! First, make sure your grill is switched off, and the tank valve is closed (turn it all the way to the right, until it’s tight.)

Next, unscrew the grill pressure regulator by turning it to the left. Some grill models also have a restraining bolt. Just loosen it and remove the tank. To reconnect, follow those steps in reverse. Be sure the tank valve is closed when you reconnect the pressure regulator.

3. Tank Transportation Safety
Your safety is important to us, so follow these rules when transporting your refillable cylinder:

  • Full cylinders must be transported in an upright position. Make sure they are secure, whether inside the vehicle, in the trunk or in the bed of a pickup.
  • Never leave a full cylinder in your car for any length of time, especially in direct sunlight.
  • No more than four 40-pound cylinders, and no tank larger than 40 pounds, can be transported inside the vehicle.

We won’t fill tanks that are damaged or show signs of corrosion or are very rusty. If you need a new portable tank, we can help you there too. We can also recertify your tank if it’s more than 12 years old—as all tanks also need to be certified and pass a U.S. Department of Transportation checklist. You can also eliminate any hassle and swap out your empty tank for a new one whenever you need a fill-up.

We Can Help You Upgrade Your Grill

If you’ve been thinking your grilling game is ready for an upgrade this season, now’s the time to get set up to make outdoor gatherings fun and easy! Whether you’re looking to create a deluxe outdoor kitchen and entertaining space, or just need to replace your old grill, we’ve got plenty of options when it comes to helping you add some new sizzle to your deck or patio. We can also help run lines for a permanent outdoor kitchen setup.

Have questions about our propane cylinder refill stations? Contact us today. We’ll be glad to help—and point you to the location closest to you.

Is Your Home Prepared Ready for Outages or Extreme Weather?

generator installation texas When the weather gets wild and power lines go down…are you prepared? After all, Texas, and New Mexico each get their fair share of thunderstorms in summer. This comes alongside hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, and, more frequent lately, stretches of extreme cold that challenge the electrical grid. Each of these are contributing factors that are leading to a big increase in generator installations across the region.

Why Choose a Propane-Powered Generator?

Installing a whole-house propane generator truly is a power move when it comes to protecting your family and your property. Also called stand-by generators, they are connected right to your home’s energy supply, so they go on within seconds of a power failure—even if you’re not home.

Here are 14 great reasons to protect your home and family with a whole-house generator powered by propane gas:

  1. You can opt for “essential power” models that will run select, essential equipment such as your refrigerator, heat and a few lights, or a specific part of your home, like the kitchen. You can also choose a larger, whole-house generator that can manage the demands of most 2,500+ sq.ft. homes, even during extended outages.
  2. An average 5000-watt stand-by generator will run for one to two days on a 100-gallon propane tank. A 500-gallon tank would keep the same generator running for 7 to 10 days. If you’re interested in installing a generator of your own, we’re able to help find you the perfect propane tank to coincide with it!
  3. Propane generators are quiet, extremely efficient, and clean burning, with low emissions.
  4. A stand-by generator keeps security systems on to protect your property even if no one is home.
  5. Essential, in-home medical equipment keeps running in case of an emergency.
  6. Power for your heat or air conditioning, water, lights, stove, and refrigerator mean you can shelter in place during an extended outage.
  7. Did you know having a back-up generator can lower home insurance costs? Many insurance plans will offer discounts on your homeowner’s insurance plan if you install a standby generator.
  8. Refrigerated food can start to go bad after only four hours without power—and that’s if you don’t open the fridge. Frozen food can last only slightly longer. With a standby generator, your food is kept safe, and you don’t have to worry about lines at stores to get replacement supplies.
  9. During an extended outage, “camping” at home stops being “fun” quickly. The cost of a hotel room—if you can find one—is an expense you can avoid with a standby generator.
  10. A generator that keeps your heat on can protect you from frozen and burst pipes, and repairs that can cost up to $10,000 or more in the worst-case situations.
  11. With a whole-house generator, there’s no longer the need to wrestle a portable generator out of the garage and get it set up in cases of emergency. This keeps everyone better protected, rather than having to deal with refueling, possibly in the dark or in treacherous conditions.
  12. According to Consumer Reports, a properly installed whole-house generator can increase the value of your home by as much as 5%. That’s a great return on your investment, even before you even need to use it.
  13. A portable generator is less expensive out of the box, but it can cost you a lot more in the long run. Just keeping it full during an extended outage will add up quickly, not to mention potentially having to wait on long lines for more fuel. With a whole-home generator, Pico can keep your tank full without hassle thanks to our Keep-Full Delivery Program!
  14. Automatic turn-on means you have peace of mind of knowing that your home and loved ones will be safe, even if you aren’t home when the power goes out.

Looking to Install a Generator? Call Pico Propane and Fuels Today!

