Is Natural Gas Heat Right for Your Home?

Whether natural gas is the best option to heat your home largely depends on what methods you have available to you.

Natural gas as a home heating source is prevalent in the Midwest and Plains states. It is less prevalent on the East Coast. Lately, natural gas has been a good option for home heating, because of its low prices compared to many other fuels.

If you live in the East, where many older homes use hheating oil, natural gas may be a better option. Natural gas is a much cheaper option, although the costs spent on converting to a natural gas system could be high, and if prices for natural gas increase, you could be stuck with higher heating costs after spending all the money to switch.

If your alternatives are natural gas or electric, it may be a less-clear choice. Though electricity costs can be high, many plants converted to natural gas to take advantage of the lower prices. Even those that still use coal have benefited from dropping coal prices, although government regulations are requiring coal-fired plants to make costly environmental upgrades.

It ultimately comes down to what's available to you and, to some degree, personal choice.

The Average Cost of Using Natural Gas Heaters

Heating your home with a gas heater can be a great way to get the comfort that you're looking for at a reasonable price. Gas heaters come in many styles, sizes and variations, so it does pay to do a bit of your own research to figure out what type of heater you would like to have. Some heaters run off of a direct tank while others can be integrated as a whole house system. These are things you will have to decide on before you make the decision that gas is right for you.

The price of gas really varies from one year to the next. It will not be uncommon for you to spend a few hundred dollars each month on gas to heat your home. This obviously varies depending on the price of gas, the type of heater you have and the area that you need to actually heat. You might find that switching to a gas-powered heater is your best bet or you might notice that it increases your energy bill each month to where it is not very affordable for both you and for the rest of the family who are living in the home.

Combining Gas with Efficiency

Natural gas heating is already an extremely efficient way to regulate the temperatures in your home. Residents are able to save money and be confident that they are contributing to a more sustainable future for the planet when it comes to energy production. Natural gas is an abundant fuel supply that is extremely clean and efficient. In addition to all of these positive features of natural gas, individuals can save even more money on heating by exercising a few conscientious practices that take very little time and effort throughout the year. Beyond efficiency measures, customers should shop around for the best rates in a deregulated market. TXU Energy is just one source where people can easily become informed of the best rates available in their area.

The technology built into programmable thermostats is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Residents should take advantage of this technology by installing these types of devices in the home and office. This form of technology has advanced to the point that they can even observe and adjust to the activity in the space, eliminating the headache of constant reprogramming. Many homes lessen their level of efficiency by covering vents with furniture and drapery. Perform a quick survey of the space to ensure that no vents are being obstructed. Maintenance also plays a key role sustaining your gas efficiency. Units should undergo an annual inspection at least once a year in addition to changing air filters once they become dirty.

Homeowners should also be proactive in their approach. Insulate the pipes and ducts that allow the air to travel to different parts of the home. Studies have shown that over 40 of the heat lost in a home is occurring in the duct work due to poor insulation. Once the heat has been released into your space, it can also be lost through cracks and the openings for fireplaces. Caulk over areas that have splits and damaged seals. You should also take the steps necessary to modernize the fireplace in order to prevent loss through the flue. Manually adjusting the temperature on the water heater is also extremely beneficial. The temperature is generally set an average of ten degrees higher than is necessary for most residential uses. For every ten degrees that the water heater setting is reduced, there is an average savings of 5 on the energy costs. The water heater should also be switched off or turned down during vacations or extended absences.

Can Natural Gas Heating Reduce Your Energy Expenses?

Most homeowners use natural gas to heat their homes during the winter. This has become the standard over the years, although using gas can certainly grow expensive over time. At the same time, there are ways you can continue to use natural gas heating to stay warm and still reduce your energy expenses so that you can save a good deal of money.

The first thing you should do is to install a programmable thermostat. This will enable you to keep the temperature at a specific level throughout the night and during times when you are not home. For example, when you are out at night and expect it to be very cold, you can easily program the thermostat to settings that will allow your house to be warmed by the time you return home. Keep the thermostat set to a lower temperature during the night, even during the winter. This will allow for less energy consumption and will save you money.

