The Best Way to Avoid Propane Runouts Also Brings Convenience

Have you ever run out of propane? Then you know what a hassle it can be. There’s the inconvenience, of course. There’s the expense of both an emergency fill up as well as a leak test for safety. And even if your tank isn’t completely empty, you’ll can experience problems. When propane levels get too low, air can get into your system, which can lead to expensive damage. In general, you shouldn’t let your tank’s propane level go below 20%.

Lots of our customers enjoy our automatic delivery service to eliminate the worry of a run-out. But automatic deliveries aren’t the best solution for everyone. If your propane use isn’t very consistent, we can’t use our algorithm to predict your needs. And many of our customers travel often, or only use their home seasonally or on weekends, especially those along the shoreline—which means their propane use fluctuates. They’ll appreciate the real-time accuracy of our wireless propane tank monitoring service—and other benefits, too.

How Does a Tank Monitor Work?

Wireless tank monitors track the level of propane in your tank in real time, and transmit your usage via wireless cellular technology. When the tank gauge reaches a pre-set level, the monitor alerts us—and you—directly via the wireless mobile app.

If you have a second home, a wireless tank monitor means you don’t have to wonder about how much propane is in the tank. Combined with automatic delivery, you don’t even need to think about ordering a fill up before you arrive.

If you rely on propane for heat in your second home, you don’t want to risk a runout in winter. If you lose heat and it’s cold enough, water in your pipes will start to freeze—and expand, resulting in cracks or breaks. A tiny crack of just an eighth of an inch will leak more than 250 gallons of water a day, and burst pipe will release a real flood.

In addition to timely alerts, the app gives you even more control and insight. You can use it to easily track and adjust your monthly energy consumption—and save on energy costs. For example, if you use your hot tub or propane hearth more than usual, you may see a spike in your usage.

Monitor Multiple Tanks

The app makes wireless tank monitoring great for people who are managing a rental property, an air bnb, or multiple properties. Propane use can fluctuate a great deal when different people, with different habits, are using a property over the course of a month. Combined with automatic delivery service, the app lets you know when deliveries are happening, and how often. No need to go and check the tank gauges of your different properties.

Which Is Right for You?

If you have regular habits and your propane bills are pretty level, you are likely fine opting for automatic delivery service. Just remember to let us know if you’ll be away for an extended period or if you add new propane equipment.

But if you want total peace of mind and zero hassle, a wireless tank monitor is a smart choice.

The bottom line is that a propane run-out can be more than a nuisance. It can be a very expensive mistake. With tank monitoring, you can eliminate the chance of having one while also saying goodbye to the hassles and headaches of managing your propane deliveries.

What’s in it for us? It makes things easier on our end too. We’re better able to plan deliveries, using the most efficient routes. That saves time and money, savings we can pass on to you.

A wireless tank monitor is easy to install, and we can have you ready to go in a matter of minutes! Contact us today to find out more about the benefits of wireless tank monitoring and how we can get you set up—100% hassle-free.

The weather is finally starting to warm up, and you know what that means. Grilling season is just around the corner and will be here before you know it. That means now is a great time to check propane tank refill off your to-do list so you’re ready to cook up some feasts and festivities for your family and friends. You don’t want to find yourself without enough gas the first time you’re itching to get out and use the grill.

Hocon Makes Grilling with Propane Easy

At Hocon, we make grilling with propane even easier than it already is. Here’s why:

Removing & Replacing Propane Gas Cylinders

Before you bring your 20-pound propane grill tank in for a refill, let’s review how to safely remove and replace the gas cylinder on your propane grill. To remove the cylinder, take the following steps:

  1. Double-check that your grill is turned off.
  2. Find your propane cylinder. Depending on the design of your grill, it may be behind a door.
  3. Note the location of the cylinder’s tank valve and the grill’s pressure regulator.
  4. Before you disconnect the pressure regulator, make sure that the tank valve is closed by turning it all the way to the right.
  5. With the tank valve now closed, unscrew the threaded pressure regulator by turning it counterclockwise. It’s now safe to remove the propane cylinder. Depending on the design of your grill, the tank may be held in place by a restraining bolt or screw. You’ll need to loosen it to remove the tank.

When it’s time to reconnect your propane tank, simply reverse the steps above. Make sure that the tank valve is closed when you reconnect the pressure regulator. Note: replacement propane cylinders often come with a plastic safety cap over the tank valve assembly. Just remove it.

Get Your Refills at Hocon

Once you’ve safely disconnected your gas cylinder from your grill, bring it to Hocon, and we’ll refill it. Here’s what to do and expect when you arrive with your empty cylinder:

Come to Hocon

Hocon offers propane refills in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

Contact Hocon today to learn more about cylinder refills and our cylinder delivery service.

Should You Replace Yours?