A power outage lasting any longer than an hour or two can quickly shift from inconvenience to crisis. A propane generator will keep your home and family safe, while saving you money and adding value to your home, too.

The professionals at Pico Propane and Fuels can help you from selecting the perfect model Generac generator, to installation, and fueling. We have the experience and training to connect the lines to a new or pre-existing propane tank, so it powers up your home without damaging your home’s electronic equipment or appliances. And we can provide you with safe and reliable propane delivery for years to come.

Contact us today for more information.

A Quick Guide to Understanding This Cleaner, Greener Fuel

biodiesel texas If you operate a diesel fleet, you know that efficiency and power are the key advantages of diesel over regular gasoline when it comes to heavy duty commercial vehicles. Additionally, the average diesel engines tend to last longer and require less maintenance over their lifespan—even as they handle bigger loads.

Now, much like gasoline, diesel is made from refined crude oil, but it is less flammable and less volatile than gas and delivers a lot more power. So, what’s the deal with biodiesel? How does it work in comparison? Here’s what you need to know:

What Is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a fuel made from renewable, green resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil, and animal fats that are processed with alcohol to form methyl esters and glycerin. It is then blended with a small amount of regular diesel, to improve cold-weather performance.

B20 (20% biodiesel/80% petroleum diesel) biodiesel is the most common blend from a performance and cost perspective.

Understanding the Benefits of Biodiesel

  1. You can use biodiesel blends such as B20 in any engine that runs on diesel fuel. No additional modifications are necessary.
  2. It’s better for engines. Biodiesel increases the cetane number of the fuel, which means the engine is easier to start and reduces ignition delay. It also has improved lubricity. That means it reduces friction and slows wear on moving parts, helping them last longer and keeping vehicles out of the shop and on the road.
  3. There’s virtually no difference in performance or mileage. Engines operating on B20 biodiesel have similar fuel consumption, horsepower and torque to engines running on 100% petroleum diesel. Many B20 users report no noticeable difference in performance or fuel economy. Biodiesel also has some emissions benefits, especially for engines manufactured before 2010.
  4. It’s domestically produced and renewable.
  5. Low emissions help improve air quality.
  6. It’s safer to handle, store and transport than regular diesel or gasoline.

Making Business Easier for You

Choosing biodiesel is a smart choice for vehicle performance, as well as environmental impact. When you depend on every truckload of diesel fuel for the success of your business, that fuel is more than just a line item in your budget. Whether you opt for standard diesel or biodiesel—or both, the experts at Pico Propane and Fuels are ready to make sure you have the supplies you need, when you need them.

Our commercial and business partnerships are important to us, and that’s why we strive to deliver real value that goes beyond competitive prices.

Our friendly, knowledgeable staff has fuel management expertise that takes the stress and guesswork out of commercial fuel deliveries. We’ve got the experience to understand your needs and help you plan, schedule, and manage your fuel deliveries. We can also help you track your fuel usage to reduce waste and improve efficiency. And we can work with you to plan a fueling station right at your business or job site, too.

We’re always here to take your call. Contact us today to find out how we can make doing business easier for you.

The Greater San Antonio area is expected to experience increasingly cold temperatures over the next 48 hours. For real-time information, please visit: www.weather.gov.

We anticipate the potential for delays in completing propane deliveries our areas as we prioritize our emergency service requests. In case of emergency, please contact: 844-427-7426.

If you’re currently running low on gas—at or less than 25% full—please contact your local Pico Propane and Fuels office to let us know as soon as possible to schedule a delivery and avoid any potential issues.

Remember to NEVER use outdoor, fuel-burning appliances indoors or in enclosed areas.

For Quality Installations…Call the Professionals at Pico!

gas appliance installation texas You may be able to install your new ultra-HD smart TV without the help of Best Buy’s Geek Squad. You may be able to restore the engine on a ’77 Pontiac Firebird. You may be a whiz at fixing a dripping faucet. But when it comes to gas appliance installation, unless you’re a licensed technician, this is NOT a project to show off your DIY skills.

Here’s why you should always call a professional to install propane systems and appliances in your home.

Safety is the Top Priority

Safety is the main reason to hire a professional to install a gas appliance in your home. Improper installation of equipment can result in a propane leak, amongst other issues.

While propane is extremely safe, it’s a highly flammable gas under certain conditions. In the case of a leak, gas can accumulate in enclosed areas and any spark could set it off. Sparks can be caused by tools on metal, as well as flipping switches, lighting matches, using the phone, thermostats, or appliances.

Make sure everyone in your home knows what to do when they smell gas.

Gas Appliances Are Not “Plug-and-Play” Devices

Even if you are replacing an existing gas appliance, installation is not as simple as plugging it in and turning it on. The appliance may require the installation of a new vent pipe or flue or connection to an existing one.

Furthermore, proper ventilation is essential for safety, and there are specific codes for venting different appliances in different environments. Improper venting can result in poor performance as well as the potential for deadly carbon monoxide buildup.

