December 03, 2007 by EH Staff
Gary Seamans warms his Midwest home with liquid propane, courtesy of a 1,000-gallon tank buried in his backyard. The fuel has kept his house toasty for years, but not without a few minor inconveniences. In the past, the only way Gary could monitor how much fuel remained was to walk 200 yards from the house and shine a flashlight down a small opening in the ground to read the gauge. “No big deal in summertime,” says Gary, “but not when there’s two feet of snow on the ground.”
Even more frustrating, was trying to keep tabs on the tank while he and his wife wintered at their house in Tucson, AZ. “When you’re more than 1,000 driving miles away from home and you look on the Internet and see that it’s 20 below there, you can’t help but feel concerned,” he says.
Thanks to an innovative system designed by custom home systems installer Bob Piccirilli of Performance Innovations Corp. in Genoa, IL, Gary no longer frets over fuel. A Centeron tank-monitoring system feeds status reports to an interactive Crestron touchscreen located inside the Seamanses’ primary residence or to a computer screen at their Tucson home via the Internet. “You just press the propane button on the touchscreen and the system tells you precisely how much propane is left,” Gary explains. “[It] saves the walk to the tank, and when we’re in Tucson, it helps us sleep well at night.”
Other data is conveyed as well, making the system virtually bulletproof. The Seamanses can view the signal strength of the data transmission, the condition of the batteries and the time of the system’s last update.
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