Water heaters are often one of the underappreciated appliances in a home. They do a lot for a household, but few people give theirs much thought until something goes wrong.

Take a moment to appreciate how much your water heater does. It provides warm water for bathing and washing hands (and Covid-19 taught us all how important hand-washing is). Additionally, you use warm water for washing dishes, laundry, and other household chores.

Your water heater does so much, it’s responsible for about 20% of your energy bills (according to the US Department of Energy). And during winter months like these, your water heater has to work even harder because it has to heat colder water. And if you have a water heater with a tank in your basement, your water heater has to work harder not only to heat the water initially but to keep it at the desired temperature in your colder basement.

At Hocon, we provide water heater installation for our customers in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. We offer propane tankless water heaters as well as storage tank water heaters that are efficient and reliable.

If it’s time to replace your old water heater, trust Hocon with the installation. We recommend the cost-saving benefits of having a propane water heater. On average, customers who switch from electric to propane for water heating save up to $240 a year. We also stay up to date on rebates that can help lower the cost of your new water heater.

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

The average water heater lasts about 10 years with proper maintenance. With proper maintenance and some luck, yours may make it to 13. But once your water heater hit the 10-year mark, you should monitor it closely for signs it’s time to replace it.

Is It Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

When a water heater fails, it can cause thousands of dollars in water damage. And going without hot water is terrible—especially during the winter. Don’t wait until your water heater fails to replace it. You’ll save yourself stress and money if you’re proactive and replace your water heater before it lets you down.

Fortunately, water heater breakdowns don’t usually happen out of the blue. There are usually some clear warning signs.

Here are five signs it may be time to replace your water heater:

  1. An energy bill increase. If there’s an increase in your energy bills that can’t be explained by an increase in fuel prices or an increase in your hot water usage, then your water heater may be to blame. Water heaters lose efficiency with age. Upgrading to a new highly efficient water heater will save you money over time.
  2. Leaks or rusty water. If you notice puddles under your tank or if it starts producing rusty water, that’s a sign of corrosion. This problem is particularly common with steel tanks. Never ignore leaks or rust. These are signs your water tank is probably very close to the end of its life.
  3. Hard water stains. Hard water stains show up as white marks on your silverware and glassware after they’ve gone through the dishwasher. It’s usually an indication of a lime buildup in your tank. And that can decrease your water heater’s efficiency and shorten its lifespan.
  4. Strange noises. If you hear growling or gurgling sounds coming from your storage tank, there’s probably a build-up of sediment. This is not something to take lightly. Ignoring it for too long will lead to serious problems that require expensive repairs or premature replacement.
  5. The age of your water heater. A well-maintained water heater should last approximately 10 years. However, even if your water heater isn’t showing any signs of trouble, it could still be a good idea to replace it. Your new water heater will run more efficiently and reliably—saving you money on your energy bills and giving you peace of mind.

You Can Rely on Hocon

If you live in Danbury, Guilford, Norwalk, Shelton, Suffield, Torrington, Waterbury, or one of the surrounding towns in Connecticut, New York, or Massachusetts, trust the experts at Hocon when it’s time to replace your water heater. And be sure to ask us if you qualify for any money-saving rebates.

Contact Hocon today or visit one of our showrooms (by appointment only) to learn more about the water heaters we sell.

Leave It to the Pros!

A lot of families are under more financial pressure these days than they’ve been in the past. It’s made a lot of us look for any way we can cut costs and save money to help our budgets. That includes doing more things for ourselves. And while there are lots of things you can safely do yourself in and around your Connecticut home, repairing your propane appliances isn’t one of them. Fixing a propane appliance requires a lot of training and expertise. If you try to fix your propane gas appliances yourself, you could be putting the health and safety of your household in serious jeopardy. Additionally, you could end up doing additional damage to your equipment.

Don’t try to DIY you gas appliance repairs. Trust the expert technicians at Hocon with any propane appliance repair you need.

Stay Safe

Hocon cares about the safety of our customers. That is the primary reason we say propane appliances should be installed, maintained, and repaired by a trained professional. Without the proper training, you could put yourself in harm’s way or cause additional damage to your equipment. Leave it to the professionals instead.

A professional has the knowledge and the right tools to deal with the advanced technology used in most modern propane appliances. Many of those tools aren’t available at your local home improvement store. A trained professional will also be better able to identify and address any safety concerns you might miss as an amateur. Trust us, the money you might save trying to do it yourself isn’t worth the potential harm a mistake could lead to for you or your family. And chances are you’ll end up having to call in the pros anyway if you make the problem worse.

Know What You Don’t Know

Even if you like a challenge or think the repair looks very straightforward, we don’t recommend the DIY approach to propane appliance repairs. Most propane appliances contain delicate parts that require expert handling. Watching a few tutorial videos online is no match for the extensive training the experts at Hocon have undergone. And they work hard to keep up with the latest technology. This allows them to perform their work as efficiently and safely as possible on any propane appliance.

