Extended Outdoor Grilling and Entertaining Season Helps Fuel Gas Hearth Appliance Demand


April 30, 2001

Washington, DC (April 30, 2001) With an increased demand for gas hearth appliances and a strong trend towards an extended outdoor grilling and entertaining season, there has never been a better time for backyard barbecuing. And, the hearth industry is offering consumers a wide array of the latest hearth and home gas appliances to kick off the summer grilling season, according to the Propane Education & Research Council and the National Propane Gas Association.

In the year 2000, 62 percent of the hearth units shipped in the U.S. used gas, representing an eight percent increase over the previous year, based on new findings released by the Hearth Products Association (HPA). These figures come on the heels of a 600 percent rate of growth in gas hearth appliance shipments in the U.S. over the past eight years.

As gas hearth appliance sales continue to soar, so does the demand for backyard barbecues. The Barbecue Industry Association (BIA) estimates that at least three billion barbecue events take place each summer among the estimated 75 million households that own grills, based on their 1999 industry survey. Of those households, 60 percent own propane gas grills. And, with 57 percent of those households using their grills year round, up 3 percent over the previous year, there is evidence that the length of the grilling season is increasing beyond the traditional period of April through August.

With this remarkable growth comes the expansion of a variety of gas hearth products available to consumers from gas grills and lights to patio heaters, outdoor fireplaces and campfires. Manufacturers like Brian Herzfeld of Hearth Technologies see outdoor gas fireplaces and grills, in particular, as being a key market driver for several hearth dealers. "Last year we experienced a 20 percent increase in outdoor gas hearth product sales, and I am confident that sales will increase again this year," Herzfeld commented.


Gas Grills

To offer consumers more efficient and versatile cooking options, gas grills like Robert H. Petersonundefineds Fire Magic Regal II Portable Grill with a Rotisserie Backburner are hitting the market. The Regal II grill provides intense heat for a variety of grilling needs, offering 82,000 BTU's on the grilling surface and 22,000 BTU's from the Rotisserie Backburner. Other grill features include a storage area, heavy-duty rotisserie kit, and a regulator with connection for propane gas. Among the other grills that were featured at the Hearth & Home Expo in Salt Lake City, UT in March were the Fiesta's Optima 5000, Weber Stephen's Genesis Silver "C," and Holland's Companion Grill, all three units offering consumers 'exceptional' heating capabilities coupled with a variety of enhanced cooking features.


Patio Heaters and Campfires

Outdoor heating units are also gaining ground as popular outdoor entertainment amenities. These outdoor gas hearth products offer consumers an instant, low-maintenance, convenient, and clean-burning source of outdoor heat. Among the many propane-fueled hearth products that were on display at the Expo in March were Heat-N-Glo's Outdoor Campfire and Empire Comfort Systems' Patio Heater.

For a complete listing of propane gas home and hearth products featured at the Propane. Exceptional Energy booth at this year's Expo, see the attached document.

Roy Willis, president of the Propane Education & Research Council sees propane gas offering an added value for both hearth retailers and consumers. "No other fuel can match the cleanliness and portability of propane. By offering customers more uses for their propane grills, and by complementing these products with a variety of gas hearth appliances, the industry offers consumers a year-round outdoor entertainment experience unparalleled in comfort and convenience," Willis added.

The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source through investments in research, safety, and consumer education initiatives. For more information about the Council, please call 202-452-8975 or visit the Web site at www.usepropane.com.

The National Propane Gas Association is the national trade association for the U.S. propane gas industry. With a membership of nearly 3,700 in all 50 states, 38 affiliated state and regional associations, and members in 28 foreign countries, NPGA represents every segment of the propane industry. For more information call (630) 515-0600 or visit the Web site at www.npga.org.