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Commercial propane cylinder exchange service is a smart solution

forlift propane Mission, TX Unless you have a single forklift that you only use sporadically, there’s no smart reason to use a retail propane cylinder exchange for your business.

With our forklift propane cylinder exchange program, you have full cylinders on-site and ready to go. Our pros will meet with you to evaluate your needs and develop a customized program, then set you up with sturdy, safe storage cages for your cylinders. We’ll thoroughly train your workers in the safe handling of propane cylinders. And you’ll always have the cylinders you need, when you need them. Think of it as fleet-fueling for your forklifts and other propane-powered equipment.

If your business relies on forklifts every day, whether for warehouse or distribution center management, moving building materials quickly and efficiently around construction sites, or any other type of heavy lifting and shifting, you don’t want refueling to be a hassle. It’s likely why you’re using propane forklifts to begin with, and if you aren’t you should be.

Here are just a few of the advantages:

Propane has power.

Propane powered forklifts will operate at 100% power as long as there’s propane in the cylinder. That’s not the case with an electric-powered forklift.

Electric forklifts lose power as the battery drains. And when it’s out of power, it can take eight hours—or longer—to recharge. Diesel-fueled forklifts require a diesel fueling station—which isn’t practical for most businesses.

With a propane forklift, refueling takes minutes. All your employees have to do is replace the empty cylinder with a full one, and the forklift is back on the job. Propane-powered forklifts also perform better at handling heavier loads and are more capable when it comes to inclines.

Propane is cost-effective.

Refueling is quick and easy with replaceable cylinders. Faster refueling means less downtime. Recharging an electric forklift takes equipment out of service for hours, slowing down operations. Plus, charging stations for electric forklifts take up space and require large up-front investments.
Propane-fueled forklifts also require less maintenance and downtime for repairs than gasoline or diesel-powered ones.

Propane is safe.

Propane forklifts are safe to use both indoors and outside. Diesel-powered forklifts cannot be operated indoors, and electric forklifts are inefficient outdoors and can’t operate in wet conditions. That’s why the best option for top performance indoors or out is a propane forklift!

Propane is environmentally friendly.

Propane forklifts emit dramatically fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline-powered forklifts. In the rare event of a propane leak, there’s no environmental damage. Meanwhile, about 40% of the country’s electricity generation comes from coal-fired power plants, making electric forklifts not as green as people may think they are.

Propane is versatile.

If you use forklifts, you probably use other equipment that can run off propane cylinders. In addition to forklifts, propane can be used to power a wide range of equipment, including welding equipment, commercial mowers, asphalt heaters, concrete grinders, saws, polishers, dust extractors, pressure washers, small cranes, water pumps and floor buffers—just to name a few!

Propane can also be used for a wide variety of agricultural applications, including crop warming and drying, weed control, and more.

Restaurants, resorts, hotels, country clubs and many other hospitality businesses use propane cylinders as well—for landscaping equipment, remote cooking, as well as outdoor dining and entertainment areas.

Ready to learn more?

Talk to our commercial propane team. They have the expertise and experience to understand your specific needs and tailor a program that will grow with your business—and help your business grow, thanks to the efficiency and power or propane.

Contact us today to learn about how our propane forklift cylinder exchange can help your business!

Enjoy Lower Electric Bills and Greater Efficiency with Propane

bulk propane When it comes to running your business, you need to keep a sharp eye on every line item in your budget. Electricity may seem like one of those expenses that you can’t control, short of installing LED bulbs and other energy-saving tools. Of course, electricity is essential for lights and computers. But you might be surprised to find that many of the systems and equipment that are essential for your operation could run more efficiently with commercial propane.

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 and equipment are very efficient, so they waste very little fuel in the combustion process.

Here’s how propane can help you reign in soaring electric bills and power your commercial operations more efficiently.

Propane for Heating

Commercial spaces tend to be large, open areas. That makes them harder to heat and harder to keep warm. Propane furnaces are more efficient than electric heating systems, and provide more even, comfortable heat. Contrast that with a heat pump, which doesn’t go above body temperature, making the air coming out of vents feel cool and prompting people to try to raise the thermostat.

Commercial propane heating equipment offers a wide range of capacity as well as flexibility, ranging from 44,000 Btus with efficiency levels of up to 98 percent, to capacities as large as 225,000 Btus and higher. Depending on the type of heating required—for example, for multiple smaller tenants or one large one, you can take advantage of roof-top units, multiple smaller furnaces that can meet the heating needs of specific parts of the building. That type of zoning ability not only improves efficiency, but offers great value for tenants.

Propane is also great for agricultural heating, such as greenhouses, barns and more.

Propane for Hot Water

If you are heating your building with propane, it only makes sense to use this versatile and efficient fuel for water heating, too–even if the only need for hot water in your commercial building is for restrooms. All the same reasons propane is good for heating spaces make propane ideal for heating water. Depending on the needs of your operation or your tenants, you can install a single propane tank water heater or multiple, individual tankless units for each tenant. Individual on-demand water heaters mean you (or your tenants) aren’t paying to heat water over weekends and at night, unless they need to.

Forklifts & Industrial Needs

Compared to electric forklifts, propane fueled forklifts will keep your operation running smoothly with less downtime. There are so many advantages!
Propane-fueled forklifts can be used outdoors in wet conditions, unlike electric-powered forklifts. Also, propane-powered forklifts 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.

In addition to forklifts, propane can be used to power a wide range of equipment, including
welding equipment, pressure washers, small cranes, agricultural and landscaping equipment, and more.

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. Propane is also ideal for patio heaters and outdoor lighting.

Backup Power

Whether you are operating your own business or have commercial tenants, imagine the value you can offer with a propane backup generator that will turn on automatically in the event of a power outage. It can be set up to operate essential systems for your building and your tenants, protecting perishables, keeping security systems and computer systems online and operating until the utilities can make repairs.

The Bottom Line

Adding propane to the mix at your commercial property or business can help you save money and offer real value to your tenants. Talk to the commercial propane team at Pico: We have the experience to make sure you have the right size tank to service your building and set up a customized automatic delivery schedule for you. Find out why so many commercial building owners prefer Pico!

Contact us for more information today.

Everything You Need to Know About Gas Hearths

fireplace Beaumont, TX More and more customers are discovering the ease and style of ga hearths. Not only do they add warmth and charm without the mess or hassle of logs and embers, but they have a realistic look that many people don’t expect. With memories of old electric fireplaces that put a plastic log over a lightbulb, many people ask, What kind of logs do you use in a gas fireplace to get such a realistic look? The gas logs in a gas fireplace are made from cement, ceramic or ceramic fiber blends that are carefully crafted and painted to look just like real wood logs.

What’s Your Style?

Log sets for gas fireplaces are available in a wide variety of styles, to suit your décor and the style of your hearth. You can choose wood species—oak, birch, pine, and more, even driftwood, with charred effects or split-log looks. You can also select log layouts—more logs or fewer, a neat stack or a more rustic, asymmetrical pile.

