What is natural gas used for in homes?
  • Category:
    Energy Choice
  • Published:
    April 5, 2024

What Is Natural Gas Used for in Homes?

You might be wondering what uses natural gas in a house and why it is so popular. Widely available, natural gas as a residential energy source is used in many homes across the country. People choose it for affordability and functionality, preferring it over electricity for many uses. Natural gas is a safe energy source as long as the appliances that run on it are properly installed and well maintained. Explore what natural gas is and where it comes from as you consider if using it is right for your home.

What Appliances Use Gas in the House?

When it comes to what is gas used for in homes, it boils down to a few household appliances and applications.

What appliances use gas in the house?

Heating and Cooling Systems

Thinking about what uses gas in a house, heating systems first come to mind. Furnaces, boilers and heat pumps all can run on natural gas. Depending on where you live, natural gas may be more cost-effective than electricity. Systems for cooling with gas are rarely used in residential applications, but that may change in coming years (source).

Hot Water Heaters

Natural gas water heaters are less expensive to run than electric water heaters. They come in models that use an insulated storage tank to hold hot water and more efficient tankless water heaters that use heating coils to heat water as you need it. When it comes to what is gas used for in homes, the efficiency of gas water heaters makes them a good choice.

Clothes Dryers

The third most common answer to the question of what appliances use gas are clothes dryers. Like many gas-powered appliances, gas dryers tend to cost more up front. Because they are so efficient, they can save you money long-term. Gas dryers work faster, so you don’t have to run the unit as long. In many markets, gas may be cheaper than electricity, so you could possibly save money on power, too.

Ovens, Stoves and Ranges

Rather than rely on an electric heating element, a gas stove cooks your food with a flame. Ovens, stoves and ranges are examples of what uses gas in a house. They can reach a higher temperature than electric models, give you precise control over heat, and are more cost-effective to operate. Nearly all (98%) professional chefs prefer to cook with gas vs. electric ranges.

Other Appliances that Can Use Natural Gas

While each of the appliances above are usually what uses the most gas in a house, they are not the only appliances that use natural gas. Others include:

  • Refrigerators
  • Spa and pool heaters
  • Outdoor lighting
  • Grills
  • Generators

What Uses the Most Natural Gas in a Home?

Heating a house is typically what uses the most gas in residences, followed by water heating, cooking and drying clothes. In fact, some 60% of residences in the U.S. use natural gas for these types of appliances and tasks. How much natural gas you use depends on a variety of factors. In cold months, for example, you may see your natural gas usage skyrocket.

Do All Houses Have Gas?

Not all U.S. homes are hooked up to natural gas. It isn’t readily available in some parts of the country and some townships don’t have pipes for delivering it. Still, some 61% of homes across the U.S. use natural gas for at least one appliance. It is most common in the West, with Utah having the highest usage and least common in the Southeast, with Florida having the least usage.

How to Tell What Uses Gas in Your House

It isn’t always obvious how to tell what uses gas in your house. If you are getting a gas bill, you likely have some gas-powered appliances.

Start by looking at your heater. A label on the outside will usually indicate if it is gas or electric. If you see a blue flame, the unit is gas. If you aren’t sure, search the model number and brand on the web for a clear answer.

You can use the same method for identifying if your hot water heater uses gas. For a cooking range, if you cook with a blue flame and don’t have a smooth glass top or heating elements that glow red when you cook, your range is gas.

You may wonder: Do I need gas in my house? If you are adding new appliances and want to use gas, you may be able to hook up to gas service. An alternative in some locations is to use propane.

What are the Differences Between Natural Gas and Propane?

Propane is an alternative to natural gas if you can’t access natural gas infrastructure. It is delivered by truck and pumped into a tank on your property. Propane has fewer impurities, but releases more carbon dioxide when it burns. Running an air purifier is a good idea if you have either propane or natural gas appliances. And a carbon dioxide detector is a must.

Can Natural Gas Appliances Run on Propane?

You can generally run the same appliances that use natural gas with propane. A professional will, however, need to set up and connect appliances that run on propane a little differently. Check prices to see which fuel source is more cost effective. Prices vary depending on your region. You will need to factor delivery costs into comparing propane vs. natural gas.

What to Do if You Smell Natural Gas in Your Home

Properly installed and maintained, natural gas can be safe and reliable. If your home has natural gas service, you can ensure it is running well by getting a regular natural gas safety inspection. A poorly running system could be one of the reasons for a high natural gas bill. It is worthwhile to become familiar with natural gas safety tips.

Problems are rare, but it is important to know what to do if there is a leak. Both natural gas and propane are odorless and colorless. Suppliers add ethyl mercaptan to it, a chemical with a strong rotten egg smell, so that you can detect a leak. An inexpensive gas detector may be more effective than relying on your nose.

If you suspect a leak, put out any open flames. Unplug appliances, turn off telephones and do all you can to prevent a spark that could cause an explosion. Open windows and doors, but don’t turn on fans. Leave your house with your pets and children as quickly as you can.

Call your utility and the fire department when you are well away from the structure.

Should You Use Gas in Your House?

If your home is connected to natural gas service, you may find it is both an efficient and affordable option. According to the EIA, natural gas burns cleaner than many other fossil fuels and is inexpensively delivered to your house via pipelines. Unlike electricity, gas service is dependable in any weather. You can explore natural gas availability and prices from Constellation and compare residential natural gas plans. Once you understand your energy costs, you can make the right choice. You might be able to save more money when you lock in natural gas rates.

Get Pricing on Electricity or Natural Gas Plans in Your Area

Whatever your energy needs are, we've got a plan for you

Comments ( 0 )

Your email address will not be published.

  • |

Get Pricing on Energy Plans in Your Area