A propane tankless water heater is so compact in size that it can easily be mounted on a wall. These units are about the size of a suitcase, which allows for installation in crawl spaces, attics, closets and other tight spaces.
But a lot of people wonder: how can something that small deliver a comparable amount of hot water than I received from my old tank storage water heater?
It’s really simple. When you turn on your hot water faucets or an appliance, a flow sensor will activate a propane gas burner to heat the water. The heating will continue until you turn off the faucet, which shuts off the gas burner
Isn’t that a better option than relying on your old storage tank water heater to heat water and store it for when you need it? This is not an ideal situation as the tank will definitely lose heat over time, especially if the hot water tank is located in an unheated space. And that costs you money!
By switching to a tankless model, your energy efficiency can improve by up to 40% and you’ll have access to virtually unlimited amounts of hot water – because you won’t have to worry about the tank draining and having to refill and reheat.
A tankless propane water heater has a higher upfront cost than a traditional storage tank water heater, and that holds some people back. But if you’re patient, you’ll discover that you can save a lot of money on your water heating bills over time. It’s estimated that you can save more than $150 a year in annual energy costs compared with electric tank models.
And although tankless water heaters technically cannot run out of hot water since they are designed to always heat up more water on demand, they can sometimes be overwhelmed with demand when there are multiple taps or appliances operating at the same time. This problem can be solved by installing more than one tankless water heater in your home to compensate for times of heavy demand.
It’s also important that you protect your investment and keep up with your water heater maintenance from year to year. You’ll need to have your tankless water heater serviced once a year.
There are two key factors that need to be considered when sizing a tankless water heater:
You will need a professional to figure out which fixtures you plan to operate simultaneously and how much hot water each will use.
So, depending on key factors like how many tubs and showers you have, how often you’re running appliances like a washing machine or dishwasher, and how many of these would be in use at once, you can customize your tankless water heater to suit your needs.
So why not heat as much water as you need without paying to keep it stored? Remember, with a tankless model, you benefit from a constant supply. Simply turn on the hot water faucet!
Read about the benefits of a tankless unit if you’re considering a water heater replacement. And be sure to find out how you can save money with rebates if you’re ready for your next water heater installation.
While there is currently no law that bans gas stoves anywhere in North Carolina, this issue has been the subject of debate in many parts of the country during the last few years.
Things began to heat up in 2019, when Berkeley, CA became the first city in the country to change its building code to ban gas connections in new buildings.
This action was fueled by concerns about climate change, since it was projected that about one-third of Berkeley’s emissions could be attributed to natural gas. This ground-breaking legislation encouraged dozens of other local governments to enact some form of zero emission building ordinances —mostly in California but none in North Carolina.
This year, the issue of gas stove bans reached a boiling point when the focus shifted from the environment to health concerns. This was due to recent studies that showed the potential for indoor air pollution hazards associated with the use of natural gas stoves. Unfortunately, rumors spread rapidly that the U.S. government planned to confiscate all gas stoves from people’s homes. This is false. At the moment, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is only seeking to obtain public input on hazards associated with gas stoves. The CPSC is the government agency that strives to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths associated with faulty consumer products.
So, what’s the truth about gas stoves? Do all of the folks in the Tar Heel State who enjoy cooking on their propane gas stoves have any reason to be concerned about future gas stove bans in North Carolina?
Last December, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study concluding that “12.7% of current childhood asthma nationwide is attributed to gas stove use…”
Unfortunately, the researchers seem to confine their description to just “gas stoves,” apparently not realizing that there are some key differences between a stove powered by natural gas and one that’s fueled by propane. (More on that soon).
Research that’s raised alarm bells over the potential risks involved in cooking isn’t new, however. All cooking—whether it happens on a gas, electric or wood stove—produces some particulate matter (PM). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines PM as microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems.
“Anything with a red-hot element is going to generate particles,” said Iain Walker, an engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab who studies home indoor air quality and ventilation. “That includes most stovetops, ovens and even small appliances like toasters. Frying and roasting cook methods both produce a lot more particulate matter than boiling or steaming.”
As an example, think about all of the smoke that’s produced when you’re searing a steak in a frying pan on your cooktop. It’s not healthy to be breathing that in because of all the particulate matter it contains.
This is why indoor air quality experts always advise using your kitchen range hood to vent particulate matter to the outside whenever you are cooking. If you don’t have a range hood, open a nearby window to achieve at least some ventilation.
