Portable Convenience on the Jobsite

Construction professionals' options keep growing for portable, cleaner-fueled, and cost-saving small-construction equipment that runs on propane.

If you build your homes with propane-fueled appliances, you've likely become skilled and practiced at informing your customers about the benefits of propane. But have you ever considered the many possibilities of using propane for your own construction work? Builders and remodelers today can access a variety of small and portable construction equipment that runs on propane, benefitting their own businesses with this cleaner and cost-saving fuel.

Mr. Heater's cordless, forced-air propane heater, the Hero, features a built-in battery and charging system so that pros can bring it along wherever heat is needed on the jobsite. The system delivers 35,000 British thermal units of heat for an 8-hour workday on one charge. The heater's cone-shaped design and custom-engineered fan reduce turbulence and produce more efficient heat while keeping the unit cool to the touch, the manufacturer says, and its Quiet Burner Technology reduces noise to half the level of comparable units.

The Mr. Heater Hero provides portable, cordless heat on the jobsite.

Generac's LP3250 portable propane generator can provide power for construction crews working on sites not yet connected to the power grid. And the generator is truly portable: Whereas previous portable propane generators required the propane tank to be separately carried, the LP3250 incorporates a tank holder into the frame itself, so the propane tank sits securely out of the way. Portable generators that run on propane can also be easier to store, because propane does not degrade over time like gasoline. Plus, there's no spillage when refueling. The unit produces 3,250 watts and operates for 9 hours on a 20-pound propane tank.

The LP3250 generator's integrated tank holder secures the propane fuel supply within the generator frame.

Floor burnishers, polishers, and strippers from Onyx Environmental Solutions are available with propane engines, providing cordless operation and long working time between refills, according to the manufacturer. The equipment uses an emissions monitoring system that shuts down the engine if oxygen levels in the exhaust surpass preset limits.

If your business performs any landscaping or lawn-care work on jobsites or around a community clubhouse, there are plenty of reasons to consider using a commercial mower powered by propane. Propane is generally more cost-effective than gasoline or diesel, so propane mowers can provide cost savings by reducing fuel consumption. Propane is also cleaner, reducing greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions by 50 percent. Those benefits can extend to the life of the mower, as well, says Tony Weber, product manager for Schiller Grounds Care, maker of the Bob-Cat Predator-Pro LP mower.


The Predator-Pro LP-61 runs on a Generac 30-hp engine designed specifically to use liquid propane fuel.

"Since propane is cleaner, it does help with engine longevity," he says. "You have less carbon buildup and less oil contamination in the engine, which helps extend engine life." Because of propane's excellent shelf life, owners can shut off the fuel to the engine at the end of the year and not worry about the fuel going bad. "You don't need to use any fuel stabilizers or do anything to prep your engine for the off-season besides normal maintenance and an oil and filter change," Weber says.

Because propane is a clean alternative fuel, many states offer rebates toward the purchase of propane-powered engines. In addition, the Propane Education & Research Council's Propane Mower Incentive program, launched in April 2012, provides a $1,000 incentive for the purchase of a new propane-fueled OEM mower and $500 for each qualifying propane conversion mower (up to a maximum of 10 mowers) in exchange for providing feedback about mower performance and usage during the mower season. Find more information about this and other propane incentives or fill out an application at www.poweredbypropane.org.


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