Gas vs. Electric Stove

Once you are a homeowner, you might find yourself faced with the choice between a gas stove and an electric stove. More often than not, you’ll simply go with what has already been installed in the kitchen. But before you settle on one or the other, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each one.

Ask the opinion of a professional cook and they’ll likely endorse the versatility of gas stove tops, which allow them to quickly and accurately adjust the level of heat while cooking. Gas stove tops provide more even heat for cooking, and are generally able to change temperature more rapidly. The flame from electric stove tops also heats the bottom and sides of the pans, allowing for faster cooking of your food.

On top of that, natural gas is an abundant resource that is relatively inexpensive.

With that said, purchasing and installing a gas stove can often be more expensive than an electric stove. You also run the risk of a potential gas leak if you’re not careful.

Electric stoves are the more common choice in modern homes, in large part because of the less expensive purchase price and ease of installation. In addition to being easier to clean, electric stoves are more stable for pots, also providing additional counter space when not in use. Additional fans and grillers are among the additional functions you might find on an electric stove top.

But electric stoves are not without their drawbacks. They’re typically slower to cool when a burner is turned down or off, and are inoperable in the event of a power outage.

Ultimately, your choice comes down to which option is more in tune with your style of cooking, and how much of a financial investment you’re willing to make when assembling your perfect kitchen.

Market Effects of Shale Gas

marcellus-shale

The combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has enabled us to tap into large deposits of shale resources that contain crude oil and natural gas. Shale resources were not available a decade ago, and its emergence in the United States has positioned it as competition to the other natural gas and oil resources available. With production expected to increase over the next decade, shale resources will continue to have an impact on domestic oil and gas consumption.

As production of oil and natural gas from shale resources continues to ramp up, you will also see a rise in total domestic consumption due to the decreasing prices of those energy supplies. The economic effects will be tremendous, as use of more conventional resources and competing fuels will drop.

Experts estimate that the price of natural gas would be about 70 percent higher if not for the development of shale gas, so the economic advantages are clear. Shale gas has even proved to be more valuable than tight oil, in large part because shale gas is more plentiful.

Existing labor and capital will also experience a boost from the innovative combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Productivity will increase for those employed in shale development or the natural gas and oil industry, which leads to an increase in gross domestic product.

The increase in labor and capital from higher income and better wages as a result of shale development’s effect on gross domestic product will provide an exceptional boost to the economy. You should also be an increase in federal tax revenues from the increase in gross domestic product.

Production of natural gas from shale resources has had a substantial effect on the energy and economic markets, and the true long-term impact will continue to be felt for years to come.

Types of Natural Gas Storage

Map

Because demand for natural gas fluctuates based on what season it is, finding adequate storage for that gas during periods of low demand is vital to ensuring that the resource does not go to waste.

Demand for natural gas is typically higher during the cold months of winter because of the need for heat in both residential homes and commercial buildings. By storing it during the summer, a surplus of natural gas can be built up for winter. Storing natural gas also serves as insurance in the event of an accident or natural disaster that disrupts the production of natural gas.

Underground reservoirs are the most common type of storage for natural gas. These kind of storage units consist of depleted gas reservoirs and salt cavern reservoirs.

Depleted gas reservoirs serve as storage facilities through a process that requires the natural gas to be injected into the pores of the underground rock from which the gas first originated. Salt caverns are considered a strong method of storage because salt is impermeable and self-sealing. Salt caverns can also extend more than 1,000 feet underground, allowing for a significant amount of storage space.

Aquifers are another example of underground reservoirs used for storage of natural gas. These are underground rock formations that act as natural water reservoirs, due in large part to their porous and permeable nature. Reconditioning of the rocks is required before these formations can serve as storage facilities, and in-depth analysis of the geological characteristics must first take place to determine whether the formations are suitable for storage purposes.

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, natural gas can also be refrigerated and converted to liquid form for storage. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is considered a more efficient method of natural gas storage because it is denser than natural gas and holds more energy for the space it occupies.

What is Compressed Natural Gas?

3989178_G

The most common forms of natural gas are liquid and gas, but what you might not know is that a significant number of commercial vehicles utilize the gaseous form compressed to pressures above 3,100 pounds per square inch.

Compressed natural gas, or CNG, is what you get when gas is placed under pressure but remains clear, odorless and non-corrosive. It can be used in place of gasoline, diesel fuel and propane. Those fuels produce more undesirable gases than CNG, which is considered to be a safer form of natural gas.

Once the gas has been compressed, it is then stored in hard containers for later distribution. These storage tanks, which are designed to last more than 20 years, are typically made up of thick-walled steel, aluminum or composite materials.

Natural gas is considered a valuable resource for fueling vehicles because of the low cost and the fact that it burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel fuel. Natural gas vehicles have experienced an average reduction of 80 percent in ozone-forming emissions in comparison to gasoline vehicles.