An earlier study, done by researchers at Stanford and published in January 2022, revealed that all of the 53 natural gas stoves observed leaked methane gas, even when turned off. The research team also wrote: “In addition to methane emissions, co-emitted health-damaging air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) are released into home air and can trigger respiratory diseases.”
Nitrogen dioxide has been shown to contribute to breathing problems like asthma. A 2016 study at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that the simple act of boiling water on a natural gas stove produces nearly twice the amount of nitrogen dioxide than the outdoor standard established by the EPA. Considering that about one-third homes in our country use natural gas for cooking, that’s something that needs to be addressed.
Here is a critical point we have not seen addressed in either of these studies. Concerns have long been raised about methane leaks coming from natural gas beyond indoor emissions from stoves fueled by natural gas. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and it’s the main component of natural gas.
Now, compare that to propane. In its original form, propane is not a greenhouse gas and it’s considered a “green” fuel because of its low carbon content. Unlike natural gas, propane does not contain any methane gas!
Besides the type of gas used to power your stove, the major difference between a propane stove and a natural gas stove are the gas jet nozzles. Because propane is highly pressurized, the nozzles have much smaller holes. Natural gas isn’t pressurized as much as propane, so the nozzles have larger holes. That’s the reason propane and natural gas stoves can’t be interchanged as is. If you wanted to switch from a natural gas stove to one that’s fueled by propane, you would need to get a propane conversion kit for stoves. This is needed to replace the gas jets. This job is best left to a professional, however.
The Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) pointed out that there are competing studies about the adverse impact to indoor air quality that various types of stoves produce.
According to PERC, the Stanford study’s findings (noted above), are based on an extremely small sample size and unrealistic cooking conditions and don’t provide a clear picture of …particulate matter generated from electric cooking. (Electric stoves produce particulate matter…and emit dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde that can be toxic.)
PERC also cited The Lancet Respiratory Medicine abstract, which states: “…we detected no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.”
Tucker Perkins, PERC’s president and CEO, points to a 2020 study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that found that electric ranges cause household fires at a rate 2.6 times greater than gas ranges; civilian injuries at a rate 4.8 times higher; and civilian deaths at a rate 3.4 times higher.
“Am I suggesting we ban electric stoves? Of course not,” said Perkins. “Many factors affect things like indoor air quality and fire safety, and policymakers must weigh all of them.”
Perkins emphasized that work must continue to eliminate the presence of harmful emissions in and near homes.
“Rather than gas bans, states should focus on natural gas supply chains and mitigate potential hazards….This, along with proper installation, ventilation, and yearly checkups by qualified technicians constitutes a common-sense approach to addressing health and safety concerns around gas appliances.”
Did you know that versatile and highly efficient propane can not only heat your home, it can also power everything from water heaters, generators, and stoves to cooktops, fireplaces, clothes dryers, outdoor grills, space heaters, and more?
When you use propane appliances in your North Carolina home, you will see the savings. Because propane is such an efficient fuel, your energy expenses will go down and you’ll be getting even better value and comfort than you get from other heating sources.
Let’s take a closer look at the many propane appliances and other propane-powered equipment you can use to stay more comfortable while making your home more energy-efficient.
North Carolinians love the comfortable, consistent heat that’s delivered by a propane furnace, which produces much higher indoor air temperatures than electric heat pumps. This guarantees that you will stay warm and cozy during chilly winter nights.
Read about other options for home heating propane appliances.
Folks in North Carolina are also discovering the terrific benefits of creating memorable meals with their propane gas stove/cooktop. From more precise cooking control to quicker temperature changes – especially for lowering or shutting off – propane is the way to go. And as a bonus, your propane gas stove will keep on working even if you lose power. If you have a propane generator, you can keep all of your appliances running.
If you have an old wood-burning fireplace, it’s easy to convert to a safe, clean-burning propane gas insert. Here are five reasons to consider doing so.
Find out more about propane fireplaces.
Whether your laundry pile regularly looks like a mountain or a molehill, it’s easy to find a propane dryer with a capacity that works for you.
Quickly reaching the required temperature to dry clothes evenly, propane dryers generally operate for less than electric dryers. Plus, clothes get subjected to less wear and tear as a result of the moist heat of propane dryers. Your propane dryer’s moisture-sensing controls will automatically shut it off at just the right time.
Propane water heaters offer roughly double the water recovery rate of electric models, yet they typically cost up to 30% less to operate. They take up less space while fueling some of the most efficient water heating technologies currently on the market. Propane water heaters also offer a higher level of accuracy when it comes to temperature adjustment, along with providing more installation choices and size options. Read more about propane water heaters.
