warm thoughts


Written on: August 14, 2023

From the Propane Education & Research Council

By Anthony Carrino

When we purchased our home (we call it the Stone House) in the remote Catskills Mountains, we knew we would want to spend as much time outside as we do inside. In such a secluded and beautiful location, we want to be good stewards of the place we call home. It is essential for our family to use a clean energy source that is both efficient and reliable to power the indoor and outdoor spaces. Originally, the Stone House used oil to heat the home, but I wasn’t keen on using traditional oil because it doesn’t burn as cleanly as other resources. We are not near the local natural gas line, so that was not an option either. Propane quickly became the obvious choice for on-site energy that supports the many systems in our home.

With chilly mornings and evenings in Upstate New York, a dependable energy supply to warm the interior of our home was absolutely necessary. For outdoor living features like fire pits, patio heaters and outdoor kitchens, propane provides comfort, warmth and performance with greater efficiency and affordability. Propane even powers pool heaters, so we were able to extend the swimming season and enjoy our patio longer (check out the episode on BuildTV).

More and more families are expanding their outdoor living areas, but struggle to know where to begin. By choosing the right energy source, appliances, and systems, you can enjoy your outdoor space no matter where you live, even as the seasons change.

Below are the top questions to ask yourself before making an energy source decision.

What are the different energy costs in your area?

Energy costs are different across the country and can change based on peak times and other factors. It’s important to know how much power each outdoor element will require and what that could do to your monthly bill. With propane, homeowners can better estimate costs because a propane supplier comes to your home to fill your tank at a pre-determined cost per gallon. Plus, having on-site storage of propane is not only efficient, it’s reliable.

Enjoyable outdoor spaces are an investment. How can you get the most use out of your outdoor space?

Customizing a space to include things that make you happy is one of the best ways to ensure you get the most use out of it long-term.

One of my favorite additions to the Stone House is our heated pool because we can use it beyond just the hot summer months. Heating an outdoor pool is an investment, so it was important to get the most bang for our buck. Fortunately, propane-powered pool heaters warm pools and spas faster than electric heat pumps, plus they’re more efficient than electric systems and maintain temperature better. For example, our pool holds about 4,800 gallons of water and our 200 thousand BTU heater heats it up in just a few hours. Plus, it operates cleanly and takes up very little space despite its powerful performance. I can even control mine from an app on my phone – talk about handy.
How prone is your home to power outages?

At the Stone House, we lose power more than 12 times a year and because it is also a rental home, we want to be certain every amenity is fortified should the power lines go down. Propane was the only realistic option for reliable backup power. It’s cleaner than oil, wayyyy less expensive than battery (that was just cost prohibitive for me), propane powered back generator will also power my home much longer than battery backup, and ensures our home stays functional even when we’re not around.

For folks looking to maximize their outdoor space, propane is a great clean, efficient, and reliable option. With a low carbon footprint, propane is an environmentally friendly solution to power your outdoor oasis. Trust me, you’ll be blown away by the power it produces and how low-maintenance the equipment is.

Overall, the most important thing to understand when choosing an energy source is that there are many options that could work for you. What it comes down to is figuring out which energy source will work better and more efficiently over time.