About Natural Gas

Where Does Natural Gas Come From?

Have a curious kid or two at your house? Take advantage of warmer weather and spring plant growth to conduct a kid-friendly science experiment that explains how the natural gas used in your home is formed.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel. We call it a “nonrenewable” fuel because it takes millions of years to form deep in the earth before it can be used harvested and processed for use in our homes.

Fossil fuels consist mainly of dead plants and tiny sea creatures that died over 300 to 400 million years ago (even before the dinosaurs) and settled on the bottom of the oceans, which covered most of the earth. Layers of these dead sea plants, microorganisms, sand, mud and other debris built up over time. The enormous pressure and heat from the earth turned the organic matter into natural gas.

Natural gas is actually a mixture of many gases, including propane, butane, carbon dioxide, ethane, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide, but it is primarily made up of methane gas. Try this experiment to learn how gas is a product of decomposing organic materials.


Two plastic soda bottles (2 liter size)
2 large balloons (equal in size)
Plant pieces (lettuce or collected from outdoors)


1. Cover the top of one empty bottle with a balloon. This container will be the “control” of the experiment.
2. Fill second bottle 1/3 with lettuce or plants torn into small pieces. Drop sand and soil on top of plant pieces to create a thin layer. Cover bottle top with balloon.
3. Place both bottles in a warm, sunny location for a week or more.
4. Observe as the bottle with organic matter fills the balloon with methane gas.

Come On In, the Water’s Fine!

Increase your pool enjoyment with a natural gas heater

If your outdoor living space includes an inground pool, do you suffer from pool withdrawal after Georgia’s summer draws to a close each year? Does March find you staring out the window at that pool, longing for warmer days that allow you to take a swim after a hard day’s work?

Unfortunately, if your pool is unheated, longing is all you’re likely to do until sometime in May. But there’s a cure for that, says a local pool builder.

Investing in a natural gas pool heater can easily extend outdoor “swim season” in northern Georgia, allowing comfortable swimming eight months out of the year, says Bill White, owner of Southern Splash Pools in Athens. 

Using a pool heater allows north Georgia water lovers to jump in
usually by late March and continue swimming well into the fall season.

Using a pool heater allows north Georgia water lovers to jump in usually by late March and continue swimming well into the fall season, says White.

“A heater allows you to swim longer, and if you swim longer you can get more use and pleasure out of your pool,” he adds.

White has been installing pools and spas in northern Georgia for 20 years. In all those years, natural gas has always been king as the fuel choice for pool heaters.

“Ninety-five percent of the time it’s gas,” he said, explaining that Georgia homeowners prefer gas-fired heaters because they are the quickest, most efficient way to take the chill off of pool water.

The Popular Choice

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that gas-fired pool heaters are the most popular system for heating swimming pools across the nation. Their popularity is tied closely to cost and efficiency.

“Gas heaters are less expensive to purchase and install, driving many homeowners to opt for gas,” according to information at

Gas-fueled heaters are up to 97 percent energy-efficient
and warm the water twice as fast as non-gas options.

Gas-fueled heaters are up to 97 percent energy-efficient and warm the water twice as fast as non-gas options, states the American Gas Association. Natural gas heaters do the job by pumping pool water through the heater, which warms it before it is pumped back into the pool.

Athens-based custom homebuilder Rodney Jones and his family are among those who enjoy an extended swim season thanks to a natural gas pool heater.

“On the weekends, we turn it [the heater] on in the morning and by midday the pool water is warm,” he said. “In colder months, we will run the heater from Friday through Sunday night, and it costs about $30. It’s worth it for the extra time we get to use our pool.”

Plan Ahead

If your new home construction includes space for a pool, planning ahead can save on heater costs.

Jones urges factoring in a pool heater as part of the initial construction — even if you aren’t sure you’ll want one. Go ahead and reserve a space for the heater as you lay out your equipment pad and plan for natural gas service lines. This advance planning will make it easier and less expensive to add a heater later.

“If we’re building an outdoor living space that includes a pool — or even space for a future pool — we always extend a gas line to hook up a pool heater,” Jones said, adding that the majority of homeowners he works with do end up choosing to add a heater.

Regardless of when you decide to install a pool heater, always have a qualified natural gas contractor do the work, reminds Pete Ervin, a Walton Gas customer representative. Locate a qualified professional for installation or call (800) 599-3770 for assistance. 

Speaking from personal experience, Jones has one simple piece of advice for those considering investing in a natural gas pool heater: “You won’t regret it.”

LEARN MORE: The U.S. Department of Energy provides detailed information about how to plan for and select the best gas-fired heater to serve your needs. 