Pressurized Systems Require Caution and Care

If the appliance is new to the home, a pipeline will need to be fitted or extended to accommodate the new item. This is a job for a professional who understands the way propane systems work.

The propane in your tank is highly pressurized, and your system uses a regulator to decrease the pressure as it enters your home. The pressure settings are different for natural gas than for propane and when the regulator is set incorrectly, it can lead to a gas leak. That’s true whether the pressure is too high or too low. The problems that result when pressure is too low are why we are required to do a pressure test after you have a runout.

In addition to moderating the pressure, the regulator helps maintain the correct ratio of propane and air to burn correctly. Modifications or repairs performed by a nonprofessional can result in the wrong ratios. When appliances are burning propane incorrectly, they can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

The Bottom Line: Call the Professionals at Pico for Your Gas System Repairs!

A DIY repair job could void your warranty—or even your insurance. In some cases, installation work done without a license could even be deemed illegal. That could cost you a lot more than whatever you think you might be saving by trying to install a new appliance yourself.

Our team of in-house technicians is trained and licensed to install all types of propane appliances and equipment safely and correctly. We’re here for you with quality workmanship and transparent and fair pricing.

Whether you need a system installation or safe and dependable propane delivery, contact the professionals at Pico Propane and Fuels today.

Enjoy Warmth, Comfort, and Energy Savings with Propane Gas Logs!

gas fireplaces texas 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, too! It’s, in many cases, the main reason many people have installed propane gas logs to replace their old-fashioned fireplaces.

After all, it makes sense. They love the convenience! All you must do is flip a switch and the flame goes on—or off—without worrying about smoldering embers or cleaning up afterward. But the big surprise for most customers is how efficient a propane gas log hearth is compared to a wood fire.

Fact: A propane fireplace operates at or around 80 percent efficiency. That makes it four to five times more efficient than a wood fireplace!

How is a Propane Fireplace So Efficient at Heating?

A big reason a propane gas log is more efficient than a wood fire is the chimney—or lack thereof. A wood fire needs 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 insert 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. Similarly, 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.

Propane Logs are Efficient in Other Ways, Too.

With a wood fire, you admittedly don’t have a ton of control. Without constant attention, adding logs and poking embers, your fire dies down and your room gets cold. With today’s propane logs, a remote control and a thermostat lets you dial up the heat you want—which is great not only for precisely controlling temperature but for controlling your propane use. Further, those electric igniters are also more efficient than a standing pilot light.

Another feature you don’t get with a wood fireplace are multispeed blowers that push warm air into the room, providing better, more even heat—especially in great rooms and other larger spaces.

Lastly, they let you spend time enjoying time with family and friends, not tending a fire. There’s countless value you can chalk up to that!

Easy, Versatile Propane Gas Logs—Let Pico Propane and Fuels Help You Install a Set 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!

Let the team at Pico Propane and Fuels show you how easy and affordable installing a gas fireplace can be. We service and install everything we sell, and we stand by our work. Contact us for more information, or visit our propane appliance showroom in Bergheim, Texas today!

Over the holidays, special operating hours are in effect at the following Pico Propane and Fuels locations:

Beaumont, TX:

Offices will be closed on Monday, 12/26 and will re-open at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, 12/27. Our drivers are on-call for emergency situations.

Caldwell, TX:

Offices will be closed on Monday, 12/26 and will re-open at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, 12/27. Our drivers are on-call for emergency situations.

Carlsbad, NM:

Offices will be closed on Monday, 12/26 and will re-open at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, 12/27. Our drivers are on-call for emergency situations.

Mission, TX:

Our offices will be open on Saturday, 12/24 until 12:00pm, as well as Monday, 12/26 from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

Roswell, NM:

Our bottle dock will be open Saturday, 12/24 from 7:30 to 11:30AM. Our drivers will be on-call for emergency deliveries from 12/24-12/25. We will be open from 8:00am to 12:00pm on Monday, 12/26.

Weslaco, TX:

Our offices will be open on Saturday, 12/24 until 12:00pm, as well as Monday, 12/26 from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

Any plants not otherwise listed above will remain on regular operating hours. Thank you and happy holidays from all of us on Pico Propane and Fuels team!

5 Reasons Community Propane Will Boost Value

propane for development texas If you’re a builder or developer, you know how important it is to offer the right features in your projects. Gas—particularly for cooking—is highly desirable, but many homebuyers don’t know about how cost-effective propane can be, particularly with current volatile energy prices.

You’re in a unique position to introduce new homeowners to all the benefits of propane from appliances to hot water supply to propane-fueled outdoor enhancements. Savvy homebuilders and architects know they can make their projects stand out with the performance, versatility, and efficiency of propane.

What Are Community Propane Systems?

