Energy Saving

Walton Gas Helps Campers Find ‘Kids Just Like Me’

Camp Activities

Caption: Votes and donations to Walton Gas’s Champions for Charity help kids like Mei Ting have a life-changing experience at Camp Twin Lakes.

The stares and finger pointing happen a lot. Even worse are hurtful questions like “What’s wrong with her?” Mei Ting and her family have heard and seen it all when encountering strangers.

Claire is accustomed to feeling different, too. At school, she stands out from classmates because of the backpack of emergency medication she always carries. When there’s a birthday party, she can’t indulge in the cake the other kids eat because of the strict diet she must follow.

But one week last summer forever changed the lives of Mei Ting and Claire. They got to be regular kids. Walton Gas customers helped make that possible.

Finding their ‘happy place’

Both girls were among the 10,000 Georgia children who attended camping sessions at Camp Twin Lakes, top vote getter in this year’s Walton Gas Champions for Charity. The nonprofit provides life-changing camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges.

“It’s my happy place,” said Claire, who suffers from epileptic seizures. Last summer she attended a weeklong overnight camp for children with medically controlled epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

Student Camper

Caption: Camper Claire calls Camp Twin Lakes her ‘happy place.’

“I know I’m not alone at camp because there are so many other kids that have a special diet and take medicine for seizures, just like me,” she said.

Mei Ting, who has a craniofacial disorder, was also a first-timer at Camp Twin Lakes last year. She spent a week with “kids who are like me.”

When her 9-year-old returned from camp, she was a changed person, said Erin, Mei Ting’s mother.

“She was bursting with pride, full of confidence,” Erin said, describing the camp’s effect on her daughter. “It was the best thing we could have ever done for her.”

At Camp Twin Lakes, Mei Ting’s appearance isn’t the subject of ridicule. “I feel beautiful every day,” she said.

Paying the way

Walton Gas customers support Camp Twin Lakes campers like Mei Ting and Claire through Champions for Charity. In the last five years, Champions donations helped pay camp fees for 113 children.

“Every child receives a scholarship to help pay for the camp. All the proceeds from Walton Gas’s Champions for Charity help us fund these scholarships,” said Cheryl Belair, Camp Twin Lakes director of development. “It’s very rare that any cost for camp is passed along to a camper’s family.” 

During the 2019 season, Walton Gas donated $1,000 to Champions for Charity for every University of Georgia football regular season win. On the way to repeating as the SEC Eastern Division champion, the Dawgs posted 11 regular-season victories, adding $11,000 to the donation total. Another $5,000 was tacked on for the team’s New Year’s Day Sugar Bowl win.

In addition, every new Walton Gas customer can choose between receiving a $25 bill credit or donating that amount to Champions for Charity. Every customer donation is matched by Walton Gas, meaning another $50 is added to the year’s Champions for Charity contribution.

The total donation is divided among three charities — Camp Twin Lakes, the Salvation Army and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta — based on the percentage of votes received. As the top vote getter, Camp Twin Lakes will take home the biggest portion of the donations for a second consecutive year. This year’s total will be finalized after May 30, the last day of the giving period.

Belair encourages Walton Gas customers to keep on voting for Camp Twin Lakes when the next round of Champions for Charity begins. Camp officials recently announced that a third year-round camp location is being added to the network, giving more children the opportunity to enjoy a camping experience.

"We are breaking ground on a new campsite in Rutledge this spring, which will allow us to serve 3,500 more campers each year,” said Belair. “The scholarships funded by Champions for Charity will become even more necessary because we’ll have more kids.”

The Camp Twin Lakes representative thanked Walton Gas and its customers for their commitment to the camp and those it serves. “Because of your generosity, we’re able to grow to serve even more children in need.”

Program Your Thermostat to Slash Heating Costs

For the typical home, heating and cooling costs are one of the largest expenditures. To make matters worse — and the energy bill higher — we often heat and cool our homes when it isn’t needed. Installing a programmable thermostat is an easy way for Walton Gas customers to reduce your heating bill this winter.