How Do We Get Natural Gas?

When any Walton Gas customer turns on a gas range to make dinner or switches on the furnace for heat, you’re doing what people in 62 million other American homes do daily: You’re using natural gas.

In fact, the U.S. consumes more natural gas than any other nation in the world.

Like all energy fuels, that natural gas has to come from somewhere. Using information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), here is a short look at how natural gas gets from deep in the ground to Walton Gas customers.

Locating Natural Gas

Natural gas is a fossil fuel. Like other fossil fuels such as coal and oil, it forms deep below the Earth’s surface.

The search for natural gas begins with geologists who locate the types of rock that are likely to contain natural gas deposits. Some of these areas are on land and some are offshore and deep under the ocean floor. Natural gas deposits are often found near oil deposits.

FAST FACT: Texas is the top producer of natural gas among U.S. states.

Mining Natural Gas

In the United States and a few other countries, natural gas is produced directly from shale and other types of rock formations that contain natural gas in pores within the rock. Once a likely deposit of natural gas is located, it is commonly extracted by drilling a well vertically into rock formations.

FAST FACT: Currently, there are 553,495 natural gas wells in the U.S.

Gas trapped in the formations is released and flows up the well to the surface. Newly mined natural gas is called wet natural gas because it usually contains liquid hydrocarbons and non-hydrocarbon gases.

Extracting natural gas from deposits isn’t always easy. Any number of factors in the underground environment can make mining it a challenge.

In the past, it was common to recover as little as 10 percent of the available gas in a deposit. Today, enhanced recovery techniques are used to bring as much as 60 percent of the gas to the surface.

Methane and other useful gases are separated from the wet natural gas near the site of the well or at a natural gas processing plant. The processed natural gas is called dry or consumer-grade natural gas.

Distributing Natural Gas

Natural gas is sent to underground storage fields or to distribution companies through pipelines ranging from 2 to 60 inches in diameter.

FAST FACT: Most of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is also produced in the U.S.

The continental United States has more than 210 pipeline systems that transfer gas to all 48 states. This system requires more than 1,400 compressor stations to ensure that the gas continues on its path, 400 underground storage facilities, 11,000 locations to deliver the gas and 5,000 locations to receive the gas.

Now, the next time you’re relaxing in a toasty warm house heated by natural gas, you’ll know where it comes from.

Natural Gas vs. Propane: What’s Best for Your Home?

What’s the difference between natural gas and propane? Does it matter which I choose? We hear these questions a lot at Walton Gas. Read on as Jeff Paul, one of our residential energy advisors, answers consumers’ frequently asked questions about natural gas versus propane for your home.

Are natural gas and propane the same thing?

Though both are fossil fuels, they are chemically different. Natural gas is extracted from he ground. It consists primarily of methane and sometimes includes small quantities of propane, butane and other gases, usually prior to refining. Natural gas is transported to homes and buildings by underground utility pipelines, and remains in a gaseous state from its production all the way to the stovetop or furnace. Propane is extracted from crude oil and petroleum gas during their refinement processes. It is sometimes referred to as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It is almost always sold in tanks of various sizes.

I currently use propane. What are the advantages of changing to natural gas?

Propane prices can rise quickly when supplies get tight in winter. Propane requires you to have a storage tank on your property, and you have to pay your supplier every time it's filled. With natural gas, you don’t need a storage tank. It is delivered to your home through underground pipes as you need it. You pay for natural gas only after you use it.

Which costs less?

Propane is processed from natural gas, and this processing factor contributes to its higher cost compared to natural gas. With the competitive rates offered by Walton Gas, natural gas provides the most for your energy dollar month after month. Take a look at Our Prices and compare them to the energy source you’re using now. Plus, Walton Gas allows you to lock in a great low rate, so you are never surprised by your energy bills.

Which energy fuel offers the greatest convenience?

In our area, many homes are constructed with natural gas pipes already installed. All you need to do is turn on your service to always have a steady supply. Since propane comes in tanks that have to be refilled periodically, you’re always at risk of running out — just when company is coming for dinner or it’s cold outside.

Will natural gas or propane add to my home’s resale value?

Real estate professionals tell us that natural gas is an added amenity homebuyers appreciate. These days, natural gas cooktops are especially in high demand thanks to the popularity of TV cooking shows.

How do I choose the best natural gas appliances for my home?

At Walton Gas, we want you to get the most out of your residential natural gas service. A big part of that is choosing the best appliances for your home. Fortunately, most natural gas appliances are low-maintenance and have excellent energy efficiency. Before heading out to the stores to shop, visit the ENERGY STAR website run by the EPA to learn how to choose energy-efficient products. When you buy natural gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR rating, you are getting highly energy-efficient products that can help to lower your monthly operating costs without a compromise in performance.