Community propane allows you to deliver propane gas to multiple homes via a network of underground pipes feeding off a large tank or tanks installed above or below ground in a low-visibility common area. Each home is connected to the system with individual meters, so homeowners only pay for the propane they use. They get billed directly by the propane provider, but unlike with an individual tank, they don’t have to worry about ordering fuel or running out. It’s effectively like a private natural gas system.

5 Reasons Community Propane Will Benefit Your Next Project

  1. Extending natural gas lines to the area is expensive. Unless you’re building in an area where the infrastructure already readily exists, extending natural gas service to your location can be prohibitively expensive. It can cost as much a $1 million per mile in some markets.
  2. You’re building multiple residences. For a single home, an individual tank makes sense. But with multiple buildings, a community system offers more flexibility, particularly with smaller lots, as well as efficiencies of scale.
  3. Added value for you—and homebuyers. In most cases, a community propane system is more cost-effective for you, giving you a better return on your investment. At the same time, the premium features you can offer buyers extend beyond cooking to fireplaces, tankless water heaters, laundry equipment, out-door kitchens, as well as back-up generators that will keep power on even when electric lines are down. These can make all the difference to first-time buyers, or even the savviest homebuyers out there.
  4. Improved aesthetics. Individual above ground propane storage tanks can detract from curb appeal. Especially on smaller lots, it’s hard to place them unobtrusively. With a community system, tanks can be placed in an inconspicuous area, close to other mechanicals or infrastructure.
  5. Meet green building standards. More and more home buyers are looking for new construction that tick’s boxes including energy-efficiency and eco-friendly and sustainable materials. Propane doesn’t produce significant carbon dioxide; in fact, propane is approved as a clean fuel source by the US Government.

Pico Propane and Fuels—The Local Experts in Community Propane Systems!

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of community propane, talk to Pico today. We’ve partnered with builders and developers throughout Texas and New Mexico to develop systems in their projects that deliver value and performance along with the amenities homebuyers demand today.

We’ll work with your team to develop the best site plan, navigate permits, even tap into incentives. And we’ll be there for your residents, with reliable service from day one. Contact us for more information today.

Understanding the Pros and Cons to Help You Decide

home energy options texas When it comes to heating your Texas or New Mexico home, you’ve got a lot of options at your disposal. There’s heating oil, propane, natural gas, and electricity. While there’s a lot of pressure to shift to “greener” electricity, there are also questions about whether ERCOT can support current use—let alone the huge increase in demand that would result.

So, what’s the best option for your home?

If your current system is new and performing well, there’s probably no reason to undertake the process of a system change. However, if your heating system is proving unreliable or is otherwise on its last legs, it might be time to entertain a replacement. Similarly, if you’re building a new home, it’s smart to consider the benefits and downsides of each to come to the best possible solution for the years to come.

Benefits of Propane Heating

  • Propane equipment, on average, runs more efficiently than heating oil equipment.
  • Propane doesn’t produce significant carbon dioxide; in fact, propane is approved as a “clean fuel” by the US Government.
  • Propane heating equipment requires less maintenance and lasts longer than heating oil-fueled equipment.
  • Propane is nontoxic and nonpoisonous, so it doesn’t contaminate groundwater or soil if it leaks—which means propane tanks can be safely buried out of sight.
  • Propane is super versatile, and, like electricity, can be used to power other appliances such as ranges, dishwashers, laundry machines, and water heaters as well as grills and fireplaces. It can also be used to power a generator that will keep your home running when the electric lines are down.
  • Propane gas is easy and safe to transport because it gets compressed into a liquid—you may have transported it yourself when you’ve exchanged or refilled a portable cylinder for your grill.
  • All the propane used in the U.S. is produced in North America. That means nearly every gallon of propane you buy contributes to America’s energy independence.

Cons of Propane

  • Propane produces fewer BTUs per gallon than heating oil—you need to burn more of it to achieve the same amount of heat.
  • Propane-burning equipment often costs more to purchase than heating oil-based systems
  • Propane is combustible in air, so precautions are needed to operate the equipment safely.

Benefits of Oil Heat

  • Heating oil has a higher BTU output per gallon and is used up more slowly than propane; this could mean you will pay less to heat your house with heating oil, even if the per-gallon cost of propane is less.
  • Equipment is generally less expensive to install.
  • Ultra-low sulfur heating oil burns much more cleanly and particulate emissions have been reduced significantly from the already low levels of the past few decades.
  • New heating oil systems now burn fuel 99.9% cleanly, according to studies conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven Laboratory.

