All About Natural Gas

 

Natural gas is a methane that comes from the decomposed remains of ancient plants and animals. The erosion process carried these biological remains down rivers and streams onto shorelines, where they deposited along with mud and silt. Intense heat and pressure transformed these fossils into hydrocarbons — chemical compounds of hydrogen and carbon atoms.

Depending on the arrangement of the atoms, what were once sea plants and animals are now natural gas or crude oil deposits contained in the earth’s crust.

A Brief History

Centuries ago, man noticed that a lightning strike ignited natural gas seeping from the ground, creating a “burning spring.” These burning springs were prominent in ancient religious practices in Persia, Greece and India, where temples were constructed around these “eternal flames.” However, the ancient populations of the world did not recognize the energy value or potential usefulness of natural gas.

The Chinese were the first to realize the benefits of natural gas. About 500 B.C., the Chinese used natural gas to make portable water by piping it from shallow wells through bamboo poles to evaporate salt from sea water.

The birthplace of natural gas in America is Fredonia, N.Y. In 1821, residents of the town observed gas bubbles rising to the surface of a creek. William Hart dug the first natural gas well in America along a creek outside Fedoria. The well was approximately 27 feet deep. By contrast, today’s wells are over 30,000 feet deep.

Others expanded upon his work and a group of entrepreneurs formed the Fedoria Gas Light Company, the nation’s first natural gas company. Natural gas drilling continued throughout western New York, Pennsylvania, northern Ohio and northern Indiana. By 1900, natural gas had been discovered in 17 states.

Natural gas continued to aggressively compete with manufactured gas into the 1920s. In the 1950s, interstate pipelines reached across the entire continent to provide competitive, naturally occurring natural gas, and the dominance of manufactured gas declined. America’s interstate pipeline system now contains over one million miles of pipe that deliver large quantities of clean, efficient and cost-effective natural gas to different regions.

Natural Gas Facts

Natural gas is lighter than air, non-toxic, and contains no poisonous ingredients. Breathing natural gas is not harmful, as long as there is an adequate supply of air to breathe along with it.

Natural gas by itself will not burn. Combustion can occur only when there is a mixture of gas and oxygen containing between 5 percent and 15 percent natural gas and between 85 percent and 95 percent air.

Natural gas in its natural state is odorless. An odor that smells like rotten eggs is added to natural gas so that we can smell it.

Because of its unique qualities of being lighter than air with a narrow band of combustion, natural gas is one of the safest energy resources available. Understanding and following safety procedures make it even safer.

Uses of Natural Gas

Natural gas heat is energy efficient, making maximum use of every energy dollar you spend. Natural gas heats air up to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping your home warm and comfortable even when temperatures outside are well below freezing.

Cooking
Natural gas burners regulate instantly. The heat is there when you need it, saving time on meal preparation. There is no waiting for elements to heat up or cool down- and gas burners heat evenly with no hot spots. You can see and adjust the flame, so there’s no guessing. You can sauté or stir fry like the pros. Today’s natural gas cook tops, ranges, double ovens and professional style equipment are designed with contemporary kitchens in mind.

Water Heating
Natural gas water heaters will help you make the most of your energy dollar. Natural gas water heaters recharge quickly , so no more cold showers! Most do not require electricity to operate, leaving you with hot water even when the power is out.

Clothes Drying
As with cooking and heating, installation of a natural gas clothes dryer can help you save valuable energy dollars. Clothes dry quickly and efficiently. No heating elements to short, burn out, or replace.

Fireplaces
Gas fireplaces provide safe and attractive units which supply warmth, coziness, and efficiency desired in today’s homes. With natural gas fireplaces, you will never have to worry about sparks or flying embers. They are available in vent free models and some models can be used in the bedroom. Please make sure that the manufacturer’s specifications are closely followed, as with any natural gas or propane appliance.

Gas Grills
Gas grills cost pennies to operate– less than one-tenth of the cost of cooking with charcoal. Cooking time is also reduced dramatically. A hamburger patty, which would take twenty two minutes to cook on a charcoal grill , may take only 9 to 10 minutes on a gas grill.

Propane Conversion
Some propane equipment can be converted to use with natural gas. Check manufacturer’s information or owner’s manual to determine whether or not it can be converted. Remember that only qualified personnel should convert your appliances.

Want to put natural gas to work for you? Check out our appliances!

 

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