As someone without professional training and experience, you’re much more likely to make a costly or dangerous mistake when trying to repair your propane appliances yourself. If that happens, you’ll still end up needing to call a professional to fix the original problem plus any new problems you created. Your attempt to save money could end up costing you more in the end. It’s not worth it, especially from a safety perspective.

Protect Your Propane Appliances

As with most of the things in your home, your propane appliances are an investment. Protect that investment by always choosing a professional to make any repairs. And consider one of the worst-case scenarios, what if your failed attempt to repair your appliance makes it necessary to buy a new one when a professional could have fixed it? Furthermore, trying to repair your propane appliance yourself could void its warranty.

Let Hocon Handle It

For the safety of everyone in your household, and for a better outcome, don’t try to repair your propane appliances yourself. Let Hocon handle it. Our staff is expertly trained and will get your appliance back up and running again or let you know if it’s time for an upgrade.

Hocon has six strategic locations that serve our customers in Connecticut and parts of Massachusetts and New York.

Contact Hocon today or visit one of our service centers to learn more or request a repair.

Choose Wisely

Living in Connecticut, you need a heating system that can handle the task of keeping everyone in your household comfortably warm no matter how cold it gets. This winter has already brought some extreme winter weather to our area. Hopefully, you didn’t get left out in the cold.

Propane can play a lot of important roles in your home. During the warmer months, propane can power your grill, deck heater, and pool heater. All year long it can power your clothes dryer, water heater, and cooking range. That’s because one of propane’s greatest qualities is its versatility. And propane’s uses don’t stop there. Propane is also a highly efficient and affordable option for home heating. And when you compare propane heating to electric heating, you’ll find that especially for someone living in a region that gets as cold as ours does, propane is the better choice.

Propane for Home Heating

Propane is an extremely efficient and cost-effective method for heating a home. A high-efficiency propane furnace is capable of delivering all the warm air you need to be comfortable inside your home no matter how bitterly cold it gets outside.

Comparing Propane to Electric Heating

When you compare propane heating to electric heating in terms of things like performance and efficiency, propane comes out on top. Let’s look at some of the was propane heating compares to electric heating:

Hocon Knows Heating

At Hocon, we’re well trained and very knowledgeable about all things propane. We provide expert heating services including heating system installation and repair, propane tank installation, and reliable fuel deliveries. Our six locations serve customers in Connecticut and parts of Massachusetts and New York.

Contact Hocon today or visit one of our showrooms to learn more about propane heating.

Every winter brings extreme weather to Connecticut, along with widespread power failures that leave many people without heat, sometimes for prolonged periods of time.

Now, New England’s Independent System Operator (ISO New England) has warned of a high risk of rolling blackouts in our region this winter. Plus, supply rates for both Eversource and United Illuminating are set to double starting in January—that’s right, double.

Those are just a couple of the reasons why it’s so alarming that the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is advocating for the conversion all homes and businesses to electricity from natural gas, heating oil and propane.

Converting an entire home to electricity is hugely expensive — it can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. It puts even more strain on the fragile electric grid. And it puts all our carbon reduction eggs in one expensive, untested basket.

We’re seeing this play out in California, where residents were warned to reduce electric use a few months ago for fear of blackouts.

Propane already creates significantly less emissions than electricity, including for motor vehicles. Propane autogas, which we use for most of our fleet, is a proven technology and a far better option for the medium duty vehicle sector when moving people and goods. There has also been great progress in developing renewable propane. And biofuel (heating oil blended with renewable biodiesel) is even further along.

Of course, this important work may not continue if lawmakers in Connecticut and elsewhere stifle innovation and force full electrification. Propane is a vital part of a balanced energy plan that we need in order to address the threat of climate change without financially hammering our citizens or sabotaging our energy reliability.

David Gable, President

Propane has long been considered one of our cleaner fuels. Renewable propane gas promises to take that a big step forward. 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.

Renewable propane is considered carbon neutral, and we could soon reach a place where renewable propane produces net-negative carbon emissions, which is already happening in Europe.

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. That’s because renewable propane produces the same robust propane heat that effectively warms your home and water now and cannot be matched by electric systems.

Read more about renewable propane.

The surge in all energy prices has been painful for everyone. A few months ago, natural gas hit its highest price in years, influenced by the war in Ukraine. Electric supply rates in Connecticut are set to double in January.

Diesel fuel (which is identical to heating oil) is experiencing its tightest supply in decades, largely because we have lost so much refinery capacity in the United States. As a result, both diesel and heating oil have risen far more than gasoline.

Propane has been a bright spot

Propane’s price has increased far less than virtually all other fuels, and right now, supplies are in good shape. But that doesn’t mean we are out of the woods yet.