Downsides of Heating Oil

  • Heating oil tanks—especially older steel-lined ones—can corrode from the inside and develop leaks, which can be extremely expensive to clean up. This is a cost that is often not covered by homeowner’s insurance.
  • Most heating oil comes from offshore sources, which means its price is subject to international market forces and is therefore more volatile than propane.
  • Oil furnaces need to be cleaned more frequently than propane furnaces and tend to require more maintenance.
  • In most homes that are heated by oil, other appliances—such as water heaters, ranges, and clothes dryers—are run by electricity, which is not as efficient as propane.
  • Heating oil is not as versatile as other options, so you still need other energy sources to power most of your other appliances and equipment.

Benefits of Natural Gas

  • Because natural gas is delivered to your home via a pipeline, you don’t have to worry about scheduling any deliveries.
  • Like propane, you can use it to run a range of appliances, including ranges and water heaters, as well as to heat your home.

Cons of Natural Gas

  • Connecting to natural gas can be costly, or outright impossible, depending on how far you are from the service line. It also requires expensive excavation that can be destructive to your yard and garden.
  • Aging pipelines can result in leaks that are hard identify and even more challenging to repair, while at the same time utilities and public utility commissions argue over who foots the bill. If it’s up to the utilities, that cost will get passed to customers.
  • Leaking natural gas contains methane, a greenhouse gas, and harmful to the environment.
  • When temperatures plunge and demand goes up, so do prices.
  • Natural gas is less efficient than propane, which delivers more than twice the BTUs. So, you’d need more natural gas to produce the same heat as propane.

Benefits of Electricity

  • Electricity is versatile. You can use it for heat, cooking, lighting, computers and smart phones, televisions, as well as your cooling systems, too.
  • It produces virtually zero emissions when you use it…however, generating it is another story. The generation results in many harmful emissions.
  • Electric heating equipment is generally inexpensive and low maintenance.

Downsides of Electricity

  • Electric heat takes much longer to reach a comfortable temperature and can struggle to maintain it—driving up your energy usage—and your utility bills alongside it! Even without geopolitics driving energy costs up, electricity will cost you more.
  • Electric heat pumps rely on outdoor air, which means they become less able to keep your home warm the lower the temperature goes. In fact, many homes with electric heat pumps need to have supplemental heat sources as a backup.
  • Electric generation is the second-largest creator of greenhouse gasses in the United States. That’s because most of our electricity supply is generated by coal-fired power plants. More than 63% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas. Only the transportation sector creates more greenhouse gases.
  • Our grid isn’t reliable enough to handle a wholesale switch to electricity. We’ve seen that through periods of both extreme cold and extreme heat. Imagine the inconvenience when you are relying completely on electricity.

The Bottom Line? Propane is a Choice You Can Be Confident With.

Want to learn even more about the benefits of clean-burning, efficient propane power for your home? Whether you are looking to convert to a propane heating system or explore converting more of your home’s equipment to propane, the experts at Pico Propane and Fuels can help.

We’re the go-to choice for homes and businesses from the Gulf Coast of Texas to Albuquerque! If you’re looking for a new home energy provider this season, contact Pico today and let us show you all the ways propane can make your home warm, comfortable, and more efficient.

What’s the Best Choice for Your Home?

water heater installation texas Is it harder to get your water to be as hot as you’d like? Are you noticing your energy bills inching higher and higher without big fluctuation in your hot water usage? Is your hot water looking rusty out of the tap? These are all signs that it’s time to think about replacing your water heater.

If you have a traditional, tank-style water heater that’s hitting the ten-year mark or is already past that, you’re probably used to running out of hot water. On busy mornings, when everyone needs to shower and get out of the house, someone likely ends up with a lukewarm experience. That’s never the best way to start the day! We’ll put this simply: Don’t wait for a breakdown to look for a new hot water heater. Start doing your research now and let the professionals at Pico Propane and Fuels help you install a new more efficient propane water heater.

Do I Choose Tank or Tankless—And What’s the Difference Anyway?

Storage tank water heaters are exactly what they sound like: it’s a big storage tank, typically about 20 to 80 gallons, that keeps all that water hot, so it’s ready when you next need it. These types of units use a thermostat to make sure the water is hot enough when you want to use it, heating water to the set temperature and then reheating it as it cools. This is called “standing heat loss” and it’s the main drawback of this type of water heater. They can use propane or electricity to heat the water—so how much hot water you use can have a big impact on your energy bills.

Storage tank water heaters are quite susceptible to rust and corrosion, which can lead to leaks. You need to stay vigilant for signs of deterioration. Further, you are limited by the size of your tank and how much water it’s able to hold.

On the plus side, storage tank water heaters are relatively inexpensive to purchase. More energy-efficient models have become available, and you can also add additional insulation to reduce heat loss. All that said, they can still end up costing you more to operate in the long run.

A Primer on Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters save energy by instantly heating water the moment when you need it. When you turn on the tap, water flows through the unit and is heated instantly by a propane-fueled heating element. When you turn off the tap, the unit stops heating water. Compare this to the cost of operating a traditional water heater, which requires you to keep a tank holding many gallons of water hot and ready to use all the time.

