12 Propane Grilling Safety Tips

It’s grilling season!

Antsy to fire up your FAVORITE CHARBROILED RECIPE? While grilling season is all about having fun with loved ones outdoors, it’s important to take proper safety measures before your first cookout. Outdoor grills have become very popular, and propane grills, in particular, come with their own set of precautions. To start your season off right, brush up on some important propane grilling guidelines below.

Purchasing your cylinders

  • Check all propane cylinders for dents or scratches before purchasing. Indentations can indicate potential leaks. 
  • While transporting cylinders in your car, be sure to keep them upright and secured in place. Cylinders rolling around in your trunk or backseat can result in propane leaking into your vehicle. 
  • Note that most states have restrictions on how many cylinders can be transported by motor vehicle at once. It’s always a good idea to review local laws and restrictions with your local fire department.

Filling your cylinders

Whether you’re heading to your cabin or campsite this weekend, or just staying home and firing up the grill? We’ve got Propane fill stations all over Northeast, WI. Follow the link to a map of all our LP Fill stations: https://bit.ly/lpdispenser

Using your propane grill

  • Before you begin, take a few minutes to re-familiarize yourself with your grill’s manual. Double check the proper procedure for connecting a cylinder and for igniting your particular model.
  • Use your grill in an open area with good clearance above it. Remove any combustible materials that may be nearby.
  • Propane has an odor added to it that is similar to that of natural gas, so use your “sniffer” to detect signs of leaking.
  • Keep the lid of the grill open while lighting to avoid flash burns.
  • While operating the grill, maintain site lines and watch for any flare ups.
  • As a bonus safety precaution, have a water bottle nearby just in case any food or grease should catch fire.

Clean up and storage for next season

  • While packing up your grill, clean off any food residue or remaining grease to avoid any future flare ups or fires.
  • For long-term storage, keep cylinders upright, secure and out of reach for children.
  • Most states have fire codes for how many cylinders can be stored in one place. Your local fire department will have specific guidelines for your area.

For any other questions or concerns about propane safety, you can check out the PROPANE EDUCATION AND RESOURCE CENTER’S website or the CHS Larsen Co-op Propane site.

By: SCOTT PEARSON Director of Risk & Asset Development, CHS Propane in PROPANE

Image courtesy of FLICKR USER.

CHS Larsen Delivers $5,000 Grant to Iola Car Show

Joe Opperman, executive director of Iola Car Show Inc. and Pat Brosseau, energy department manager of CHS Larsen

Historic nonprofit event—a source of Wisconsin pride—to use grant to improve event grounds

The Iola Car Show, an annual nonprofit event for auto enthusiasts, was honored as a source of pride to the community by CHS Larsen and Cenex®, the energy brand of CHS. As part of this award, the Iola Car Show received a $5,000 grant to further develop its event grounds for future celebrations.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the car show was replaced with the first-ever Rally for Iola that occurred on July 11. Rally for Iola was designed to bring the community together in uncertain times. It featured a car parade through the show grounds followed by a scenic 60-mile road cruise through Waupaca County. Shortly before the event, the $5,000 grant was present to Joe Opperman, executive director of Iola Car Show Inc. by Pat Brosseau, energy department manager of CHS Larsen. The grant money will be used for new siding on the event’s Toy Barn, a signature landmark of the show.

“We were thrilled to be the recipient of the Hometown Pride Grant,” said Joe Opperman, “this money is being used to maintain a key feature of the show for attendees to enjoy for years to come.”

Set to resume the annual celebration in 2021, the Iola Car Show is the largest car show and swap meet in the country. The event attracts more than 115,000 car enthusiasts each year and raises money to support its community. Since 1984, the nonprofit event has given back more than $8.4 million to more than 130 different local organizations and projects, including youth sports teams, Boys and Girls Clubs and conservation organizations.

“The Iola Car Show has been a monumental event to our community for close to 50 years,” said Brosseau. “Although we’ll miss it this year, we’re proud to support the continuation of such a unique event for years to come.”