Finally, did you know you can also use a variety of propane appliances outside your home? Read about outdoor propane appliances.
Homes and businesses all over the U.S. will eventually be able to use renewable propane. Since it is molecularly identical to propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment. As usage of renewable propane increases, it will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, helping fight the devastating effects of climate change.
In fact, renewable propane is carbon neutral at the point of combustion. Recent research has determined that if one million European homes that currently exist beyond the gas grid used renewable propane, this would eliminate up to five million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
While it is not in common use yet, renewable propane gas has positioned itself to be a major part of the clean fuel conversation in the years ahead.
Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.
This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as that for propane generated from natural gas. And when compared to electricity, renewable propane has a considerably smaller carbon footprint. It can also reduce our reliance on aging, poorly maintained, fragile electric utility infrastructures.
Renewable propane can also be blended with propane and utilized in existing propane-powered equipment and vehicles, as well as cars that run on propane autogas.
This will reduce air pollution and diesel particulate matter substantially. Cleaner burning renewable propane can also help engines and equipment to run more effectively, resulting in longer life with less upkeep and fewer repairs. Carbon dioxide emissions reduction is just one of renewable propane’s environmental benefits. When burned in vehicle engines, it produces far less nitrogen oxide than gasoline. Nitrogen oxide is a contributor to acid rain and respiratory issues.
Businesses may also benefit from propane autogas tax credits at both the federal and state levels.
Current research could bring us to a place where renewable propane produces net-negative carbon emissions. One of the most promising ways for reaching this goal is with dimethyl ether (DME). Researchers can now synthesize this biogas from animal waste. This prevents the release of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the product can be blended with propane.
The 200,000 tons of American renewable propane currently made is only 0.1% of total propane production. The good news is that there is tremendous potential for growth as more resources are dedicated to renewable propane production. Also, since renewable propane is often a coproduct of biofuel, they will scale up together.
Production of renewable propane diverts used cooking oil and meat fats from languishing in landfills. In 2018, in conjunction with biofuel production, renewable propane production used the following as feedstocks:
That’s a lot of waste being put to good use!
Learn how renewable propane gas can benefit North Carolina.
Whether it’s a super-efficient furnace, unlimited hot water temperature-precise cooking stoves or reliable backup home generators to keep your power going, you can count on all of these benefits in your propane-powered home in the same way people do in homes supplied with natural gas.
With that said, let’s take a look now at some of the differences between these two widely-used home heating fuels.
Consumer surveys have shown that people like heating their homes and water with propane because they know they will have a reliable supply on hand whenever they need it. Having a propane tank on their property gives them the ability to store a plentiful amount that’s always ready for immediate use.
Natural gas customers don’t enjoy security like that. It seems as if every winter, you hear stories about interruptions in natural gas service somewhere in the country because of pipeline problems, caused by either cold weather, accidents or deterioration—or sometimes a combination of all three!
Propane has a distinct edge over traditional natural gas because of the way it’s transported and stored. After propane gets compressed into a liquid, becoming what’s called liquid petroleum gas (LPG), all of it gets stored inside large tanks until your local propane company delivers it to your propane tank so you can fuel all of your appliances without worry.
Liquid propane changes to gas before it leaves the on-site storage tank, getting released slowly and safely through pressure regulators. Compare that to the delivery system of natural gas. If an underground natural gas pipeline gets damaged—or other problems occur—hundreds and even thousands of customers may lose their supply until repairs are done.
As an aside, while the majority of natural gas is delivered in its gaseous form via pipeline in the United States, the growth in the international market for natural gas has given rise to the use of natural gas in a liquefied form, which is known as LNG, according to energy.gov.
Most propane suppliers have several ways to ensure that their customers will always have plenty of clean, dependable propane on hand, with programs like automatic propane delivery and other programs to make it easy to fuel your propane appliances. Unlike natural gas or electricity, propane customers can contract for and store their energy supply on-site for ultimate security.
With many companies serving the Tar Heel State, North Carolina’s propane consumers also have a range of local options for price, service, and terms. In contrast, natural gas and electricity providers have monopoly territories that don’t permit competition. These companies also may not lock in a customer’s service or supply.
Environmental issues have been raised about methane leaks coming from the processing of natural gas. (Methane is a greenhouse gas and the main component of natural gas.) In its original form, propane is not a greenhouse gas and it’s considered a “green” fuel because of its low carbon content. It does not contain any methane gas.