During the day, pull up your shades, blinds or drapes to allow sunlight into your home. Relying on natural heat from the sun will allow you to keep your heat lower on a regular basis. You will feel comfortable and you will save money as well.

You should also rearrange your furniture in the event it is blocking any vents as this can waste energy because the heat will not get through to the air in your home.

Safety Tips for Using Natural Gas in Your Home

Like any energy source, natural gas can be unsafe if it is not used properly. However, by following some basic guidelines, you can be sure that your home will be safe for you and your family.

Appliances that use natural gas should be inspected annually to make certain that the appliance is working properly. By having furnaces, ovens and other appliances checked out annually, you can be certain that the appliance is safe and working in an energy efficient manner. Chimneys and vents should also be inspected annually. Homes that use natural gas should have carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke detectors. A carbon monoxide detector can give you an early warning of a problem in your home caused by a malfunctioning natural gas appliance.

You should also be aware of the warning signs of potential problems. If you smell natural gas, leave the home and report the problem to your gas provider. Observe the flames in your gas appliances. The flame should burn blue. If the flame is yellow, have the appliance serviced to correct the problem. You should also make certain to keep areas around natural gas appliances clean and free of clutter that may present a fire hazard.

How to Install a Natural Gas Heater Safely

Whether you need supplemental heat in your home or want to warm up a drafty garage workspace, installing a natural gas heater is a cost-effective solution. If you plan to tackle this project yourself, you'll need to follow three simple rules to ensure that the installation goes smoothly: plan ahead, follow all manufacturer instructions and remember that natural gas and sparks or flames do not mix. Do these things, and you can install a natural gas heater safely in one afternoon.

Before purchasing your heater, assess the space it will be warming, check the ventilation requirements and determine if you will need to run electrical wire and gas lines to the location. Once you have the right heater for the space, carefully review the printed instructions; if they are not easily understandable, stop, and hire a professional to complete the job. If the directions seem clear, finish preparing the space by turning off the gas and removing anything that might create sparks or flames.

Once preparations are complete, follow the printed instructions to finish the installation. Steps may include: cutting a hole in the exterior wall for the flue pipe; connecting the vent pipe, collar and cap; making the necessary electrical connections and connecting the heater to the main gas line.

Finally, check the gas connections for leaks and turn on the gas. Your new natural gas heater is safely installed and ready for you to enjoy.

Three Ways to Save Money Using Natural Gas

Importance of Saving Money on Natural Gas

There are several ways to save money while heating a home with natural gas. During colder temperatures, a heating bill increases causing financial hardship for many individuals. Many families must choose between purchasing adequate amounts of food and heating their home to a comfortable level. Finding ways to save money on natural gas heating costs is imperative for most families.

Blocking Leaks

Make sure you are not heating the outdoors. Insulate electrical outlets and switch plates throughout the home with foam covers. These devices are inexpensive and easy to install. At the same time, place caulk around windows, water pipes and other open spaces. Individuals can use roll on weather stripping or spray foam insulation to prevent losing warm air to the outdoors.

Cleaning a Heating System

Regularly changing the air filters in a furnace helps to save money on monthly heating bills. In addition, cleaning outlets and ductwork allows warm air to flow freely throughout a home.

Temperature Control

Investing in a programmable thermostat is a great way to maintain climate control in a home. Individuals can set the unit to turn down furnace temperatures automatically at night to reduce heating costs.

Staying Warm This Winter with Natural Gas

There are many good reasons to choose natural gas as your heating solution this winter. To begin with, natural gas is very affordable. It costs less to heat your home this way than if you used electricity or other heating options. Your home will become just as warm though. This fuel delivers powerful results that will make sure that your home stays cozy. You can appreciate the comfort and warmth that comes from natural gas fireplaces, heaters, or furnaces.

Natural gas is an energy efficient choice and it is also good for the environment. This type of fuel is a cleaner option and a smart decision to make. By using this type of fuel, you will be taking a small step in helping the environment. You can feel good about using natural gas for warmth.

You can depend on natural gas to be there when you get cold this winter. This reliable fuel reaches your home easily through a pipe. You will never have to worry about running out of it like some fuel choices. This product is safe and reliable. You will be able to enjoy staying warm when the temperature starts to drop outdoors thanks to natural gas.

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