The grant was provided through an initiative that encourages Cenex dealers, retailers and distributors to share stories about what makes their local communities special. In its second year, the initiative will grant more than $100,000 to Cenex communities this year.

“The Cenex brand is committed to supporting and celebrating what makes hometowns across America special,” said Mark Vanderlinde, communications manager at CHS. “We are proud of our Cenex dealers, like CHS Larsen, who play an active role in enriching their community’s culture, no matter the circumstances.”

About Cenex

Cenex, the energy brand of CHS, provides high-quality refined fuels through nearly 1,500 locally-owned convenience store locations across 19 states. Consumers depend on Cenex fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products to power homes, businesses and communities. CHS, Inc.(www.chsinc.com), which owns the Cenex brand, is a leading global agribusiness owned by American farmers across the United States with domestic and international operations including energy, agronomy, grain trading and food processing.

Plan Ahead to Purchase Cenex® Grease this Summer for Gift Cards

Starting June 15 through August 14, 2020, end-users can earn VISA® gift cards on qualifying Cenex® grease products. End-users will receive a $15 gift card for every qualifying 4-10 pack or 35-pound pail purchased during the qualifying time frame.

Customers may also receive a $50 VISA gift card for every qualifying 120-pound keg purchased during the promotional window. Qualifying grease products include:

  • HD Moly Xtreme
  • Poly-Xtreme®
  • Maxtron® EP
  • Blue Gard 500+™
  • Molyplex 500+
  • Maxtron® FS
  • Red Protect XT™
  • ML 365®
  • Fluid Gear Grease
How it works:
  1. Provide a copy of the redemption form to the end-user to submit their claim. You can get these forms from your Certified Energy Specialist
  2. End-user completes the Summer Grease for Gift Cards redemption form, attaches required receipts, and mails it to CHS post-marked no later than September 16, 2019.

Questions? Contact your CHS Larsen Co-op representative.

Cenex® Premium Diesel Additives: Injection Stabilizer and Demulsifiers

Cenex® Premium Diesel has a more complete additive package for a more complete burn. Every gallon contains a tailored blend of seven additives that are terminally injected to ensure the highest standards of quality and performance.  

As part of the Cenex Premium Diesel education series that kicked off in September, we will review each of the seven terminally blended additives that are found in Cenex premium diesel fuels, starting with the injection stabilizer and the demulsifer.

Injection Stabilizer

The injection stabilizer addresses fuel oxidation problems that can cause gum formation. When gummed fuel passes through the fuel system, it clogs fuel injectors and filters which leads to unnecessary downtime. Cenex Premium Diesel contains injection stabilizers that prevents the formation that builds deep inside high-precision injectors and keeps the fuel from coking. 

Demulsifiers

One of the most problematic sources of mechanical and filter failure is water, it is critical to separate and remove water from the fuel system. Cenex Premium Diesel contains demulsifiers that force water to the bottom of the fuel tank for easy removal. Both new and old equipment contain a water release valve that is intended to remove water from fuel storage tanks. Engine manufactures recommend this to reduce and eliminate moisture-contaminates in fuel from passing through the combustion chamber.

Competing products may claim that emulsifiers are better at controlling moisture than demulsifiers. Emulsifiers just “break-up” the water to pass through the fuel system instead of forcing it to the bottom for removal. Modern diesel engines that utilize high-pressure common rail technology have enormous amounts heat and pressure that build up and heat these suspended water particles. Forcing heated water into a fuel system, that can generate over 35,000 psi, causes damage to engine components – which we know leads to unexpected downtime and expensive repairs.

Cenex premium diesel fuel provides a more complete burn to keep fuel and exhaust systems clean, increasing power and efficiency with less repairs or down time. Learn more about the complete additive package and stay tuned for our May article when we dive into Detergents and Lubricity Improvers.

If you would like to learn more about these additives and how Cenex Roadmaster XL® or Cenex® Ruby Fieldmaster® can benefit you, contact your local Cenex representative with any questions.