Whatever style you choose, gas logs are made to withstand high heat, and should last two to five years, depending on how much you use your gas fireplace.

The best part about a gas fireplace is that you don’t need a chimney. Of course, it’s easy to convert a wood-burning hearth to a gas fireplace. But if you don’t have a chimney, you can also choose the look of your mantel and surrounding hearth, to create exactly the look you want, all thanks to ventless and direct vent designs.

Ventless or Direct Vent: What’s Best?

Direct vent and vent-free technology are two great ways to add a gas fireplace even if you don’t have a chimney or flue. All that’s needed is access to propane gas.

Ventless models have a regulator that produces a fine gas-air mix that allows the gas to burn cleanly, and reduces the fumes associated with traditional gas fireplaces.

With direct venting, a single dual-chambered pipe is installed 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.

Because the space requirements between the fireplace and wallboard or wood are minimal, 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. You can also convert traditional fireplaces to a maintenance-free propane hearth with a gas log insert.

The Benefits of a Propane Fireplace

Propane-fueled fireplaces add ambiance—but they also provide efficient supplemental heat without the mess, smoke and ash of a wood-burning fireplace. And a gas hearth is much safer. 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 when you are done. No waiting for embers to burn out or worrying that they will flare up again.

Warm Up Your Home

Nothing beats the cozy charm and ambiance of a fireplace. Let the pros at Pico show you how easy and affordable installing a gas fireplace. We service and install everything we sell, and we stand by our work. Contact us for more information today, and kick back by your own fireplace before the holidays.

5 Benefits of Propane that Might Surprise You

propane caldwell, tx Climate change is an important concern for all of us. But electrification isn’t the ideal way to go about it. Reevaluating the kind of energy you use—and diversifying rather than going all-electric—can help too. Of course electricity is necessary to run a lot of things—lights, phones, your computer. But it’s not the smartest choice for all your appliances and systems. Propane is a versatile, sustainable and efficient choice, and the benefits to your home, comfort—and, yes, your bottom line—might surprise you.

5 Reasons To Love Propane

  1. It’s clean. When it comes to environmental impact, propane gas is one of the cleanest and efficient fuels around. It burns cleanly and produces minimal emissions. Another important factor when it comes to evaluating whether a fuel is “green”: Propane also doesn’t harm soil or groundwater.
  2. It’s domestic. 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 is not considered a greenhouse gas.
  3. It’s 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 appliances are very 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. That’s because most of our electricity supply is generated by coal-fired power plants. (Only the transportation sector creates more greenhouse gases.)
  4. It’s versatile. Because propane is so efficient at heating, it’s a smarter choice than electricity for a wide variety of appliances. 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
    • outdoor grills
    • stoves and cooktops
  5. It’s always available. That’s because your propane supply is delivered and stored in a tank on your property, so you’ll always have it right on-hand. No pipeline problems caused by cold weather, accidents, or deterioration. And consider this: 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.

Propane Means Business

From manufacturing, construction and warehousing, to agriculture, landscaping, hospitality and a broad range of other industries, commercial propane can help you provide value to your customers without hurting your bottom line.

Just as it heats homes efficiently, propane provides consistent heat ideal for warming livestock barns, hatcheries and greenhouses. Clean-burning propane can power landscaping and agricultural equipment, from commercial mowers to irrigation engines. Propane-fueled forklifts can be used outdoors in wet conditions, operate at 100% power as long as there’s propane in the cylinder, and are easy to refuel with replaceable cylinders and our convenient cylinder exchange service. Restaurants and hotels use propane for cooking as well as outdoor space heaters and firepits. 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.

The Bottom Line

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

Talk to the Pros at Pico. We have the knowledge, experience and resources to answer all your questions about the benefits of a propane for your home and business. Contact us today to learn more.

You’ve got Questions, We’ve Got Answers About Backup Power for Your Texas Home

generators Carlsbad, NM The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a mild-to-normal winter for Texas, thanks to an El Nino weather pattern. But if you’ve spent the past few years here, you know that “normal” now means colder cold snaps and longer heat waves that can really challenge our grid. And you know that while losing power for two or three hours is annoying, an outage lasting any longer starts to be expensive, not to mention dangerous. More and more of our customers are looking for ways to be prepared for outages, and we tell them one of the best ways to protect your home and property is with a backup or standby generator.

Here’s everything you need to know about how a backup generator can keep your home and family safe during a power emergency.

What is a standby generator?

A standby or backup generator is propane-fueled power source that is directly wired to your home’s systems so that it comes on within seconds of a power failure to keep your lights on and your refrigerator, furnace and a/c running until the utilities get the lines back up. Propane generators are quiet, extremely efficient and clean-burning, with low emissions.

How long will a standby generator run?

It depends on the size of your generator—and the size of your propane tank.
Most homes have storage tanks that are 100 to 500 gallons. The average 5000-watt whole-house generator will run for one to two days on a 100-gallon tank. A 500-gallon tank would keep the same generator running for 7 to 10 days.

Bigger generators will run more appliances and equipment, but they will use more propane: Typically, 5,000-watt whole-house generators use about two gallons of propane per hour. The most powerful, 9000-watt generators use three gallons per hour.

What size do I need?

There are a wide variety of size options, from “essential power” models that will run key equipment such as your refrigerator, heat and lights, to true whole-house generators that can manage the demands of most extra-large homes, even during extended outages. Pico’s team of experts can work with you to determine the best size generator for your home and needs.

How far should I place my generator from my home?

Unlike a portable generator, which needs to be set up at least 20 feet away from your home and connected with cords when you need it, a standby generator is positioned closer to your house, and directly connected to your home, similar to the placement of the condenser for your cooling system. It should be at least 5 feet from windows or doors.

Is a standby generator expensive?

While a portable generator is less expensive out of the box, it can cost you a lot more in the long run. Just the cost of keeping it full during an extended outage will add up quickly, not to mention potentially having to wait on long lines for more gasoline.

On the other hand, having a standby generator can help you save money even before the power goes out. Many insurance plans will offer discounts on your homeowner’s insurance plan if you install a standby generator. That’s because, like a security system, a generator helps protect your property. Speaking of security systems, a standby generator will keep yours operating during an outage, protecting your home if you are away.

Is a standby generator safe?

With a standby generator, there’s no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. There’s also no need to wrestle the unit out of the garage and get it set up and started, while messing with fuel, possibly in the dark or in treacherous conditions.

Not only is it safer to operate, because it comes on instantly, people who rely on medical equipment are protected.

Is a standby generator a good investment?

Peace of mind is priceless. But when you do the math, a standby generator usually comes on top when it comes to dealing with the expense (and hassle) of a power outage. By keeping even just your essential systems running, a standby generator can help you avoid the cost of replacing spoiled food, the cost of a hotel room—if you can find one, and if the outage is in winter, prevent pipes from bursting.

