Natural gas appliances
When you have natural gas service, you have the option of using a number of convenient and economical appliances.
Homes use a lot of hot water – showers, baths, dishwashing, laundry – that comprises a high percentage of energy use. Natural gas water heaters are an efficient way to heat water, offering considerable savings compared to electricity, oil or propane. Storage water heaters maintain a reserve of hot water. Choosing the right size to meet your needs improves efficiency. Instantaneous water heaters are another option – heating water only as needed. These tankless heaters are more costly to purchase but can reduce energy costs over time. For efficiency and safety, set the water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees.
A natural gas fireplace provides a warm and cozy fire without the hassle of getting and storing firewood – and cleaning up the soot and debris. Using natural gas for an indoor fireplace or backyard fire pit is a clean and easy alternative to traditional wood fires. Natural gas fireplace inserts also can turn an old, inefficient wood fireplace into a good source of heat. Such units are available in many sizes and styles and typically have a blower to move heat from the fireplace into the room. The “logs” look like wood and simulate burning embers.
Compact and energy efficient, natural gas space heaters are a good choice for areas of the home that need supplemental heat. Today's models feature electronic controls, are cool to the touch and have whisper-quiet fans. The units are often directly vented to the outside but unvented models are also available.
Convenient, safe and fast natural gas grills provide low heat for slow smoking and grilling to high heat for braising and searing. Easy-to-use natural gas grills eliminate the problem of running out of propane in the middle of a barbecue as well as the hassle of refilling the tank. Installation is simple. Grills can be mounted on a post, built into a brick base or put on a cart with a quick-disconnect for easy moving. A more recent development in outdoor cooking involves infrared technology. An infrared grill heats the food and not the surrounding air. This intense heat sears the outside of food, locking in moisture and flavor, and speeds cooking time. No pre-heating and shorter cooking time adds up to energy savings and provides charcoal fire flavor with the natural gas flame control.
Pool and spa heaters
Natural gas pool heaters can expand the swimming season and make your pool more enjoyable. Pool heaters are sized based on a pool’s surface area. Pool dealers can help select the right size. For best efficiency: 1) Reduce pool or spa temperature and install a timer to minimize heating hours; 2) Keep the spa or pool covered when not in use to help prevent heat loss (as well as chemical loss and water evaporation); 3) Consider a solar pool cover to heat surface water; 4) Reduce pool filtering and automatic pool sweep time (check with a pool service technician to determine minimum hours).