Five winter propane safety tips

Good tips to keep in mind throughout this winter season.

1. Clearly mark propane tanks

When a winter storm hits, finding a propane tank under feet of snow can be a difficult job. To make tanks easier to spot, customers should mark the location of their tanks with flags, poles or stakes. When selecting a marker, they should make sure to choose something that’s taller than the average snowfall in their area.

2. Remove snow and ice from propane tanks

In the event that a propane tank becomes covered in snow, it should get cleared it off using a broom — not a shovel — to prevent damage to system components. Regulators, regular vents, piping, tubing and valves should all be kept exposed. For easy access to tanks, customers should always maintain a clear and plowed pathway to them.

3. Notify snowplow contractors of propane tanks

After a heavy snowfall, it’s possible for a snowdrift to completely hide a propane tank. Customers who utilize snowplow contractors should make sure the operator knows the locations of all propane tanks on the property. If a snowplow were to come into contact with a propane tank, it could become a potentially serious safety hazard.

4. Consider a propane-powered generator

When a storm knocks out the power, it can sometimes take days for rural roads to be accessible to repair crews. A propane-powered backup generator can provide customers with peace of mind that they won’t be stuck without power in the event of a blackout. Remember, even if a generator is portable, these should never be used indoors or in an enclosed space.

5. Maintain an adequate propane supply

Even after a winter storm is over, roads can still be inaccessible by delivery trucks for days. To sustain any periods of interrupted deliveries, it’s important for customers not to let their propane tanks get too low. Suppliers who offer automatic deliveries can suggest this solution to help their customers ensure their tanks are topped off adequately.

Safety tips adapted from online LPGas article “Building Customer Trust Starts with Safety”

Covering Your Energy Needs for 2020

To contract or not to contract, that is the question…or is the real question: when to contract? or at what price to contract??? 

These things can lead to a lot of stress, not only for the consumer, but for the energy consultant too!  Over the years I have developed a strategy that helps answer some of these questions and alleviate the stress associated with planning out your annual energy budget.  Let’s look at some of the tools that have helped me assist my customers with making educated decisions.

Recently, I spoke with a customer who has contracted for almost two decades. Though he feels contracting is usually a good option, he still remembers the time about 6/7 years ago when he locked in and the market tanked.  His contract ended up being higher priced than the local market.  This made him feel like he “lost”. I reminded him that other years his contract price was lower than the local market, so I guess you could say that he “won” during those years?  I am not a huge fan of the “winning/losing” outlook.  Customers will actually benefit more from a contract if they use it to set their budget for the year.  When contracting time comes around and someone is ready to lock in their pricing for the year, I ask them a few questions:

  • Is this a price you feel comfortable locking in? 
  • Will this price work with your annual budget?  If not, what price will?
  • Do you have a target we should be looking at?

When is a good time to contract? Again, I look at historical pricing.  Fuel pricing futures tend to be at a lower level Dec-Feb.  Though, this may not always be the “winner”, it is a great tool to utilize when making buying decisions.  FYI: the best contract price offered last year was 12/29/19, but not this year, futures pricing saw a steady to stronger outlook though the first of the year. They remained strong up until the past few weeks. With talks of a less volatile year, fears of travel bans due to the Coronavirus (China) and possibly, just an all over relief that 2019 harvest is over, we are finally seeing crude oil looking for a reason to finally drop below that $55/barrel marker.  So, this is not perfect, but it gives us a darn good idea of when; not to lock in futures pricing.

My suggestion is to talk to your local energy consultant and clearly explain your needs for the upcoming year.  Together, you can come up with a plan for your spring/fall 2020 fuel needs.  Again, I want to stress that locking in your fuel supply is not about winning or losing, but focusing on setting a budget for the upcoming season. 

My final advice that I give to all of my customers is DON’T LOOK BACK!  What I mean by that is; after you decide to lock in your fuel price at a value that works for you and your business, don’t drive yourself crazy by watching the market and constantly second guessing yourself and the decision you made.  Please feel confident that you made a good decision and though pricing may or may not drop lower, you are going to be OK and a few extra pennies per gallon either way will not make or break your business!