Another thing: 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.

Have More Questions?

The pros at Pico can answer all your questions and show you the benefits of a standby generator. We have the experience and training to install your generator correctly and connect the lines to your 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, too.)

Contact us today for more information.

All the Reasons These Workhorses Make Your Job Easier

gas forklift

If you’re used to handling all your heavy lifting and moving work with a diesel-powered forklift, you may think doing the same jobs with a propane forklift will be less effective or efficient. Just because you don’t use a nozzle and hose to fuel them doesn’t mean a propane forklift isn’t just as much of a bulldog when it comes to the heavy work.

In fact, you might be surprised to find that propane-powered forklifts will save you time as well as money, while performing as well or better than the other options, like diesel or electric.

Operating Power

When it comes to operating a propane forklift compared to any other type, you’ll find there’s little difference. All require a bit of skill—but they handle similarly. What’s more, they operate at 100% power as long as there’s propane in the tank—just like a diesel forklift, but unlike an electric forklift, which loses power as you use it.

Propane-powered forklifts also perform better at handling heavier loads and are more capable when it comes to inclines, particularly compared to electric forklifts.

Minimal Downtime

Recharging an electric forklift takes about 8 hours. Refueling a diesel forklift can take a half an hour (or more) depending on where your fueling station is. Replacing the cylinder on a propane forklift takes about five minutes. All your employees have to do is replace the empty cylinder with a full one, and the forklift is back on the job.

Multiple Benefits of Propane Power

Safe: Propane forklifts are safe to use both indoors and outside. Diesel-powered forklifts cannot be operated indoors, and electric forklifts are inefficient outdoors and can’t operate in wet conditions. That’s why the best option for top performance indoors or out is a propane forklift!

Environmentally friendly: Propane forklifts emit dramatically fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline-powered forklifts. In the rare event of a propane leak, there’s no environmental damage. Meanwhile, about 40% of the country’s electricity generation comes from coal-fired power plants, making electric forklifts not as green as people may think they are.

Convenient: With our cylinder exchange program, you have full cylinders on-site and ready to go. Our pros will meet with you to evaluate your needs and develop a customized program, then set you up with sturdy, safe storage cages for your cylinders. We’ll thoroughly train your workers in the safe handling of propane cylinders. And you’ll always have the cylinders you need, when you need them.

Versatile: If you use forklifts, you probably use other equipment that can run off propane cylinders. Propane can be used to power a wide range of equipment, including welding equipment, commercial mowers, asphalt heaters, concrete grinders, pressure washers, and small cranes. Propane can also be used for a wide variety of agricultural applications, including crop warming and drying, weed control, and more.

Ready to Learn More?

Talk to Pico’s commercial propane team. They have the expertise and experience to understand your specific needs and can tailor a program that will grow with your business—and help your business grow, thanks to the efficiency and power or propane. From powerful performance advantages to time-saving convenience and efficiency, we’ll show you how propane forklifts can keep your operation running smoothly, with significant savings over diesel or electricity.

Contact us today to learn more!

Unlimited hot water and lower energy bills? You can have it all!

water heaters Albuquerque, nm If you had to guess what energy expenses took the biggest bite out of your wallet, you might think it’s heating or cooling your home. Most homeowners are surprised to know that water heaters can represent as much as 30% of their energy bills.

In fact, between bathing and showering, washing dishes, laundry, cleaning and other tasks, the typical American household is paying to heat between 60 and 65 gallons of hot water a day. That’s why an efficient heating and cooling system is important, but it’s just as important to look for peak efficiency when it comes to heating water, too.

While any new water heater will be more efficient than older technology, for super-high efficiency and savings, you should also weigh your options and consider going tankless.

What’s a Tankless Water Heater?

Tankless propane water heaters (also known as demand water heaters) instantly heat water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time. Imagine having virtually unlimited hot water, while seeing lower fuel bills! It’s possible, with a high-efficiency tankless water heater. In addition to whole-house models, smaller versions can be installed where they are needed to generate hot water for an addition or for a spa tub, for example.

5 Reasons to Go Tankless

  • Unlimited hot water: Traditional tank heaters can run out of hot water if you use a lot at once. Tankless water heaters use an electric pilot and a hot propane flame to heat water instantly on demand.
  • Improved Efficiency: Tankless water heaters save energy by instantly heating water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time.
  • Save Money: All that efficiency means you’ll save money by lowering your energy costs by as much as 40%.
  • Flexibility: With no storage tank, a tankless water heater is small – even whole-house sizes take considerably less room than a 55-gallon tank. Most are about the size of a suitcase. These units can also be wall-mounted, which means a tankless water heater can be placed just about anywhere in the house, including closets and crawl spaces.
  • Longer equipment life: The primary culprit in the limited lifespan of a conventional water heater is the corrosive water stored in its tank. Because it doesn’t store water, a tankless water heater will last 18 to 20 years. (Compare that to 10 to 12 for a traditional tank type water heater.)

The Bottom Line

How old is your water heater? If your traditional tank-style water heater is hitting the decade mark, you may be seeing higher energy bills, and water that just doesn’t seem to get as hot. And nobody likes to start the day with a lukewarm shower!

While a tankless water heater will cost more up front than replacing a less-efficient tank-type system, it will cost a lot less to run over the long term—heating water quickly and reliably every day for years.

Want to learn more about the benefits of a tankless water heater for your home? The pros at Pico can help you choose the best option for your needs and your budget. Enjoy energy efficiency and all the hot water you need with a new water heater! Contact us today to get started.

What You Need to Know

gas fireplaces Weslaco, tx

Who doesn’t enjoy the charming warmth of a fireplace? Propane-fueled fireplaces add ambiance without the mess, smoke and ash of a wood-burning fireplace. But many people are surprised to learn that a gas fireplace is much safer. 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 when you are done. No waiting for embers to burn out or worrying that they will flare up again.

Don’t Believe the Buzz

There’s been some buzz in the media about banning gas cooking ranges because of safety concerns. The concern is that they emit harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide. But the fact is that burning anything will produce carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Another concern is about the amount of methane being released from natural gas sources indoors, in cooking stoves as well as gas fireplaces. This is particularly concerning because methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas and makes up a vast majority of natural gas content. However, what the studies don’t mention when they discuss gas cooking is that propane does not contain methane and is not a greenhouse gas!

Not only do propane fireplaces not produce methane, but depending on the type of propane fireplace you install, any particulate matter or other pollutants are minimal to virtually absent.

With direct venting propane fireplaces, a single dual-chambered pipe is installed directly through a wall to the outdoors. The pipe simultaneously draws air for the fire from the outdoors, while it expels the fire’s combustion byproducts to the outside. Ventless models have a regulator that produces a fine gas-air mix that allows the gas to burn cleanly, and drastically reduces the fumes associated with traditional gas fireplaces.