CNG is a common source of fuel for commercial vehicles. Taxi cabs, medium-duty trucks, postal vehicles, transit buses and school buses are among the commercial applications for utilizing CNG. Natural gas powers more than 12 million vehicles on the road today.

There has even been limited usage of a home refueling appliance for people with CNG vehicles. In California, the FuelMaker Corporation unveiled such an appliance several years ago, allowing owners of CNG vehicles to refuel their vehicles overnight from their household natural gas line.

With rising gas prices, interest in CNG as an alternative fuel source has surged over the past several years. There are around 12,000 CNG fueling stations in the world right now, and about 500 of them are located in the United States.

Myths About Electricity

PG-energy-myths1

Conserving energy is something that most of us strive for. But there are quite a few popular misconceptions about how to reduce the amount of electricity you use. By examining a few of the most common myths here, more people can become better educated on how to best conserve energy, rather than relying on misconceptions that have been debunked over the years.

Myth: Leaving the lights on is better than shutting them off, considering how much energy is required to turn them on in the first place.

This myth was fact several years ago, before manufacturers stopping using activators in florescent lights. The activator required a significant amount of energy to start the light, estimated to be about 15 minutes worth of light. Modern florescent lights are much more conservative, requiring less than one second of light when turned on. So be sure to turn the lights out when you leave a room!

Myth: Keep the heater at the same temperature, even when no one is in the building, because returning it to the designated temperature will require more energy than maintaining the same temperature.

This is not true, because lowering the temperature reduces the amount of cycles for the heating or air conditioning system. The few hours that the system runs, the less energy is used. To avoid freezing the pipes, don’t turn the heat completely off, but keeping it at a lower temperature when no one is around will help conserve more energy.

Myth: You no longer have to turn off office equipment, in large part because of technological advances that have allowed these machines to become more energy efficient.

While these machines are idle, most of them are still functioning at full power, ready and waiting to be used. Even computer screensavers are not as efficient as you might think. At the very least, turn off the monitor or shut down all unneeded machines overnight, during the weekends or while on vacation.

What is Liquefied Natural Gas?

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel and serves as the source of energy for a significant number of homes across the United States. But there are towns and cities located nowhere near gas fields. For that very reason, natural gas must be transported to these areas. The most common method of transportation is to build a pipeline, but this option is also expensive and sometimes impractical.

Liquefied natural gas (or LNG) is often the best solution. LNG is natural gas in liquid form, created when gas is cooled at -160 degrees Celsius. When the temperature drops below boiling point, most of the compounds that comprise natural gas are removed, leaving methane with small amounts of hydrocarbons. Once in liquid form, the gas weighs less than half the weight of water, allowing it to float if placed on water.

This liquefaction process allows the gas to be shipped and stored once the gas has been rendered into a clear, colorless and non-toxic liquid form. Because LNG occupies significantly less space than natural gas, this is a much more convenient and efficient option for transporting natural gas. Once the LNG has been safely transported to a city or town, it is returned to its original form at a regasification facility.

When no longer liquefied, the natural gas can then be piped into homes and businesses for heating, cooling, electricity generation and other industrial uses. LNG can also be kept stored as a liquid for the purpose of providing an alternative transportation fuel.

The gas used to create LNG is not drawn from a specific location. Large reserves of natural gas from across the globe are used to retrieve the gas that will be liquefied for transportation. LNG is largely exported from Japan and South Korea, with import terminals located throughout the United States.

Warning Signs of a Natural Gas Leak

gasleak_graphic

With a growing reputation as one of the safest and cleanest sources of fossil fuel, use of natural gas as an energy source has become more widespread over the past several years. If you are one such homeowner, it is important to know the most common warning signs of a gas leak, so that you can take appropriate action before it is too late.

Natural gas is colorless and lighter than air, so you’ll need to rely largely on your sense of smell, unless there are obvious physical signs of a leak. It can be a damaged connection to a gas appliance, dead or dying vegetation or a fire or explosion near a pipeline.

If there are no obvious physical signs, a foul odor similar to that of a rotten egg is the most common smell associated with a gas leak. This odor can also be masked by other odors that are present in your home, so there is no guarantee that you’ll sense it immediately. You might also hear a hissing or whistling sound near the gas line or appliance where you believe the leak has occurred.

Once you have determined that there is a gas leak in your home, it is important that you do not use anything that could spark the gas. Attempting to turn natural gas valves on or off, using your home telephone or cell phone and striking a match are all to be avoided in the event of a possible gas leak.

The safest course of action is to leave the house immediately and call 911 once you are a safe distance from your home. Make sure that no one else enters the home before the emergency responders. Starting a vehicle in close proximity to your home is also not a good idea, as it could also spark the gas.