Welcome Tiana to Energy Sales

We are very excited to announce that on January 6, 2020, we welcome Tiana Schroeder to our energy sales team. Tiana comes with 20 years of experience in propane sales and service. In her pervious employment she managed four district propane offices along with two satellite locations. Throughout her 20 years, she was involved with all customer service, operations and financials happenings within the company. With her strong management skills in operations she will be a great asset to our team.

Tiana is eager to work for CHS Larsen Cooperative to be a part of the positive culture. She is looking forward to creating connections with our small business owners and farmers by working for the local cooperative. She values relationships and wants to help build opportunities for our customers in central Wisconsin.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, including her two grandbabies. She grew up on a small dairy operation with horses and still enjoys riding them from time to time. In the summer, her family likes camping and boating on the local lakes.

As Tiana gets started, she will be stopping out to meet you in person and learn more about your needs and how we can service you better. If you wish to contact Tiana feel free to reach out to her.

Diesel Gelling and How to Stop It This Winter

There’s no worse sound on a cold winter morning than the sputter of a diesel engine that won’t start. Whether you’ve got a foot of snow to plow from the farmyard or a load of freight to deliver six hours away, neither job is getting done if cold weather gets the best of your equipment.

It’s no secret that diesel engines can be temperamental in the winter. Every year, farmers and fleet owners get an unwelcome reminder of this. But your operation doesn’t have to hinge on the mercy of Old Man Winter. Here’s what you need to know to put cold weather diesel problems on ice.

Why cold weather causes diesel problems
Before diesel fuel enters an engine, it passes through a filter to strain out impurities. This filter is an incredibly important part of your equipment, but it’s also a prime target for cold weather to wreak havoc.

There’s a naturally occurring substance in No. 2 diesel fuel called paraffin wax. Under normal conditions, this wax remains in liquid form, so it’s harmless to your equipment. The problem occurs when cold temperatures cause paraffin wax to solidify and bind together into larger crystals that can’t flow through the filter. When diesel users talk about gelling, this is the issue they’re referring to.

Gelling starts to occur at a specific temperature known as the cloud point, coined after the white haze — or “cloud” — that appears as paraffin wax crystalizes. No. 2 diesel fuel has a cloud point of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the temperature continues dropping, it will eventually reach a point where wax crystals collect rapidly on the fuel filter, starving the engine of fuel. This threshold is known as the cold filter plugging point (CFPP), and it indicates the lowest possible temperature at which a given diesel fuel can still pass through a 45-micron filter. For most No. 2 diesel fuels, the CFPP is typically within a few degrees of the cloud point.

While CFPP is an industry-wide measurement, it can be less accurate for some modern rigs. Today’s high-performance diesel engines require finer filters than those used in measuring CFPP, meaning a new diesel engine can potentially plug at a warmer temperature than its fuel’s documented CFPP. While CFPP can be a helpful measurement in some instances, keep in mind its limitations.

It should be noted that both cloud point and CFPP are natural properties of a fuel and thus impossible to change. Paraffin wax will always crystalize when the temperature gets cold enough. How, then, do you stop wintertime gelling and filter plugging? Even though you can’t change cloud point or CFPP, there’s a third factor you can change.

How to prevent diesel from gelling
The solution to cold-weather gelling and filter plugging lies in one key metric: operability. Defined as the lowest possible temperature a piece of equipment can function at without a loss of power, operability is the variable diesel equipment owners have power over.

But if you can’t stop paraffin wax from crystallizing, how is it possible to lower a rig’s minimum operating temperature? Well, even though you can’t get rid of the wax crystals in a No. 2 diesel, you can change their shape. Therein lies the secret to improving your rigs’ cold weather operability.