How can I save money when buying new natural gas appliances?

If you’re making the switch from propane to natural gas, Walton gas (through Atlanta Gas Light) currently offers rebates on select appliances. Don’t miss this: Through Dec. 31, 2017, Rinnai is offering 0% interest free financing on its tankless water heaters.

Is it difficult to convert from propane to natural gas?

Switching your propane furnace, boiler, water heater, range or dryer to natural gas is easy. You may not have to buy new appliances. A qualified contractor can adjust your propane appliances to run on natural gas. Locate a qualified natural gas contractor or call us toll-free at 866.WEM.CGAS (866.936.2427).

What is an Annual DDDC Recalculation?

Ever have a charge on your gas bill but don’t know what it means? The Annual DDDC recalculation that went into effect September 1 might be a bit confusing and Walton Gas would like to help you gain clarity on the subject. Below we have outlined what an Annual DDDC recalculation really is.  

The Dedicated Design Day Capacity Charge (DDDC) is a portion of your natural gas bill that covers the common costs of delivering gas based upon a customer’s demand on the system on the coldest day of the year. This method is a straightforward way to allocate each customer’s share of the total cost of the delivery system. The Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGL) recalculates DDDC for every customer which includes both consumer and commercial accounts to ensure the data represents the most recent usage patterns. A DDDC recalculation is required each year and approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission in order to update summer and winter usage patterns for each customer for the most recent year.

The DDDC recalculation is not a rate change, the Atlanta Gas Light is simply charging marketers for the capacity that their customers use. What is capacity? Capacity is the space occupied by the natural gas they use. By doing an annual recalculation of each customer’s DDDC, Atlanta Gas Light can make sure all customers are fairly charged for how much of the system is reserved for their needs.

If you have any questions on your next natural gas bill, check out our Contact Information.

Trying to Fuel Your Business?

Running a business can be stressful. You don’t want to have to worry about whether or not you have a reliable natural gas partner. Walton Gas can give you peace of mind and confidence allowing you to focus on what you do best.

At Walton Gas, we provide reliable services, competitive pricing, and outstanding customer support. We offer convenient bill paying options like online billing and bank draft to simplify paying your bill. Our bills are easy to understand, and we don’t play games with hidden charges or fees.

As long as you are on the Atlanta Gas Light pipeline, we can meet your needs. Interested in inquiring about fueling your business? Check out the contact information below, and give one of our friendly reps a call.

Small Commercial Inquires

If you are currently using another provider and your business uses less than 40,000 annual therms, please contact:

Jenny Serda at 404.333.2081
Philip Peters at 770.500.5256

Large Commercial Inquires

We may have special rates for businesses that use more than 40,000 therms per year. For assistance with commercial or industrial gas service, please contact:

Jenny Serda  at  404.333.2081
Scott Walker  at  678.639.3222

Let us know how we can help you and power your business to succeed. Contact Walton Gas to learn more about your energy options!

Kickin’ it for Charity

At Walton Gas, we have a true passion for giving back. You could say… we get a kick out of it. Each football season we partner with the University of Georgia and go Kickin’ it for Charity. Walton Gas donates $500 for every field goal made by the University of Georgia, and at the end of the season we will total up how much will be donated. Then we’ll let you decide how much is allocated to one of these three fantastic charities: Camp Twin Lakes, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and The Salvation Army. The campaign has already kicked off, so continue cheering on the Bulldogs, and kick it for charity! We have outlined what the charities provide to the community.

Camp Twin Lakes

Camp Twin Lakes gives children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges the ability to enjoy camp. It gives young campers obstacles to overcome to promote confidence-building while giving positive life-changing experiences. This non-profit organization is fully equipped with medial support and capabilities to meet the specific needs of each child. Camp Twin Lakes gives all children the opportunity to be kid.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Children’s Health Care of Atlanta cares for over half a million children and teens every year. Children’s Health Care of Atlanta is the largest pediatric provider in Georgia and one of the largest in the country. They are a family centered care, giving its patients the best possible care and access. With a network of over 2,000 pediatric physicians with extensive knowledge and experience in over 60 pediatric specialties, 3 hospitals with 622 licensed beds, 27 neighborhood locations, including 7 urgent care centers provides access to quality healthcare for family and children in need!