How Natural Gas is Formed

Natural gas is responsible for approximately 23 percent of all energy produced in the world. It is used to heat the homes of millions of people across the globe, but very few people take the time to understand what natural gas is and where it comes from.

Natural gas is an odorless and colorless substance composed of methane, ethane and propane. Carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and nitrogen are the additional impurities that comprise a smaller percentage of natural gas’ composition.

There are two general types of natural gas. Biogenic gas originates from marshes, bogs and landfills, where methanogenic organisms manufacture the gas. Thermogenic gas is what comes from deep beneath the earth, where buried organic material breaks down under high temperature and pressure.

The natural gas that heats your home comes from deep beneath the earth, under several layers of rocks. The remains of plants and animals from millions of years ago were left buried under layers of rock and soil, before heat and pressure converted that matter into natural gas and petroleum.

To be more specific, natural gas is the result of methanogenic bacteria producing methane while in the process of decomposing organic material, coupled with the decomposition of kerogen. These two actions combine to complete catagenesis, the process that produces both petroleum and natural gas.

Once the gas has been created, it will attempt to migrate to a new location. The layers of the earth are molten rock, and those rocks can act as sponges for natural gas. Certain types of rocks within these layers contain large pores that act as storage units for natural gas.

To access these natural gases, companies drill hundreds of feet into the earth, pumping the gas into pipes. When piped to homes via boilers, furnaces or water heaters, this gas can serve to power ovens, gas-heated clothes dryers, central heating and cooling and more.

Ways to Conserve Energy

ways to save energy
Energy is a vital resource which is often taken for granted. Without it, our lives would be entirely different. We would be without lights and lamps, gas and electric, air conditioning and heat. It is a necessary commodity for us day in and day out. With such high demand, it is no surprise that energy comes at a cost- to our ecosystem and our checkbooks. Fortunately, within our own household there are many simple ways to conserve energy, as well as time, money and the environment.

First and foremost, it is important to begin monitoring your energy expenses. Knowing where the majority of your energy is being spent will help you know how to more efficiently cut back.  To better track your usage, you might also consider purchasing a plug load monitor. This device can be plugged into an outlet and will display how much energy is being consumed and when. Some are even programmable to automatically cut power.

Next, turn your attention to your house’s lights. If you are not willing to let go of any lamps or radiant bulbs, then you may want to think about a dimming switch. Dimming a light by just 10 percent will more than double a bulb’s life. Another option would be motion sensors for outdoor fixtures or indoor rooms that are not used as frequently or purchasing LED or fluorescent bulbs.

During the brisk winters, it can be difficult to manage the heating bill. To help these costs, you should lower your thermostat when you leave the home or during the night, minimize the use of expensive portable heaters, be sure not to block any air vents and utilize the sun’s heat by leaving shades and blinds open during the daytime. Similarly, much can be done to keep a home cool in the summer. Make use of ceiling fans, close exterior doors and windows when the air conditioning is on, block the sun by pulling blinds and shades, clean the AC’s air filters and set the thermostat to “auto” rather than “on” when air is constantly running.

These quick and effective tricks will keep your home running in tip-top shape while keeping your energy costs and usage down.

Walton EMC Natural Gas Donates $36,000 to Local Charities

walton emc checks
Last month, the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Tennessee Vols. The Bulldogs were not the only victors in this football game. A few Georgia charities also won big thanks to $36,000 in donations made by Walton EMC Natural Gas. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta received $17,000, Camp Twin Lakes received $10,000 and $9,000 went to The Salvation Army. These donations were funded by Walton’s 2013 Kickin’ It for Charity and Big Gift campaigns.

In this year’s Kickin’ It For Charity campaign, Walton EMC Natural Gas will continue to donate $500 towards these three charities every time the Bulldogs scores a field goal. At the end of the season, the money is divided between the organizations based on the number of votes cast. Take part in the Kickin’ It for Charity campaign by voting for your favorite charity here: http://770gasheat.com/bulldogs/?q=h.

Walton EMC is also simultaneously running the Big Gift campaign. All new customers who sign up for natural gas services will be able to choose between a $25 bill credit or a $50 donation to their choice of the three charities.

“At Walton Natural Gas, we are focused on giving back. The Big Gift campaign demonstrates just how generous our customers can be,” said Savannah Chandler, Walton EMC Natural Gas communications representative. “We hope to have even larger checks for the charities next year.”

Walton EMC Natural Gas currently serves more than 70,000 customers throughout Georgia. Walton EMC also received the highest numerical score among residential natural gas service providers in Georgia in the proprietary J.D. Power & Associates 2011-2013 Georgia Natural Gas Retailer Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. Learn how you can get better service and pay it forward with your “Big Gift” by making the switch to Walton EMC Natural Gas today.