There’s a special fuel additive called a cold flow improver (CFI) that dissolves the bonds in paraffin wax. By breaking up larger crystals into many smaller parts, a CFI enables paraffin wax to pass smoothly through the filter. Typically, a CFI is effective down to about zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Steps to winterize your diesel fuel
Adding a CFI is the first step to fully protecting your diesel against cold-weather gelling and filter plugging. As temperatures continue to drop, you’ll want to replace your No. 2 diesel with a No. 1, which is free of paraffin wax and therefore offers the best operability during the coldest parts of winter.

You don’t want to make the switch all at once, though. It’s important to transition your equipment from a No. 2 to a No. 1 diesel gradually. Here are the steps you’ll want to take:

  • Once the temperature falls below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, use a blend of about 70 percent No. 2 diesel and 30 percent No. 1, along with a CFI. For an even better solution, try Cenex ROADMASTER XL® SEASONALLY ENHANCED or RUBY FIELDMASTER® SEASONALLY ENHANCED premium diesel fuels, which are enhanced not only with a CFI, but also a complete additive package.
  • As winter sets in, blend 30 percent No. 2 with 70 percent No. 1, continuing to mix in a CFI. For enhanced low-temperature operability, try Cenex WINTERMASTER® winterized premium diesel fuel. Formulated with the optimal diesel fuel blend for the cold, Wintermaster also contains a complete additive package designed to keep engines protected.
  • Anytime the temperature drops below -30 degrees Fahrenheit, use straight No. 1 diesel. To keep additives at proper levels, try NO. 1 DIESEL FUEL WITH CENEX® PREMIUM DIESEL FUEL ADDITIVE.

Watch for diesel fuel icing
On a related note, it’s also important to keep an eye on your rigs for signs of fuel icing. Often, icing can be mistaken for gelling because it produces similar engine-stalling symptoms. The difference with icing is that, instead of wax crystals building up on the fuel filter, it’s ice crystals. Icing is a major concern because it means water has gotten into your fuel. If you find water in your fuel system, be sure to consult a licensed mechanic.

Winter can be rough on diesel equipment. The good news is that you don’t have to gamble with your operation. For fuel that works as hard as you do, use CENEX WINTERIZED PREMIUM DIESEL, and you can leave fuel gelling and filter plugging out in the cold.

Originally posted on CENEXPERTS® BLOG

The Benefits of Maxtron® THF+

With the colder temperatures setting in across the United States, your equipment is most likely feeling the stress.

Cenex® premium full-synthetic tractor hydraulic fluid, Maxtron® THF+, is built to provide superior protection and enhanced performance in all weather conditions. Formulated with premium synthetic base oils and an advanced additive package that provides outstanding anti-wear and anti-oxidation properties, Maxtron THF+ delivers exceptional pumping efficiency and precision to keep operations running during peak times.

Watch this short video to learn about the value and benefits of switching to Maxtron THF+.

Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel Fuels

 

With the cold weather settling in, it is time to start thinking about winter diesel fuel. Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel product line offers broad coverage to meet your unique needs  – from moderate temperatures to extreme winter cold and everything in between.

Our full line up of Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel Fuels includes:

Cenex Wintermaster® Winterized Premium Diesel is formulated with an operability of –30° F and a typical cold filter plugging point (CFPP) of –55° F. Cenex Wintermaster® is specifically formulated for the demands of diesel powered equipment in the most extreme winter conditions.

Cenex Roadmaster XL® and Ruby Fieldmaster® Seasonally Enhanced Premium Diesel Fuels are formulated for moderate climates and provide outstanding shoulder season flexibility. Cenex Seasonally Enhanced Premium Diesel Fuels deliver a typical cold filter plugging point (CFPP) of -25° F.

#1 Diesel Fuel with Cenex Premium Diesel Fuel Additive is used to blend down your Cenex® Premium Diesel Fuel tanks during transition from summer to fall/winter, helping ensure additives remain at proper levels. Ideal for blending down bulk tanks, retail fueling site tanks and customer storage tanks. Contact our energy specialist today with any questions.

Originally posted on “In the Know” CHS

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