Here’s one more thing to feel good about: most of the propane consumed in the U.S. is produced in North America. So, every gallon of propane you buy contributes to America’s energy independence.
Propane is kept as a liquid under pressure for safe transport and is handled by highly trained professionals using equipment and techniques that are regulated by authorities at federal, state, and local levels. If damage occurs with a natural gas pipeline, the situation can turn tragic, as we saw a few years ago in Durham.
Propane also has a much narrower range of flammability (minimum and maximum burn temperatures) than natural gas; propane will not ignite when combined with air unless the ignition source reaches at least 920°F.
Are you interested in expanding your use of propane? Please reach out to your local North Carolina propane company for advice.
From time to time, a debate emerges over whether propane companies should be subjected to further regulations, such as being placed under the jurisdiction of state public utility commissions (like your natural gas, electric and water companies).
First, it’s important to emphasize that the propane gas industry is already highly regulated at the state and local levels. The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) works closely with state officials and state propane gas associations across the country to ensure that the safety and reliability of propane gas service does not become compromised. Additionally, existing fair trade practices and similar measures can be used to address problems that may arise.
According to the NPGA, the public utility model should not be applied to propane delivery service for a number of reasons.
For starters, unlike the utility companies, propane dealers are private businesses that do not operate as monopolies; they are not franchised by the state to work exclusively within a service territory awarded to them. That’s why propane companies should not be subjected to price regulations—in the same way that other products are not regulated, including fuel oil, gasoline, food and clothing.
Right now, propane customers remain free to shop around for a propane gas dealer that offers them the best price and service. Monopolizing propane companies and forcing them to play under the same rules as utilities could easily result in chaos, and adversely affect the quality of propane service that North Carolinians have come to rely on.
Although the propane industry is not regulated like a utility company, it’s still subject to oversight by many federal agencies. Here are some significant facts regarding propane’s federal regulation:
These federal actors play a major role in shaping how propane businesses operate, Additionally, the NPGA is committed to working with its members and government agencies to develop and refine its safety codes and procedures.
After you get a propane delivery from your local propane supplier or turn on your gas appliance, do you ever stop to wonder where that propane comes from in the first place?
Propane is created through the processing of natural gas and crude oil, and it’s a fuel that is largely a domestic product. In fact, about 90% of the American propane supply is generated in the United States. That abundant, right-at-home supply makes propane a reliable fuel choice for your North Carolina home or business, and all of its propane-powered appliances and equipment, throughout the year.
Some propane is created during the process of crude oil refining. During the stabilization phase of the refining process, heavier hydrocarbons fall to the bottom. But propane, being a lighter hydrocarbon, is at the top and it’s easily extracted.
Crude oil refining, however, actually plays a small role in the production of propane. The majority of propane is derived today from natural gas production. When we take natural gas out of the earth, it is a mix of different gases. One of these gases is propane.
To stop condensation from forming in natural gas pipelines, propane is extracted from liquid compounds as the natural gas is being processed. Butane is also extracted during this process. Propane, being much denser as a liquid than as a gas, is stored and transported as a liquid in this form of production.
If there are no gas pipelines installed near your home, you can’t use natural gas. Natural gas can only get to your home through an underground pipeline. But if something goes wrong with that pipeline, you can’t get any gas.
Propane gas is easier to move around because it gets compressed, or squeezed until it turns into a liquid. It is then put inside tanks and your propane supplier delivers it right to your home’s propane tank.
The compression of propane can be compared to the air in a car tire, which gets squeezed to about two or three times the normal air pressure. But the gas in a propane tank gets squeezed about 100 times more than that. This is why even a small tank can deliver a lot of propane gas to your home.
While renewable propane is not widely available yet, homes and businesses all over the U.S. will eventually be able to easily use it. Since renewable propane is molecularly identical to conventional propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment.
What is renewable propane gas made of? Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.
This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as that for propane generated from natural gas. And when compared to electricity, renewable propane has a considerably smaller carbon footprint.
Read more about renewable propane gas.
A ventless fireplace –also referred to as an unvented or vent-free fireplace— is powered by either liquid propane (LP) gas or natural gas that flows into a gas burner mounted in the fireplace. This is a specially designed burner that bursn the gas cleanly, leaving behind almost no exhaust, similar to how a gas stove in your kitchen works.
When ignited, the flames run through gaps in artificial ceramic fiber logs, providing you with the illusion of a real wood-burning fireplace.
