If you don’t remember from science class, there are several types of gases.
- Water Vapor
- Hydrogen Sulfide
- Natural Gas
- Carbon Dioxide
Propane is heavier than air and natural gas is lighter than air. When natural gas is cooled to ‑260 degrees F it becomes a liquid. The natural gas that we dig out today was formed about 100 million years ago. It was formed when layers of decomposing plant and animal matter were exposed to intense heat and pressure under the Earth’s surface. Natural gas is odorless when it is in it’s pure state. Natural gas was discovered in America as early as 1626 when French explorers discovered natives igniting gases that were seeping into and around Lake Erie. William hart dug the first successful natural gas well in the U.S. in Fredonia, New York in 1825. The United States currently has more than 900,000 oil and gas wells. Since 2010 we have drilled more than 130,000 wells. A few years ago the U. S. consumed about 7.28 billion barrels per year of petroleum products which is about 19.96 million barrels per day.
Natural gas has many uses in your home. The most obvious use is for heating your home but it is also used for other things.
- Cooking with natural gas: A gas stove provides better temperature control and uses less energy than an electric stove.
- Heating Water: Gas hot water tanks are more economical to run than electric hot water tanks. They heat water faster than electricity.
- Lighting a fire: Natural gas fireplaces can give you control over the flame and can be turned on immediately.
- Drying your clothes: Natural gas dryers can save you up to 50% in energy costs compared to electric dryers.
- Cooling your home: Yes, that’s right, cooling. Gas powered A/C units have lower operating costs than electric ones.
Listed below is what you can expect to pay annually using natural gas appliances in an average home:
- Pool heater-$400
- Outdoor yard light-$320
- Water heater-$275
- Gas log fireplace-$80
- Free standing range-$45
- Outdoor grill-$20
The annual cost to heat an average home will be between $1000-$1200 depending on the efficiency of your furnace. If you use oil the average cost for heat per year is about $2200. Typically, it is cheaper to use natural gas as opposed to using propane to heat your home.
The United States has enough natural gas to last about 85 years. This is an estimate. How long our natural gas supply will last depends on our rate of consumption. It is important that we continue to find ways to use renewable energy sources but that is a blog for another day!