Warmth and Style

From a design perspective, a propane fireplace can add dramatic style or more traditional charm, with a wide range of options to choose from. Propane fireplaces are available in a range of styles to work with any décor, from traditional to contemporary. We carry a wide selection of sizes and styles, from traditional stone and brick looks to contemporary glass boxes, and log sets in a range of configurations and looks, as well as glass.

They’re also a wonderful source of supplemental heat, especially those times when you don’t want or need to run your main heating system. 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. (And that’s true for space heating as well as whole-house heating.)

An Affordable Upgrade

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. Meanwhile, adding a traditional fireplace and chimney can cost many thousands of dollars—whether you’re building from scratch or retrofitting an existing home with a masonry chimney and hearth. And, installation takes just a day!

To learn more about our available selection of propane fireplace and hearth products, contact us today!

4 Steps to Prep Your Tank for a Safe “Off” Season

grill tank storage Uvalde, tx With our mostly mild winter weather, you may never need to put away the grill or pack up the patio furniture. But if you travel or spend extended periods away, you should know how to disconnect your barbecue and safely store grill tanks. Same is true if you use portable propane cylinders with an RV or for camping. Once you’re home, you need to keep those tanks stashed properly until the next time you need them.

Storing your propane cylinders

Here’s how to safely store your portable propane cylinders.

  1. Leave it outside. Cold temperatures won’t affect propane, and you should never keep propane tanks indoors. Propane tanks should always be kept in an open, well-ventilated, space, ideally out of the direct sun and at least 10 feet from your home.
  2. Turn it off. If you bring your grill inside for the winter, turn off your propane tank and disconnect it. If you leave your grill outdoors, you can keep the tank connected, just make sure to turn the tank off.
  3. Check for leaks. Do a careful inspection, looking closely at the valves, tank body, and the connector hose. Check your tank outside in bright, a well-ventilated space and far from any open flames or other ignition sources. You can also check for leaks by spraying the tank with a non-abrasive liquid soap. If bubbles appear around the valve or the hose, make sure they’re closed tight and spray again. If you continue to see bubbles, or see them anywhere on the body of the tank, it’s a sign that you have a leak and you should bring the tank to us for disposal.
  4. Keep it stable. When storing your propane tank, make sure it’s in a secure, level, and upright position. Keeping your tank upright protects against damage that could lead to leaks.

Not sure you know how to remove your grill tank? It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Make sure your grill is off, and the tank valve is closed (turn it all the way to the right, until it’s tight).
  2. Unscrew the grill pressure regulator by turning it to the left.
  3. Some grill models also have a restraining bolt. Just loosen it and remove the tank.

Safety First

While propane is very safe, you should make sure everyone in your home can identify the rotten-egg smell of propane, and knows what to do if they suspect a leak—especially if you use propane to operate equipment and appliances in your home.

Store or Recycle?

If your portable tanks are getting old, you may want to consider disposing of them at the end of the season, and replacing them in the spring instead of storing them for the winter. If you refill or exchange your tanks with us, we’ll make sure your tank is in good shape when you bring it in, and we will dispose of the old ones properly so you don’t have to.

Pico makes it easy, with 10 convenient locations across Texas for cylinder refill or exchange. Contact us today to find the location near you and for more information about all the services we offer.

Think Propane Is Just for Grilling? Think Again!

propane delivery Uvalde, tx When it comes to cooking, propane is fast, precise, and efficient.

That’s why most restaurants want the power and versatility of propane in the kitchen. And it’s true, whether you’re running an upscale restaurant, a casual diner, a food truck, or a catering business.

Professional chefs and cooks will tell you they need the precise temperature control and fast, consistent heat of propane so they can serve up a high volume of food without sacrificing quality. There’s no waiting for burners to come to temperature. And propane allows for accurate, fast temperature control at the turn of a knob. That means the money you invest on fresh ingredients isn’t wasted on over- or undercooked food.

But as an owner of a commercial cooking operation, do you know all the other benefits that propane offers that can make a big difference to your bottom line, and impress your customers, too? Here are three ways using propane in your restaurant that can have a big impact (that can make sense at home, too!).

1. Propane’s Value

One key benefit of propane is the value it brings due to its versatility. Not only can restaurants use propane for grill tops and cooktop burners, but it’s also used in a variety of commercial kitchen equipment. Using propane for your commercial kitchen appliances provides you with the sizzle your broiler requires to sear those delicious steaks and chops and flawlessly melt cheese. Not only do pizza ovens, steam tables, buffets, deep fryers and other appliances run on propane, but propane is an energy-efficient fuel for heating water for sinks and dishwashers. If you do some or all of your establishment’s laundry on-site, it runs clothes washers and dryers, too.

Propane can also help boost revenue by helping you expand your outdoor service. Propane-powered patio and deck heaters, fire pits, and hearths add ambiance while giving warmth and comfort—and extending your outdoor dining season. Propane can also be used to operate outdoor lighting with a warm glow.

2. Propane is reliable

With a propane-powered kitchen and a propane standby generator, even the loss of electricity cannot close your doors. A propane standby generator will not only maintain power, but it will also keep your coolers, refrigerators and freezers running and preventing major loss of food. And of course, with Pico’s dependable commercial propane service, you will always have a ready supply.

3. Propane is environmentally friendly

Customers are paying attention to your carbon footprint—paper straws instead of plastic or recyclable utensils and takeout containers—and they want to know you care as much as they do. That’s why, when it comes to environmental impact, propane gas is a good choice. It burns cleanly and produces minimal emissions. Propane also doesn’t harm soil or groundwater – an important factor when it comes to determining whether a fuel is “green.” Propane is also made in the U.S.A. About 90% of the United States’ supply of propane is domestically generated. Most of it comes from the processing of natural gas.

The Bottom Line

The restaurant business is very competitive. Pico’s experts can help customize commercial gas services to help your restaurant serve up a great experience for your guests. Whether you’re an arty bistro, a burger joint, or any other dining establishment, we’ll work with you to find the right delivery schedule—and adjust it as your needs change. Have multiple locations? We can set you up with wireless tank monitors so you can even track your use across your chain.

Get in touch with us and find out how we can help your restaurant thrive.

The Question Should Be: How Much Propane Do You Need?

propane Odessa, tx If you’re looking to add or switch to propane at your home, you may wonder how much propane you’ll need, what size tank to get and how long a tank of propane will last. It all comes down to how much propane you need. Since propane doesn’t have a shelf-life, it won’t degrade or spoil if you don’t use it in a set amount of time.

It’s all about finding that “Goldilocks” tank, with a capacity that’s “just right” to keep your propane appliances running without having to order refills too often. That’s where the expert team at Pico can help. We’ll work with you to make sure the tank you get is just the right capacity for the size of your home and the appliances and equipment that you’re using. We’ve got decades of experience with propane, and helping homeowners and businesses get set up with a propane tank and service that’s the perfect fit for their needs.