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is one of the most recognized and respected charitable organizations in the country providing basic needs for those who need it most. This covers feeding hungry families and children. Over 48.8 million people go hungry or face the threat of hunger every day in the United States. The Salvation Army meets that need by serving more than 56 million meals through their soup kitchens, sit-down meal programs, food pantries, mobile meals and community gardens. They also provide housing for the homeless, hunger relief services, and so much more. Help them continue their mission.

Currently our stats are

The Salvation Army 28.57%
Camp Twin Lakes 47%
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation 24.42%

Help us cheer on the Bulldogs and vote today!  To cast your vote Click Here.

What is Natural Gas Used For?

You probably know that natural gas is a source of energy, and you might know that one fourth of all energy consumption in the United States is natural gas. However, you may wonder, other than heating homes, what is natural gas used for?

Natural gas has many different uses other than merely heating a home. Some of these include cooking, drying clothes, cooling a home or building, and even fueling cars.


Cooking with natural gas gives you the advantage of precise control of heating your food with burners that can immediately be adjusted. Gas stoves are energy efficient, giving you a cost effective option.

Drying Clothes

Natural gas dryers are always an appliance option if your current dryer is in need of an upgrade. Reducing the amount of shrinkage and static cling you never have to worry about your clothing. There is no need to worry about emissions because natural gas dryers are eco-friendly.

Cooling Your Home

You think of natural gas when you think of heating your home, but cooling it? It’s true! Natural gas can be used to cool your home. There are gas-powered air conditioning units! You can cool your home with efficiency while being environmentally friendly.

Fueling Your Car

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has been explored as an alternative to gasoline for fueling our vehicles. Many commercial fleets have already made the switch to CNG to fuel their vehicles. CNG is an option over gasoline which is better for our wallets and the environment, so be on the lookout for this option!

Those are some of the main uses of natural gas. This is a source of energy that people use more than you think! If you have any questions about natural gas, you can always Contact Us!

How Does Cold Weather Impact Natural Gas Prices?

With winter in our midst, our concern will be keeping warm. We will be turning on our furnaces and bringing out extra blankets to fight off the cold. Heating our homes can be one of the bigger expenses we run into as far as utilities are concerned, and since everyone is turning on the heat, more natural gas is being used. The question is, how does cold weather impact natural gas prices?

Around half of United States households use natural gas for heating and cooling their household. The price of natural gas is dependent on supply and demand. Therefore, when temperatures outside reach more into the extremes there is more of a demand for natural gas usage. In the winter, your natural gas prices may increase slightly because there is more demand for natural gas so people can heat their homes and keep themselves warm.

The prices of natural gas are also dependent on how much natural gas is in the US natural gas inventories. Inventories start to build up at the end of the winter, but if a winter is long and particularly cold, it can lead to an increase in prices because the demand is high and the inventory is low.

Other weather conditions can also effect the prices of natural gas because they can lead to the disruption of production. Hurricanes and severe weather can lead to the slowing or stoppage of natural gas production. This will lead to the US having less natural gas, so that can also potentially affect the prices. However, most of the natural gas we use comes from the US, so we do have easy access to it, and the supply is there for us.

It is good to know that the price of natural gas can change just so you are prepared in case it happens, but it is also important to remember that natural gas is one of the cheapest, cleanest-burning fossil fuels. Even if prices do change, you are still getting a great source of energy at a good price. 

Factors That Affect Natural Gas Prices

We are all familiar with the flux of prices regarding fuel. There have been many times recently when gasoline prices have increased based on supply and demand, but what about natural gas? This resource heats our homes and gives us energy. What factors affect the change in natural gas pricing?

1. Supply and Demand – Like everything else, supply and demand has any influence on price. That is why in winter months natural gas prices can increase because people use this resource to heat their homes.

2. Weather – Weather also has an impact because it can increase the demand and use of natural gas. Also, severe storms like hurricanes can slow efforts to obtain natural gas.

3. Imports and Exports – This is often a factor regarding sources of energy. However, the United States gets its natural gas predominately from inside its own borders. This means you don’t have to worry much about the imports and exports; with natural gas, we have enough to fuel our country right from our very own land!

4. Competition Among Other Resources – Natural gas prices can be affected by the prices of other energy sources because they are in competition with one another.

5. Natural Gas Storage – The amount of natural gas in storage is also a factor that can affect price. However, natural gas is a great resource because it can be stored. During summer months, when the demand for natural gas is lessened, we replenish and increase storage, so we have plenty of natural gas for when the demand increases.

There are a few factors that can affect the price of natural gas, but overall this is a great resource to use because it has many advantages. We have lots of natural gas in the United States, so we can get the supply we need. Natural gas is also one of the cleanest burning sources of energy and one of the cheapest. There are many reasons why natural gas is a great resource for energy in your house.