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What natural gas home appliances are available?

How much do you know about natural gas appliances?
How much do you know about natural gas appliances?
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Electricity may seem like the cheap, green way to go, but natural gas is also a popular choice for energizing many common indoor and outdoor appliances. And with good reason, too -- this fossil fuel is efficient, reliable, economical and environmentally friendly. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that natural gas is actually considered the cleanest fossil fuel. It emits 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal and 27 percent less carbon dioxide than oil, so it's safe to say that choosing natural gas appliances is a responsible way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It's easy on your wallet as well, helping you save money when compared to other conventional energy sources available for residential use: According the U.S. Department of Energy, it costs about 68 percent less than electricity per British thermal unit (Btu), the standard measure of energy. While the initial cost of natural gas appliances may be slightly more than electric options, the long-term operating costs can be significantly lower, especially for heating, cooking, and drying clothes. (Just make sure that your home has natural gas lines available to hook up your new appliances, or the cost of installing new lines can outweigh the long-term savings in operating costs.)

Homeowners have chosen natural gas appliances for cooking and heating for decades, while other appliances are relatively new on the market. For example, natural gas air conditioning is relatively new and growing in popularity because it's efficient and eco-friendly. Natural gas furnaces have been around longer and are a more popular choice because they help heat your home faster than conventional heating methods. In fact, air from such a furnace can be up to 25 degrees warmer right out of the vent than an electric heat pump. Natural gas is one of the most popular fuels for residential heating, used in about 56 percent of U.S. households, according to the American Gas Association.

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Natural gas heating options abound. Natural gas water heaters can heat up to twice the amount of water in the same time as an electric unit, so you’re less likely to run out if long, hot showers are commonplace in your family. They can also cost less to operate and continue to heat water even if the power goes out.

Gas logs and fireplaces bring warmth and charm into your home without the mess of wood logs and ashes. Gas space heaters help keep small areas in your home warm and comfortable, whether used in place of central systems or as a supplement in drafty rooms.

Other home appliances use natural gas effectively as well. Home chefs and professionals alike love gas ranges because they provide even cooking, low simmering temperatures and burners with high heat output. Natural gas dryers can dry clothes twice as fast as conventional dryers, while using less energy. Electronic drying sensors and temperature controls help make the drying process gentler on clothes so they last longer.

You'd be surprised at how you can put natural gas appliances to work entertaining guests at home. You can dazzle your friends before they even get to your front door by using outdoor gaslights, which add curb appeal and functional lighting to your home’s exterior, whether mounted on a pole, exterior wall or porch ceiling. Once they get inside, lead them outside into the backyard or patio and treat them to a dinner made on your natural gas grill. Why wait for charcoal to heat to the right temperature or worry about keeping your propane tank filled when a natural gas grill is ready to cook gourmet meals when you are? These grills also ensure even cooking temperatures and are energy efficient -- both factors that some would say justify the extra cost of a gas grill.

Keep the party going by installing natural gas pool and spa heaters for your outdoor swimming areas. They help keep water temperatures comfortable, so you can extend your swimming season or enjoy your hot tub throughout the year. Plus, gas pool and spa heaters are energy efficient and warm the water twice as fast as electric heaters. If you don't feel like swimming or soaking, you can still chill outside with a patio heater. Durable and effective, these patio heaters let you enjoy your outdoor spaces throughout the cooler seasons. They add about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5.6 degrees Celsius) to the surrounding air, so they're best when temperatures range between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 15.5 degrees Celsius). If you want to get a little fancy, natural gas fire pits, one of the newest gas appliances, bring the warmth of a cozy campfire to your home’s patio or deck. What's more, they're safer for the environment than a traditional fire: since these campfires don’t burn wood, they don’t release harmful emissions into the air.

While natural gas is an excellent fuel source for many appliances, it’s not a practical choice for some everyday conveniences that require electricity, like a toaster, stereo, television or hair dryer. However, natural gas can provide power for these appliances through distributed generation, or using natural gas to generate electricity in the home through a microturbine and gas fuel cells.

Natural gas appliances are clean and convenient ways to heat your home and make it possible to enjoy your backyard and pool when it's a little chilly outside. The best part is that they're pretty easy to find if and when you need them.

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