What are you using your propane for?

If you use propane to power an appliance or two, a 100-gallon tank should last about a month. If you use propane to heat your home, your water and run multiple appliances, you’ll probably need a fill-up every four to six weeks. That’s based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which finds the average American home uses about 750 gallons of propane each winter.

Of course, different appliances burn propane at different rates, regardless of how efficient they are.

Some appliances use a lot of propane—pool heaters, for example. On the other hand, a propane range only uses about 35 gallons a year. If that’s your only propane appliance, a 100-gallon tank will at least two years. A propane fireplace uses about 200 gallons a year.

A traditional water heater burns about 1.5 gallons of propane a day, or about 200-300 gallons per year. A tankless water heater will use between a half a gallon and two gallons per running hour—basically, how long you are using hot water, since they heat on demand.

How big is your home?

If you’re using propane to heat your home, the size of your home will have a big effect on how much propane required to heat it. A 500-gallon tank is the minimum size you’d need if you plan to heat a 2,000-square-foot home with propane. As your square footage moves toward 3,500-4,000 square feet, you will want a bigger tank.

Another factor is the size of your household: one or two people will use less hot water, run fewer loads of laundry and so on than a family of five.

When the power goes out

One of the many benefits of running your home with propane is that you can also use propane to power a whole house generator. When storms bring down power lines, a stand-by generator goes on automatically, and can run key equipment or everything in your home. A 100-gallon tank will run the average 5000-watt stand-by generator for about 36 hours.

The bottom line

If your propane storage tank is too small, you’ll need to order propane too often—or risk the cost and hassle of runouts. Getting a big tank means you’ll need fewer refills—and you may be able to avoid or lessen the sting from price spikes. But, a bigger tank is, well, bigger: you’ll need space to bury it. And if it’s above-ground, a huge tank can be less attractive.

At Pico, our pros can help assess your needs and make sure you get a tank that makes sense for your home. We can also set you up with convenient automatic delivery service and a tank monitor, so you don’t have to think about scheduling a delivery at all. Contact us for more information and to become a customer today.

Learn Why Renting Your Tank Is a Winning Proposition

gas tank lease Kenedy, tx Have you’ve added appliances or built an addition onto your home? You might need to buy a larger propane tank to meet your needs. Is your current tank old and can no longer be certified? Or maybe you’ve bought a new home: If the previous owners leased their tank and you want to switch to a different provider, you’ll need to buy a new tank or lease one from the provider you choose. These are the most common reasons you might need to think about getting a new propane tank.

You might be wondering if there are benefits to owning vs leasing a tank. The fact is, there are benefits and downsides to either option. But no matter what you need, Pico can help you navigate your choices and find the solution and the best tank for your situation.

Benefits of Leasing a Tank

When you lease a propane storage tank from Pico, you can rest assured we will provide safe, expert installation of your propane storage tank, make sure all your appliances are connected correctly, and provide a safety certification for your home. In addition, all the maintenance is our responsibility. We’ll take care of regular inspections, too. Since it’s our tank, you can be sure we’ll take good care of it for you. And if your needs change and you need a larger or smaller tank, we can help you with that, too. And when you need a propane refill, you can count on us for prompt, reliable, safe and courteous propane delivery.

Benefits of Buying a Tank

The only real benefit of owning a tank is that you aren’t obligated to buy your propane from the owner of the tank. And, if you sell your house, you can include the tank in the sale—and the buyer can choose their own dealer.
If you plan to switch propane suppliers often—which is a bit of a hassle if you think you may save a few dollars—then owning a tank could be right for you.

Downsides of Owning Your Tank

When you own your tank, you need to pay for maintenance and inspection, and you’re responsible for repairs if there’s a leak or other problem. And you will probably have to pay someone for this work, because care and maintenance of a propane storage tank is not generally a DIY job, other than visually monitoring for corrosion. You’ll also have to pay to replace the fuel you lose if there’s a leak—something you wouldn’t be responsible for with a leased tank. You also have to pay for a new tank if you need a larger one, and pay for the removal of the old one.

Why Size Matters

It might seem obvious why having a tank that’s too small is problematic: you’ll need to order propane too often—or risk the cost and hassle of runouts. But there are few upsides to having a tank that’s far bigger than you need. Sure, you’ll need less frequent fill-ups, but, a bigger tank is, well, bigger: you’ll need space to bury it. Or, if it’s above-ground, a huge tank can be less attractive. Today’s propane tanks are designed to withstand the elements for 30 years or more before they need to be replaced. Some aluminum and composite cylinders can last even longer. If you’re sure your needs won’t change, and you won’t need a larger tank in a few years, maybe it’s an investment you want to make. When you lease a tank from Pico, we can set you up with a bigger (or smaller) tank if your needs change with far less headache and expense.

The Bottom Line

The only real downside of leasing a propane storage tank is that you are committed to buying propane from the company you lease from. But when you work with a great, local company that puts customer service first, it’s likely you’ll be happy with your choice. There’s a reason homeowners and businesses across Texas choose the Pico team. We can make selection, installation and maintenance of your tank easy. And we’ll provide reliable propane delivery services, too.

Contact us for more information today—and ask about our convenient Keep Full automatic delivery service and wireless tank monitoring!

Let Pico Help Make Sure You’re Protected During Outages

generator installation Carrizo Springs, tx As extreme weather challenges our state both winter and summer, the grid is under more strain than ever. Losing power—and air conditioning—during intense stretches of heat like we’ve seen this summer can be more than uncomfortable. It can be life-threatening. That’s why more and more customers are asking about installing generators to ensure their homes can protect them from scorching heat and intense cold.

The good news is that keeping the power on is easy with a backup generator that runs on the same propane you use to power other appliances and equipment in your home. The even better news is that the pros at Pico can help you assess your needs and determine the right standby power equipment for your home and your budget.

Size Matters

When it comes to choosing the best generator for your household, size is one of the first considerations. Options range from “essential power” models that will run key equipment such as your refrigerator and heat or AC and lights in a specific area, to true whole-house generators that can manage the demands of most extra-large homes, even during extended outages. We can help you understand your choices and suggest the best size for your needs.

One of the factors to consider is the power you need to run whatever appliances or systems you need during an outage. Think about what will be most important to you in an emergency: refrigerator? Heating and cooling systems? Life support equipment? We recommend going for about 20% extra voltage beyond what your appliances require. If you think you’ll need more than 8000 watts of power, you will need a standby generator.

If you don’t want or need to power your whole home, or you don’t need to run multiple appliances at once, load management can give you all the power you need with a smaller generator.

What’s a Standby Generator?

A standby generator, also known as a backup generator, is propane-fueled power source that is directly wired to your home’s systems so that it comes on within seconds of a power failure to keep your lights on and your refrigerator, furnace and a/c running until the utilities get the lines back up. Propane generators are quiet, extremely efficient and clean-burning, with low emissions.