As a result, you can enjoy virtually unlimited hot water—while seeing savings of up to 40% in your monthly heating costs!

You’ll save space as well as energy. Tankless water heaters are compact—about the size of a suitcase—and can even hang on a wall or in a closet, freeing up room in your basement or utility room. There are several different sizes designed to fit different needs. Rather than total gallons, their output is measured in a flow rate of gallons per minute. The more hot water you need at the same time will require a higher flow rate.

The main downside to a tankless water heater is price—but they will pay for themselves in savings over time, vs a storage tank style, which will cost you more over its lifespan on average.

Ready to Learn More? Call Pico Propane and Fuels!

Want to learn more about your water heating options? The pros at Pico are here to help. We sell and install a broad selection of high-efficiency water—including storage tank and tankless styles, and we can help you choose the best option for your needs. We can also help you take advantage of money-saving rebates, too.

Enjoy energy efficiency and comfort with a new water heater! Contact us today to get started. 

Understanding How to Convert from Oil or Electric…to Propane Gas

propane conversion texas Electricity is essential for a lot of things in your home. That includes necessities like lights, refrigerators, computers, televisions, and phones. But with an unreliable grid and increasingly unpredictable weather, it’s might not be such a great choice for heating your Texas home—especially with unpredictable winter seasons of years past. Natural gas is an option, but the infrastructure isn’t there in terms of capacity—and that’s if you are living someplace you can connect to natural gas in the first place.

These reasons are why so many homeowners are asking about how easy—and feasible—it is to convert to propane. After all, clean-burning propane is an affordable fuel that can keep your home comfortable plus power a range of appliances, while helping you keep energy costs better under control.

What’s more, when you convert to propane, it can actually be quite easy. The average conversion takes about two days, with little disruption to your life or comfort.

Here’s what you need to know:

Determine the Size of Your Propane Tank(s)

Converting your home to propane, 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? Or will it be for heating water, heating your home, and more? There are a lot of variables to consider, but the pros at Pico Propane and Fuels are here to help you take the guesswork out of calculating the best-size tank for your needs.

To start off, most residential tanks typically range from 100 gallons to 500 gallons. From there, you also need to consider whether you want an aboveground or underground tank. There are advantages to both:

  • An aboveground tank is faster to install—with no excavation required—and therefore inherently less expensive. The downside is mainly appearance, but we can work with you to find the best location on your property.
  • An underground tank doesn’t detract from your view, but it will take longer to install and typically costs more.

Whichever option is best for you, we can ensure the installation process is handled safely and easily. Plus, when you lease a propane tank from us, the maintenance is our job! You don’t have to worry about a thing.

Adding or Converting In-Home 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! A propane water heater, for example, will save you about 30 percent on your energy bills compared to an electric water heater while providing much faster recovery times. You’ll save even more energy when you choose a tankless propane water heater. Multiply those savings when you use propane for dishwashing and laundry.

Propane is also the top pick for chefs—and we don’t just mean grill masters. A gas range gives you the precise control that professional cooks demand.

Ready to Switch to Propane Gas? Give Us a Call Today!

We make converting a home to propane a straightforward, easy process that will leave you with lower energy bills and support a cleaner environment. Give us a call today and we can answer all your questions, plus provide dependable propane delivery and service in the seasons to come from the #1 propane company trusted by customers throughout Texas and New Mexico.

Enjoy a warm, comfortable winter season with the help of propane…and Pico! Contact us today for more information.

We Provide Commercial Propane for Businesses of All Sizes

business propane services texas When you’re in business, the bottom line is always top of mind. Right up there with delivering a great product or service, you need to keep your eye on efficiency, cost, and value. That’s why you should know all the benefits of commercial propane services and applications. Commercial propane is used in manufacturing, construction, warehousing, agriculture, landscaping, hospitality, and a broad range of other industries. And whether you need bulk propane for your business, or a cylinder exchange program, Pico Propane and Fuels can help you make the most of propane for your business.

Why Choose Propane for My Business Operations?

The reason propane is such a great fuel for commercial uses is that it’s so versatile. It can be used for interior heating, operating machinery, and running fleets of vehicles. What’s more, propane is better for the environment—and your bottom line. Compared to other heating fuels, including electricity, propane:

  • Heats quicker and burns more cleanly.
  • Leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Costs on average 2.5 times less per Btu than heating with electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Is extremely safe, with a very narrow range of flammability.

Agricultural Propane Supply and Services

Propane delivers consistent heat ideal for warming livestock barns, hatcheries, and greenhouses. 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:

  • Commercial mowers and landscaping equipment
  • Irrigation equipment
  • Flame-weeders
  • Crop drying
  • Greenhouse and barn heating

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 advantages:

  • Propane-fueled forklifts can be used outdoors in wet conditions, unlike electric-powered forklifts.
  • Propane-powered forklifts will operate at 100% power as long as there’s propane in the cylinder. An electric forklift loses power as the battery drains.
  • Refueling is quick and easy with replaceable cylinders. Recharging an electric forklift takes equipment out of service for hours, slowing down operations.
  • Propane-powered forklifts also handle heavy loads better and are more capable when it comes to inclines.