One popular example is the vent-free gas fireplace log set, a self-contained system that can be installed in walls or even open areas, with no outlet to the outdoor air. These gas log units can also be installed in place of old and unused wood-burning hearths that connect to a chimney but where the flue has been sealed shut.
A ventless gas fireplace is a great choice if you are looking for the highest heating efficiency possible. As its name implies, this type of fireplace is not vented to the outside. Because of this, all the heat produced is contained in the living space. Ventless fireplaces are more energy efficient than vented fireplaces because no heat escapes up the flue, so you’ll save money on fuel.
If you decide on a propane gas fireplace insert in your existing masonry fireplace, you must choose whether to get vented or vent-free. Efficiency, fireplace location, local building codes, and fireplace appearance of the fireplace are all considered before the gas fireplace installation.
If you choose vented gas logs, you’ll see a lifelike flame that is comparable to a genuine wood fire. However, in order to get this look, an open chimney flue or damper is required, and a lot of the generated heat escapes through these venting outlets.
With vented gas logs, you’ll have excellent energy efficiency, but the flame may not be as lifelike or powerful so it doesn’t provide quite the same level of warmth. A thermostat regulates the temperature in vent-free log sets to maintain a constant environment. Because vent-free gas logs introduce moisture to the air, adequate ventilation is necessary to prevent mold and mildew growth.
And because vent-free gas logs do produce a small quantity of exhaust into your indoor environment, they are not appropriate for bedrooms or other small, closed spaces like bathrooms or RVs. Vent-free gas logs are also prohibited in some local building regulations. Before going ahead with your ventless gas fireplace installation, see if vent-free gas logs are permissible in your community.
If you’re on the fence about the purchase of a propane or wood-burning hearth or stove, keep the following in mind.
Convenience. With a propane fireplace unit, all you need to do is touch a button or flip a switch for heat on the spot. Whenever you do that, consider all of the time you have saved by not having to haul wood to your fireplace—not to mention cleaning out the ash afterward. Also with a propane fireplace, when you’re ready to leave the room, it’s just as easy as starting the fire. Just turn off the fireplace. That’s it. No smoke, no dangerous embers, no ashes, no soot, no problem.
The environment. A wood-burning fireplace emits up to 4,000% more emissions than a propane-fueled fireplace!
Efficiency and availability. Propane stoves and fireplaces are more efficient than wood-burning units, and they run on a fuel that’s readily available even in rural areas of our state.
Read more about propane vs. wood as a heating source.
When you rely on propane, your energy is secure, clean and made domestically. Propane suppliers in the Tar Heel State can give you the cleanest energy available to all North Carolinians everywhere!
Because propane is created through the processing of natural gas or crude oil, it is a fuel that is largely a domestic product. In fact, about 90% of the American propane supply is generated right here in the United States! That abundant, right-at-home supply makes propane a reliable fuel choice for your North Carolina home, including for your home heating system and all of your appliances, throughout the year.
If you use propane appliances instead of electric ones, you’re doing your part to help the environment. The average propane-powered home reduces carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30% compared to all-electric homes. What’s more, direct use of propane for space heating, water heating, cooking, and clothes drying reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50%.
Hands down, propane is better for the environment and for your home than electricity. Propane has such a low carbon content that it produces minimal emissions or air pollutants, making it a clean-burning energy source that can reliably heat water, fuel multiple appliances, and even power vehicles.
Consider this: it takes three units of source energy to get just one unit of electricity into your home. That means more coal often has to be burned to produce electricity. This generates even more carbon emissions to get electricity to homes.
Compare this to propane, which contains virtually no particulate matter–a known carcinogen–and releases significantly less carbon dioxide (CO2) than other energy sources.
Homes with propane-fueled furnaces also emit up to 50% less nitrogen oxide and 82% less sulfur oxide than technologies fueled by electricity. These types of emissions contribute to acid rain and cause respiratory ailments.
Read more about propane vs. electricity here.
If you want to increase efficiency, save on energy costs and add value to your home, why not invest in a new appliance (or two?) North Carolina rebates make it easy and affordable.
Don’t wait! Installation rebates for new propane gas equipment are available only while funds last. You can save even more when you install a qualifying Rinnai propane product and add a manufacturer’s rebate to your savings.
To learn more about rebates, go here and then contact your propane service company for additional details.
Without question, propane is one of the safest fuels you can use in your North Carolina home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your propane gas appliances. The best way to keep all your propane equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required.
Here are five safety tips to keep in mind.
Read more about propane safety.
Source: Propane Education and Research Council.