What Is a Portable Generator?

A portable generator is, well, portable. That can be useful for camping. But most portable generators run on gasoline. That means you need to get in line at the gas station to fill jerry cans when a storm is forecast, or you need a safe place to store gas on your property. Also, a portable generator needs to be set up and turned on—outside—after the power goes out, probably while a storm is still raging, maybe in the middle of the night. A standby generator runs off propane already stored at your home, and turns on automatically when the power goes out.

Is a Standby Generator a Good Investment?

Peace of mind is priceless. But when you do the math, a standby generator usually comes on top when it comes to dealing with the expense (and hassle) of a power outage. By keeping even just your essential systems running, a standby generator can help you avoid the cost of replacing spoiled food, the cost of a hotel room—if you can find one, and if the outage is in winter, prevent pipes from bursting.

Another thing: 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.

The Bottom Line

Adding a backup propane generator is a power move when it comes to protecting your family and your home.

Pico has the experience and training to install your generator correctly and connect the lines to your 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, too.) Contact us today for more information.

Find Out How They Can Boost Productivity—and Your Bottom Line!

propane forklifts Carlsbad, nm Just how efficient are propane-powered forklifts? They’re efficient on multiple levels. Not only are they energy-efficient, but they also help your business save time and money. Whether you need to get merchandise off trucks and onto shelves, or move building materials quickly and efficiently around worksites, forklifts are essential. Let our team show you why propane fueled forklifts will keep your operation running smoothly with less downtime—and significant savings over diesel or electricity. Here are just a few of the advantages of propane forklifts:

Propane Has the Power

Compared to electric-powered forklifts, Propane-powered forklifts perform more like gas-powered equipment. They are better at handling heavier loads and are more capable when it comes to inclines. In addition, they operate at 100% power as long as there’s propane in the cylinder. That’s just not the case with an electric forklift, which loses power as the battery drains.

Propane Is Cost-effective

No matter how cheap electricity gets, recharging an electric forklift takes eight hours—a full shift—to recharge. That means you need extra equipment, or plan for downtime. Plus, charging stations for electric forklifts take up space and require large up-front investments.

Diesel-fueled forklifts also require a diesel fueling station—which isn’t practical for most businesses.

Propane cylinders make refueling is quick and easy. All your employees have to do is replace the empty cylinder with a full one, and the forklift is back on the job.

With our cylinder exchange program, you have full cylinders on-site and ready to go. Our pros will meet with you to evaluate your needs and develop a customized program, then set you up with sturdy, safe storage cages for your cylinders. We’ll thoroughly train your workers in the safe handling of propane cylinders. And you’ll always have the cylinders you need, when you need them. When time is money, propane forklifts can boost your bottom line in refueling costs alone.

Propane is a Versatile Fuel

If you use forklifts, you probably use other equipment that can run off propane cylinders. In addition to forklifts, propane can be used to power a wide range of equipment, including:

  • welding equipment
  • commercial mowers
  • asphalt heaters
  • concrete grinders, saws, polishers, trowels, and dust extractors
  • pressure washers
  • small cranes
  • water pumps
  • floor buffers

Propane can also be used for a wide variety of agricultural applications, including crop warming and drying, weed control, and more.

Restaurants, resorts, hotels, country clubs and many other hospitality businesses use propane cylinders as well—for landscaping equipment, remote cooking, as well as outdoor dining and entertainment areas.

Propane forklifts are safe to use both indoors and outside. Diesel-powered forklifts cannot be operated indoors, and electric forklifts are inefficient outdoors and can’t operate in wet conditions. That’s why the best option for top performance indoors or out is a propane forklift!

Ready to Learn More?

Talk to Pico’s commercial propane team. They have the expertise and experience to understand your specific needs and can tailor a program that will grow with your business—and help your business grow, thanks to the efficiency and power or propane. From powerful performance advantages to time-saving convenience and efficiency, we’ll show you how propane forklifts can keep your operation running smoothly, with significant savings over diesel or electricity.

Contact us today to learn more!

Everything You Didn’t Know About the Difference Between These Two Gasses

gas appliances Alvin, tx

It could be reasonable to think that the only difference between propane gas and natural gas is how it gets delivered to your home. Natural gas comes from a local utility and is delivered to your home via an underground system of pipelines. Propane is stored in a tank at your home of business and is delivered in a truck from your chosen propane dealer. In fact, there are a lot of differences between the two fuels—and the value they provide.

Your first clue that propane and natural gas are more different than you might think is in the name, propane, which is more formally known as liquid propane gas or LPG. It’s a byproduct of natural gas that is compressed and stored in a liquid state. That’s why propane is usually measured in gallons. Natural gas is measured in therms, which is 100 cubic feet of gas, or about 100,000 Btus (British Thermal Units) of energy. And that’s where you start to see the big difference between the two.

Propane Burns Hotter

Technically, both propane and natural gas burn at the same temperature—3,560˚ Fahrenheit—but unit-for-unit, propane delivers much more heat energy than you get from natural gas.

One cubic foot of propane generates approximately 2,520 Btus of heat. One cubic foot of natural gas generates less than half as much, at about 1,012 Btus of heat. (One Btu is the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by 1˚ Fahrenheit.)

In basic terms, propane delivers more than twice the Btus of natural gas, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat or energy. Propane also generates more Btus than an equivalent amount of electricity. That makes propane a great value. 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 is Versatile

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.

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 washers and dryers, dishwashers, outdoor lighting, patio heaters, space heaters, pool and spa heaters, outdoor grills and more.

Propane Is More Reliable

You can use propane to heat your home and water, to cook, and more, no matter where you live. On the other hand, natural gas requires an expensive connection, that may not even be available where you live. You also are stuck dealing with a large natural gas utility for your gas supply. If something goes wrong with their infrastructure, even if it’s miles away, you could be without gas in your home for hours, or longer. If your home loses its natural gas service in the winter, you’re stuck with a cold home, cold food, and cold showers until the gas comes back.

With propane, your supply is right there at your home. When you have a propane-powered stand-by generator, propane will keep your home powered and safe through electrical outages, too. And our automatic delivery and wireless propane tank monitoring services mean you don’t have to do a thing, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll always have the propane you need to stay comfortable.

Propane Is More Environmentally Friendly

You might also be surprised to know that propane is a domestically sourced fuel that is one of the cleanest and efficient fuels around. Propane is named as an alternative fuel in both the 1990 Clean Air Act and the 1992 National Energy Policy. 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.

While natural gas does have lower emissions of carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides than other fossil fuels, it still emits them. What’s more, aging pipelines can result in methane leaks that are hard identify and even more challenging and expensive to repair—expenses that typically get passed on to the customers.

Ready for Propane?

Whether you are remodeling your existing place, shopping for a new home, building your dream house, or just looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, propane provides great value.