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:

  • Welding equipment
  • Asphalt heaters
  • Concrete grinders, saws, polishers, trowels, and dust extractors
  • Pressure washers
  • Small cranes
  • Water pumps
  • Floor buffers
  • …and more!

Hospitality & Food Service

Professional chefs prefer gas for cooking. Hotels, hospitals, and 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.

  • Food trucks
  • Restaurants
  • Laundromats
  • Hotels

If You’re Looking for Commercial Propane Solutions…Call Pico Propane and Fuels!

Pico customers know we provide the same superb and attentive service to our commercial accounts as to our residential clients. At Pico Propane and Fuels, we’re proud of our commercial partnerships that support businesses throughout Texas and New Mexico.

We offer more than three decades of experience working with businesses all over our Texas and New Mexico service area. 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 so there are no surprises for you.

Contact us today for more information or pricing on a solution for your specific commercial fueling needs.

Where to Get Convenient Propane Cylinder Refills and How to Avoid Runouts

propane refill texas Whether you’re having your crew over for the Cowboys game and some BBQ, or you’re just grilling something for family dinner, you don’t want to run out of propane. But how can you tell how long will your grill tank last? A standard 20-pound portable propane tank should last about 18 to 20 hours…but who keeps track of how many hours they use their grill?

Even though most of the portable cylinders that you’d hook up to your grill don’t have a gauge, there are easier ways to make sure you don’t run out than pulling out a stopwatch every time you grill.

Here’s four ways to make sure you never run out:

  1. The Water Trick: Fill a small bucket with hot tap water and pour it down the side of the cylinder. Then run your hand down the side of the tank and find the point where it turns cool. That’s the level of the gas!

    The liquid propane inside the tank absorbs heat from the water, which makes the metal wall of the tank cool to the touch.

  2. The Weight Check: Check the cylinder for markings that let you know the “tare weight” or TW, the weight of the tank when empty. A 20-pound tank usually weighs about 17 pounds when empty. To calculate how much propane is in the tank, place the cylinder on a scale—a basic bathroom scale will work—and subtract the tare weight from the amount shown on the scale. So, if your 20-pound cylinder weighs 27 pounds, and the tare weight is 17, you have 10 pounds of propane left. Or simply pick up a digital propane tank scale at your local hardware store or online retailer like Amazon. Most come with a digital app to let you know when it’s time for a fill-up.
  3. Add a Gauge: You can buy a gauge to install between the gas line from the grill and the cut-off valve on the tank. It will measure the pressure and show you how full the tank is.
  4. Keep a Spare: The easiest way to make sure you always have enough propane on hand to fire up the grill is to keep an extra tank on hand. Come to a Pico location and we’ll make sure to help you out with exactly that.

Should I Refill or Exchange My Tank?

What’s the difference between refilling or exchanging your portable propane tank? It’s mostly a matter of preference. Some people appreciate the swap-and-go convenience of our cylinder exchange. But savvy customers love the ease and the savings they get by refilling.
When you own your propane tank and refill it, you can save money in a few ways.

  1. First, you’ll save on the price of the propane. The difference can be up to $1.75 per gallon!
  2. You also save because you’ll pay only for the propane you use. When you choose to refill your propane tank, you’re only buying the propane to fill the rest of your cylinder. With a cylinder exchange, you’re charged for all the propane in the cylinder—including the propane left in the tank when you take it to be exchanged.

Think about it: When you see your propane cylinder is starting to run low, your instinct is to take it in to exchange before you run out. So, unless you run them until they’re completely empty, you could be wasting half a tank or more over the span of a few exchanges!

Where to Get Easy Propane Refills or Exchanges in Texas

Pico makes propane tank refills and exchanges easy, with nine convenient locations across Texas and one in New Mexico. We offer propane tank exchange and refills for a variety of sizes, including 20-pound cylinders most folks use for grills, patio heaters, mosquito traps, and various outdoor equipment, and the 30- and 40- pound cylinders for RVs.

Ready to fire up the grill? Contact us to learn more about our propane refill stations today—chances are we’ve got a convenient location near you!

Pico is Your Go-To for Convenient Propane Fill-Ups in Mission and Weslaco!

propane tank refill texasNo one likes the realization that you’re running low on propane as you head into the weekend and you’re planning to grill. Similarly, many folks like to always have a spare propane tank ready to go at a moment’s notice. In either instance, knowing where to find a convenient and easy refill for your portable propane cylinder near you is crucial!

