Seven Benefits of Natural Gas

Canada’s climate, with its extremes of both heat and cold, requires a reliable and affordable source of energy. Heating our homes in the winter – and, in some regions, cooling them in the summer – is much more than a simple luxury. It’s a matter of survival!

Luckily, there’s an easy option for people who are looking for a cozy, warm house without having to completely empty their bank accounts: natural gas. Many Canadians use natural gas to heat their houses in the winter, cool them in the summer, and run their appliances. In fact, more than half of Canadians use natural gas as a source of energy. It’s easy to understand why, when you consider the many benefits of natural gas.

1. affordability

According to a report by the Canadian Gas Association, natural gas makes up no more than 1% of most homes’ expenses. Compared to more expensive sources of energy, such as oil or electricity, using natural gas can add up to savings in the thousands of dollars every year. The average yearly cost for heating your home and powering your water heater with natural gas is a little below 1400 dollars. Using oil – one of the most expensive energy sources – for the same purposes will add up to an average yearly bill of nearly 4400 dollars. That’s a difference of about 3000 dollars per year! Even if you consider a slightly cheaper energy source than oil – propane or electricity, for example – your yearly average heating costs will still be somewhere between 1600 dollars and 3000 dollars more expensive than natural gas. Think about what you could do with an extra few thousand dollars this year!

In the same report by the Canadian Gas Association, the numbers are very telling: in the past five years, electricity costs have gone up 12% and fuel oil costs have gone up 46%. The cost of natural gas, on the other hand, has gone down 19%.

Natural gas is by far the most affordable option for home energy use. Prices stay relatively consistent. In addition, there is typically less maintenance needed on natural gas furnaces.

2. reliability

According to the Canadian Gas Association, natural gas currently meets a full 30% of Canada’s energy needs. We can also source our natural gas domestically. The current natural gas supply in Canada is believed to be adequate to meet our needs for over one hundred years.

Natural gas is delivered directly to your home from the supplier, via underground pipe lines. What this means for you, the consumer, is that you don’t have to worry about running out of gas. A consistent, reliable supply comes right to you as you need it. There’s no need to refill tanks or keep track of available fuel – and there’s no need to worry that you’ll find yourself without fuel in the depth of winter.

Many natural gas furnaces will even work during power outages, so you won’t have to worry about heating your house if a storm temporarily knocks out the power.

3. versatility

While most people’s first thought about natural gas might be with regards to heating a home, it’s actually a very versatile energy source that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Natural gas can heat and cool a house, of course. But it can also power fireplaces, stoves, water heaters and other large appliances such as clothes dryers. Natural gas can also be used in your outdoor living space to power your barbecue, outdoor lights or patio heater. It can even be used to heat your swimming pool or hot tub – much more economically than other sources of home energy such as oil or electricity.

4. efficiency

Natural gas is extremely efficient. According to the Canadian Gas Association, it’s 98% efficient at powering home appliances such as clothes dryers, stoves and ovens. It can also power your water heater much more efficiently than other energy sources – when compared to oil, you’re looking at a savings of up to 350 dollars per year!

Natural gas can also produce electricity at 80% efficiency. While this might not be of direct benefit to you right now, as power companies turn to natural gas to generate electricity, some of those savings may eventually end up in your pocket.

5. safety

Natural gas is extremely safe. It is non-toxic and stable. While leaks are very rare, gas companies are required by law to add sulphur – a harmless, strong-smelling substance – to the gas supply. This makes any leaks very easy to notice and to report to your supplier.

In North America, there’s also an ongoing public education campaign to “call before you dig”. Before you dig any major holes in your yard, it’s important to contact your local One Call office first, so that they can help you locate any underground gas pipes. The natural gas industry is very safety-conscious.

6. increased home values

Homes that are connected to natural gas have a higher resale value. Because people are aware of the savings and convenience associated with natural gas, they’ll be more likely to buy a house that can help them take advantage of its many benefits.

7. cleanliness

While it can’t be compared to the greenest energy sources – such as wind power or solar power – the fact is that natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. It releases fewer greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than other fossil fuels, such as propane or oil. For this reason, it contributes less to pollution, acid rain and poor air quality. In addition to this, the natural gas industry is constantly investing in research to find ways to make their product even greener and more environmentally friendly.

Given the choice between natural gas and other sources of non-renewable energy – such as oil and coal – it’s easy to see why so many people would choose natural gas. Whether you’re more concerned about your bank account, the convenience of never running out of fuel, or your impact on the environment, natural gas can help you meet your needs.

sources:

The Canadian Gas Association: Smart Energy
http://www.cga.ca/about-natural-gas/fact-sheet/

The Canadian Gas Association: Natural Gas is Canada’s Smart Energy
http://www.cga.ca/wp-description/uploads/2013/02/Affordabilty-Bulletin_Billingual-FINAL-January-2013.pdf

The Canadian Gas Association: Safe Energy, Safely Delivered
http://www.cga.ca/wp-description/uploads/2011/11/CGA_bulletin_SAFETY-Final-Fall-2011.pdf

SaskEnergy: Top Ten Benefits of Natural Gas
http://www.saskenergy.com/residential/benefits.asp

NaturalGas.org: Natural Gas and the Environment
http://www.naturalgas.org/environment/naturalgas.asp

Sam Jones the author is often asked how to find the cheapest gas and electric.  He recommends saving on energy bills with uSwitch comparison site where all of the main providers can be compared to find the best deals and cheapest tariffs

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