Hocon Gas has been keeping customers safe and warm for 70 years. There are many things we can’t control. But you can rest assured that we’ve been through tough situations before, and we will always prioritize our existing customers before anyone else.

Andrew Simon is the general manager of Hocon’s Guilford office. He’s been a part of the team for nine years, helping Connecticut homeowners save money with high-efficiency home equipment.

Q. How does a tankless water heater work?

A: Essentially, a tankless water heater superheats water on demand. Instead of maintaining a large tank of water at a certain temperature, it only turns on when a hot water tap is opened in your home.

Q. How do they save you money?

A: It comes down to operating costs. You aren’t utilizing as much fuel to get the hot water you need. You’re not using propane to heat a tank of water while you aren’t using it. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless water heaters are 24% to 34% more efficient than tank models.

Q. What other benefits do tankless water heaters offer?

A: Tankless water heaters are great for families with continual usage requirements and who need to run multiple appliances simultaneously or right after another.

Q. Is there a particular tankless water heater you recommend?

A: I recommend the Rinnai RUR Models. These systems are incredibly easy to install with cost-effective and efficient venting. You can program recirculation patterns to anticipate when you generally need hot water. They’re great space savers since they require no floor space. Plus, they last roughly twice as long as storage tank water heaters and carry a warranty of double the standard length.

With rebates, the price difference for installing a tankless water heater is lower than ever. But to get the best value, you must plan ahead and begin the process before your current water heater breaks down. Contact us today for a free estimate.

Read more about tankless water heaters.

Michelle Laurendeau, regional manager of branch office administration

As regional manager of branch office administration, Michelle Laurendeau wears many hats. She coordinates with all of Hocon’s offices to make sure they have what they need and are working in tandem. Michelle is also the go-to person for our company’s software needs.

Michelle joined the Hocon family 26 years ago as a customer service representative at the Waterbury office. She became the office manager and eventually rose to her current position.

“Essentially,” she says, “my role is to ensure a uniform standard of quality for our customers.”

What has kept Michelle at our company for so long? She says it’s the family environment and the fact that management wants to take care of both Hocon employees and customers.

Outside of work

For over a decade, Michelle has worked with rescue dogs, getting them out of kill shelters and finding them homes. She is a founding board member and treasurer for Fetching Hearts Rescue. This organization helps abused, neglected and abandoned dogs and promotes responsible pet ownership. Today, she has two rescue dogs herself.

“When you foster a dog, you save two lives,” she says. “You rescue one dog and make room for another.”

If you’re interested in fostering a dog, volunteering or donating to Michelle’s organization, please go here.

We hope you had as much fun as we did in celebrating our 70th anniversary this year. We’ve already given out thousands of gallons of oil and propane to customers through our various contests, along with a Weber grill. Thank you for your loyalty! We always appreciate you as Hocon Gas customers.

Here are comments from some of our long-term customer contest winners, who participated in our summer contest. Each received 150 gallons of heating fuel at 70-cents per gallon.

“Part of our family history”

“We’ve been customers of Hocon since 2007 but my grandparents were customers in the mid-1950’s. I remember as a little girl seeing Hocon deliver gas to their home. They were very loyal Hocon Gas customers for many, many years. That’s the reason why we became Hocon customers when we had you install gas fireplace logs in our home. Since then, we have converted our home to all gas and continue to be a loyal Hocon customer. Thank you Hocon for continuing to be a part of our family history.”
—Bonnie J., Old Saybrook CT

“No complaints for 37 years”

“We started using Hocon in 1985. I have had absolutely no complaints in at least 37 years.”
—Pamela R. Branford, CT

“We wouldn’t consider going anywhere else!”

“From the nice people who answer the phone, to the delivery drivers, to the technicians, Hocon is a wonderful company to do business with…We had a new Rinnai propane heater installed recently, and the technician was knowledgeable and friendly, and installed it very quickly. Whenever we call for a refill, it is delivered very quickly! Thank you Hocon! We really appreciate your service. We wouldn’t consider going anywhere else!”
—James Q. Torrington CT

“A long, long time”

“Hocon has kept me supplied with propane reliably for a clothes dryer, fireplace logs, and water heater for a long, long time. I’m really happy with their operation.”
—Mark W., Norwalk

“Since 1986”

“We have been with only one propane company since 1986: Hocon Gas. They have always been reliable, courteous and competitively priced.”
—Harvey and Caryl S. Norwalk CT

“Best service, no complaints”

“We’re customers since 1985 when we had propane installed in our home in Danbury. We moved to Brookfield and had propane installed again. Best service. No complaints. Hope to be customers for another 37 years.”
—Tracy B. Brookfield

We are so honored to provide service to these wonderful customers and many more. As a community-minded family business, we are always looking for ways to give back. Please check our Facebook page for more fun contents coming up in the future.

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