That’s why you need a propane refill station near you that offers propane when you need it—especially one that also offers affordable prices—and no lines! It’s why folks in Alton, La Joya, South Alamo, and surrounding communities in South Texas choose Pico for reliable service and convenient refilling locations.

Fill Your BBQ Cylinder and More—Right Nearby!

If you use your propane grill a lot, Pico’s propane refill stations on N. Shary Road in Mission and South International Boulevard in Weslaco can help ensure you always have enough propane in your tank. We’re here to make sure you won’t run out during your next cookout or backyard barbeque.

Need a fresh propane cylinder for your camp generator or RV generator? Our propane refill and stations aren’t just for your BBQ tank. Propane cylinders and small tanks provide fuel for patio and deck heaters so you can enjoy your backyard earlier and later in the season. They’re also great for RVs and portable generators.

Businesses appreciate our efficient refill stations, too. Commercial customers that use propane cylinders for equipment like forklifts appreciate our quick and easy service to keep them on the job.

Safe & Easy Propane Refills All Year Long

Refilling or exchanging your cylinder with us is a snap! All you need to do is bring your empty cylinders to one of our convenient locations, including Weslaco and Mission, ideal for customers in Brooks, Jim Hogg, Starr, Zapata Cameron, Kenedy and Willacy Counties. Our propane professionals will properly and safely refill them or exchange them for full ones that have been carefully inspected so that you can be sure they’re safe.

Remember! Always handle propane cylinders safely when transporting them:

  • Don’t bring empty tanks inside any of our refill locations—inform our employees and we’ll come out to you.
  • Always transport cylinders in an upright position after they are filled. Cylinders should not be transported lying down.
  • Do not leave a filled tank inside your car for any length of time, especially in the summer.
  • And remember, we can’t refill tanks with excessive rust, corrosion, or other damage.

Whether you need a 20-gallon refill, or you want to buy an extra tank so that you always have a spare, Pico is happy to help you with our convenient portable tank refill service. Contact us today for more information.

Creating a Propane-Powered Home is a Realistic Option

convert to propane texasTexas’s energy grid continues to struggle with reliability, and extreme weather continues to pose challenges to ERCOT’s ability to provide service. We narrowly avoided rolling blackouts as this summer’s epic stretch of triple-digit temperatures tested our electric grid. Meanwhile, natural gas companies may not be prepared for more bouts of severe cold that resulted in the devastating outages we saw 18 months ago. And at the same time, prices continue to be higher than in years past. So…what’s the answer?

Easy, affordable, clean-burning propane can help you keep your home comfortable and power a range of appliances while helping you keep energy costs under control.

What’s more, converting to propane is actually quite easy. The average conversion takes about two business days, but with little disruption to your life or comfort.

Assessing Your Home Energy Needs

Propane is super-efficient at heating. It generates more Btus than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat or energy. It’s a key reason why converting your heating system to propane-fueled equipment is a smart move.

Propane’s efficiency makes it a great fuel to power a wide range of appliances, too. For example, 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:

  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Outdoor lighting
  • Patio heaters
  • Pool and spa-tub heaters

It’s also the chef’s choice for cooking—and not just on a grill. Once you decide how much of your home’s equipment you want to run on propane, you can choose a tank. (And you can always start with your furnace and water heater and add more propane appliances in the future!)

Choosing the Proper Propane Tank Size

To know what size propane storage tank you need, you need to know how you will use your propane. We’ll talk to you about a variety of factors, including:

  • The size and square footage of your home.
  • How many propane appliances you plan to run with propane.
  • If you are planning to add more propane appliances or perform any renovations or additions soon.
  • Your home heating trends and prior fuel usage.

Should I Buy or Lease My Propane Tank?

You also need to decide whether you want to buy or lease your tank, and we can help you come to the proper conclusion. For starters, there are pros and cons of both options that you should know.

  • The downside of owning your propane storage tank is that the responsibility for the tank is also yours. That includes maintenance, repairs, fees, safety checks, and more in addition to up-front purchase and installation costs. In fact, buying and installing your own tank could cost anywhere from $450 to $3,000, depending on its size and type!
  • On the other hand, when you lease your tank from Pico, all the maintenance and repairs handled by our experienced pros. We’ll also provide safe, expert installation of your propane storage tank, including a thorough inspection of your tank and appliances, and provide a safety certification for your home.

Pico Offers Convenient, Reliable Service All Year Long

When you convert to propane and lease your tank from Pico, you’ll be getting more than just a propane tank. Pico is trusted by customers throughout Texas and New Mexico for reliable propane delivery.

Customers love our keep-full service that prevents runouts. We also offer tank monitoring, ideal for customers who want a hassle-free way to track usage, and great for customers whose usage isn’t predictable.

The professionals at Pico Propane and Fuels have the knowledge, experience, and resources to answer all your questions about the benefits of a propane-heated home. Contact us today to learn more.