The experts at Pico have the experience and knowledge to answer all your questions and help make adding propane to your Texas home easy. We provide great propane services like on-time deliveries, smart payment plans to help keep costs manageable and so much more. Contact us to learn more and become a customer today.

Propane Grilling Safety Tips for Summer

hissing grill tank Albuquerque, nm One of summer’s pleasures is firing up the grill—whether you are serving weeknight chicken, corn and veggies, or a mess of burgers and dogs and ribs for a weekend crowd. All that grilling means you probably are pretty familiar with the workings of your propane grill. So when you hear a hissing coming from the connected propane grill tank, you will probably notice right away—and know that something isn’t right.

Safe, Not Sorry

The first thing to do is extinguish all flames–it may be a small leak. The good news, especially if it’s a hot, sunny day, is that the hissing sound you are hearing is because the pressure-relief valve is open.

Propane, which is stored as a liquid, will expand as it heats up. That’s why every propane storage tank—including the small portable cylinders you use with your grill, as well as the bigger tanks for your home—have a pressure-relief valve that opens as soon as the pressure reaches a specific point. The result is some hissing as the pressure is slowly released, preventing your tank from rupturing. (This is why propane storage tanks of any size are filled to 80% capacity, ensuring there is room for expanision.)

If the pressure-relief valve is open, do not try to close it. It will close automatically when the pressure returns to a safe level. You can help cool your tank by spraying it with cool water from a hose.

If the hissing continues, or it’s not a particularly hot or sunny day, you may have a leak . Disconnect the tank, place it in a well-ventilated area and let it empty out. Once it’s empty, you can return it. Do not transport a leaking propane cylinder.

Grill Safely

Before you get your barbecue party started, make sure you know these important facts about propane safety and how to protect your home and loved ones:

  • Never use your propane BBQ grill indoors or in an enclosed or covered area like a garage. Carbon monoxide can build up, which can be potentially lethal. Because carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless, you won’t be able to tell if there’s too much until it’s too late.
  • Place your grill on steady, level ground rather than a grassy, uneven surface.
  • Keep propane-burning equipment like grills away from anything combustible like fences, deck railings, siding, and materials that emit combustible fumes, such as paint or other finishing products.
  • Keep your grill, and propane deck or patio heaters, firepit, or fireplace at least three feet away from all doors and windows on your home as well as 10 feet away from any air intake devices. This reduces the risk of propane vapor getting into your home.
  • Never leave a lit grill unattended. Make sure you have everything you need before you start the grill or designate someone to bring supplies out to you.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher nearby and be sure you know how to use it.
  • If the igniter on your grill is broken, don’t use it. Consider buying a grill with automatic ignition.
  • Make sure the gas grill’s burner controls and the propane’s cylinder valve are turned off when you finish cooking.

Pico has convenient locations across Texas and New Mexico to refill or exchange your portable cylinder. Having a spare means the grilling never has to end due to an empty tank.

Still using that clunky old charcoal grill? Make the switch to a propane grill and enjoy instant start-ups, no chemical fumes, and precise temperature control. Stop by our showroom or contact us today for more information.

Ensuring Reliable Power Supply in Texas

generators Albuquerque, nm The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) have recently expressed concerns over the state’s reliance on renewable energy sources, particularly if solar and wind assets underperform. With the population booming and the economy flourishing, the demand for electricity is surging, surpassing the growth of conventional power generation sources.

A New Reality for the Texas Grid

While PUCT Chairman Peter Lake has acknowledged that operationally, the ERCOT grid is ready for summer, he also pointed out a new reality that Texas now faces:

“Data shows for the first time that the peak demand for electricity this summer will exceed the amount we can generate from on-demand dispatchable power, so we will be relying on renewables to keep the lights on,” Lake said in a recent statement.

He added that on the hottest days of summer, there is no longer enough on-demand dispatchable power generation to meet demand in the ERCOT system.

The data suggest the peak electricity demand this summer will exceed the capacity of on-demand dispatchable power sources. Consequently, the concern arises when the hottest days of summer coincide with low output from renewable sources, more than likely resulting in a shortfall in meeting the electricity demand.

Demand Outpacing Supply

Texas has experienced an extraordinary growth rate in population and economic activity, which has led to an unprecedented demand for electricity. Unfortunately, the rate at which Texas has been able to increase its on-demand dispatchable power supply has not kept pace. Between 2008 and 2022, Texas witnessed a mere 1.5% increase in on-demand dispatchable power generation while experiencing a staggering 24% population growth. This discrepancy between demand and supply is becoming increasingly pronounced, requiring alternative solutions to bridge the gap.

Anticipating Higher Peaks

The projections for this summer are worrisome. Estimates indicate peak electricity demand could be approximately 6,000 megawatts higher than the previous year. With the population growth and economic expansion, the surge in electricity demand is expected to continue its upward trajectory. This poses significant challenges for the existing power infrastructure, as meeting these elevated demand levels becomes increasingly difficult.

The Importance of Investing in Generators

Given the concerns expressed by the PUCT and ERCOT, it is now more crucial than ever to consider investing in a generator. A generator acts as a reliable backup power source, providing assurance during times of high demand or when renewable energy sources cannot meet electricity needs. Whether it is for residential use or to ensure the smooth functioning of businesses, having a generator can significantly mitigate the impact of power outages and ensure the comfort and productivity of individuals and organizations.

Facts about Propane Generators You Should Know

When it comes to choosing the right generator for your needs, there are two primary options to consider: portable generators and standby generators. While portable generators offer convenience and mobility, standby generators are often touted as the safer and hands-free choice. Standby generators are designed to automatically kick in during power outages, ensuring uninterrupted power supply to your home or business.

When it comes to fuel types, generators can be powered by gasoline, diesel, natural gas or propane. Among these options, propane generators stand out for offering a clean and independent fuel supply. Propane is a reliable and readily available fuel source that burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel, producing fewer emissions. With a propane generator, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you have a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution for your power needs.

What a Generator Can Do for You

A generator offers homeowners the peace of mind that comes with maintaining power during outages. It allows essential appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioning systems, and medical equipment to continue operating, ensuring the comfort and safety of families, particularly during scorching summer days when temperatures soar.

For businesses, a generator serves as a lifeline, protecting critical operations in sectors such as healthcare, data centers and manufacturing. By providing uninterrupted power supply, businesses can avoid costly downtime, protect productivity and maintain customer satisfaction. Additionally, a reliable power supply safeguards the reputation of businesses, ensuring they remain operational even during challenging times.

Generator Installation, Maintenance and Fueling in TX

If you agree that investing in a generator is a proactive step towards securing a reliable power supply and providing peace of mind, reach out to Pico Propane. Besides being experts with generator installation , we can also provide you with expert generator maintenance and reliable refueling too.

Contact us today to request a FREE, no-obligation estimate.

Energy Efficiency Is Key: Here’s How to Get It

water heaters Boerne, tx Did you know heating water accounts for between close to 20% of your energy costs? It’s true! And, it means that choosing an efficient water heater is one of the most important considerations you can make. Of course, any new water heater will be more efficient than older technology, but it’s important to choose the right option for your home and your needs.

You have two basic options. A traditional tank-style water heater keeps may gallons of water hot in a tank until you need it. A tankless propane water heater (also known as demand water heaters) instantly heat water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time.

Tankless water heaters are more expensive, but they are also much more efficient than a tank-type unit. Customers often ask us if they’re worth the investment—but it’s really about the return on the investment. Here’s what to consider:

Water Heating by the Numbers

  • Water heating can represent from 30% to 50% energy bills.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a tankless water heater uses less energy than a conventional water heater, which translates into annual savings of $25 to $100, depending on usage. I
  • If your hot water use is higher than average, a tankless water heater is only 8% to 14% more efficient than a storage-type water heater. But, installing small in-demand units at each hot-water faucet will yield energy savings of up to 50%.
  • Over a 13-year lifespan, a propane tank water heater costs $5,200 to operate compared with $8,245 for an electric tank water heater. A propane tankless water heater costs just $4,560 over 13 years.

The Pros of Going Tankless

  • Unlimited hot water: Traditional tank heaters can run out of hot water if you use a lot at once. Tankless water heaters use an electric pilot and a hot propane flame to heat water instantly on demand. There’s no tank, so it can’t hit empty.
  • Savings: Tankless water heaters save energy by instantly heating water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time. All that efficiency means you’ll also save money by lowering your energy costs by as much as 40%. And, we can help you take advantage of generous rebaits from Rinnai.
  • Flexibility: With no storage tank, a tankless water heater is small – even whole-house sizes take considerably less room than a 55-gallon tank. Most are about the size of a suitcase. It can also be wall-mounted, which means a tankless water heater can be placed just about anywhere in the house, including closets and crawl spaces.
  • Longer equipment life: The primary culprit in the limited lifespan of a conventional water heater is the corrosive water stored in its tank. Because it doesn’t store water, a tankless water heater can last a lot longer.

The Bottom Line

A traditional tank-style water heater is inexpensive to replace, but costs a lot more to run. That’s not a great return, even on a small investment. And it can’t really deliver enough hot water for more than two or three showers in a row, assuming no one is washing dishes or using hot water for anything else.

Ready to learn more about the benefits of a tankless water heater for your home? The pros at Pico can help you choose the best option for your needs and install it correctly, and provide maintenance and repairs. Enjoy energy efficiency and all the hot water you need with a new water heater! Contact us today to get started.

20 Ways Propane Can Help Your Business Thrive

commercial propane Mission, tx As a business owner, you need to walk a tightrope between delivering a great product or service at a good value while managing efficiency and controlling cost. That’s 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. Whether you need bulk propane, commercial deliveries, or a cylinder exchange program, Pico’s business-to-business commercial propane solutions can help your business thrive.

The Versatility of Propane

Propane is efficient, ecofriendly and safe. What’s more, it’s a cost-effective and versatile fuel for a wide range of commercial uses, including agricultural and landscaping uses; industrial, construction and warehouse needs, such as forklifts; hospitality and food service, and more.

Here are 20 great reasons to use propane in your business:

  1. Propane is better for the environment, and that’s more and more important to your customers.
  2. Compared to other heating fuels, including electricity, propane heats quickly and burns cleanly, and leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
  3. Propane costs on average 2.5 times less per Btu than heating with electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy
  4. Propane is nontoxic and can’t harm soil or groundwater.
  5. Propane has a very narrow range of flammability.
  6. Propane is efficient for heating, and provides consistent heat ideal for warming livestock barns, hatcheries and greenhouses.
  7. Clean-burning propane can power much of your landscaping and agricultural equipment, from commercial mowers to irrigation engines.
  8. Propane flame weeders deliver effective, organic weed control.
  9. Propane is an ideal fuel for crop drying.
  10. Propane fueled forklifts will keep your warehouse, construction, or industrial facilities running smoothly with less downtime.
  11. Propane-fueled forklifts can be used outdoors in wet conditions, unlike electric-powered forklifts.
  12. 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.
  13. Refueling is quick and easy with replaceable cylinders and our convenient cylinder exchange service. Recharging an electric forklift takes equipment out of service for hours, slowing down operations.
  14. Propane-powered forklifts also handle heavy loads better and are more capable when it comes to inclines.
  15. 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.
  16. Propane puts less wear on equipment, keeping it out of the shop and keeping your operations running smoothly.
  17. Professional chefs prefer gas for cooking.
  18. 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.
  19. Food trucks use propane to power mobile kitchens.
  20. Resorts and country clubs use propane for everything from commercial kitchens groundskeeping equipment, outdoor space heaters and firepits.

The Bottom Line

We understand that for business owners, the bottom line is always top of mind. We’re business owners, too, and that’s why Pico is committed to providing the same superb and attentive service to our commercial accounts as to our residential clients. Not only that, we have fair, transparent pricing so there are no surprises for you.

Contact us today for more information.

firepit gas tank Del Rio, tx Late spring is perfect for spending evenings around the firepit with your best buds, the family or just a special someone. But you don’t want the fire to fizzle out because you ran out of propane. So how long will a 20-pound propane tank last on your fire pit?

Of course, the answer depends on some variables—such as the Btus of your firepit. If you’re looking to do a lot of arithmetic, there’s a formula you can use, but unless you’re a math whiz and enjoy plugging in for X and solving for Y, we can offer some solid rules of thumb.

The short answer is that the typical 50,000 Btu firepit will burn for about seven hours on a 20-pound cylinder.

For perspective, the same amount of propane will get you about 18 to 20 hours of grilling time.

How Much Propane do I Have?

So how do you know how much propane you have if you aren’t starting from a full tank? Even though most of the portable cylinders that you’d hook up to your firepit 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 light the fire.

Here’s three ways to make sure you never run out.

  1. Weight Check: A 20-pound tank usually weighs about 17 pounds when empty (the “tare weight”). 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, you have 10 pounds of propane or about half a tank. Or, pick up a digital propane tank scale at your local hardware store. Most come with a digital app to let you know when it’s time for a fill-up. Have a different size tank? Check the cylinder for markings that let you know the “tare weight” or TW.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. Refilling or exchanging your cylinder is a snap. All you need to do is bring your empty cylinders to one of Pico’s 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.

Think Pico, Whether You’re Grillin’ Or Chillin’

Let the pros at Pico help you create a backyard oasis, perfect for grillin’ and chillin’ all season long. Stop by our showroom to see our broad selection of propane-fueled outdoor living products, including patio heaters, grills and more.

Make the most of spring and fall weather—and your outdoor spaces—contact the experts at Pico today.