Here are three very good reasons why it’s a practical idea to replace your manual thermostat with a new programmable one:

1. Energy savings. By maintaining comfortable temperatures for only a few hours a day, a programmable thermostat helps you use less natural gas for home heating. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates you can save 10 percent on your heating bill by rolling back your thermostat 10-15 percent for just eight hours each day — the amount of time many families are away from home for work and school.

2. Comfort and convenience. Rather than constantly resetting the temperature manually, you can preset your thermostat to adjust the temperature at different times of the day. For instance, you can set your thermostat to lower the heat while you’re away at work and automatically raise it before you come home.

3. Increases life of heating system. By programming your use, you can reduce the time the system is run, which can cut down on system stress and repairs.

Choose a thermostat for your lifestyle

Programmable thermostats have been around for several years. However, older versions were often too difficult to program, which negated the energy-saving feature. Now, consumers have a variety of programmable thermostat choices that are easy to install and easy to operate. Even better: Prices are dropping on the most popular models.

Programmable thermostats generally fall into two categories: “smart” connected ones or non-connected programmable models. Both have benefits, depending on your lifestyle and budget.

Smart thermostats

  • Generally save the most on heating and cooling bills.
  • Intelligently adjust your home’s temperature by “learning” your behaviors and routines.
  • Select models turn down when you’re away, suggest energy-efficient settings and provide monthly energy reports.
  • Can be monitored, set and managed over Wi-Fi from a computer, smartphone or tablet.
  • May use multiple sensors to monitor temperatures and balance heating throughout the home.
  • Prices start around $80 for a seven-day programmable thermostat with built-in Wi-Fi. Models with all the bells and whistles average $200 each. Sensors are typically sold separately.
  • Not all support all types of HVAC systems, so check compatibility specifications carefully before buying.
  • Professional installation may be required.

Programmable thermostats

  • A cost-efficient option for homeowners who tend to follow a regular schedule.
  • Makes the most efficient use of your system by adjusting temperatures automatically based on preset preferences.
  • Basic models start at about $20.
  • Most models can be easily wired into an existing heating system.
  • A separate thermostat is required for gas furnace and electric cooling systems.


Install a Programmable Thermostat

Lighten the Laundry Load with a Gas Dryer

Do you have a date with some dirty clothes? It’s likely, according to studies (yes, people really study this) about how much time Americans spend doing laundry.

In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tackled the topic. The agency concluded that the majority of laundry is done by women who dedicate an average of 119 minutes per week — just 60 seconds shy of two hours — to the chore.

A survey by finds that washing, drying and ironing laundry takes up 16% of the time the average American spends accomplishing household chores and tasks each week. That same study also noted that doing laundry is one of the least favorite chores we tackle at home.

And let’s not forget these laundry-related statistics:

-The average American family does almost 400 loads of laundry yearly, according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency.
-A single load of laundry, from wash to dry, takes an average of one hour and 27 minutes to complete.

Any way you add it up, doing laundry takes a big chunk of our time — time that could be spent enjoying family and friends, pursuing a favorite hobby or just taking a nap.

Loathe laundry day?
Save time and energy with a natural gas dryer.

Still, we all like to wear clean clothes. So, how can laundry day become less of a burden?

The answer might be as simple as choosing to use a natural gas dryer.

Why go with gas?

Doing the laundry is easier and quicker with a natural gas dryer in the laundry room.

Natural gas dryers have a lot going for them. Consider these advantages:

- Fast drying. Natural gas dryers heat up fast, so they dry clothes quickly. A natural gas dryer can dry two loads of clothes in the same time it takes for one load in most dryers. The average household can save up to 48 hours of drying time a year.

- Energy efficient. The Consumer Energy Center (CEC) attributes six percent of the average household’s utility costs to the clothes dryer. Doing the job faster makes a gas dryer an energy efficient option. High-efficiency natural gas dryers can save up to 50 percent in dryer energy costs, estimates the CEC.

- Gentle on fabrics. Natural gas dryers fluff and freshen your washables with less wrinkling, shrinkage and static cling. These dryers are gentler on fabrics because clothes are dried more quickly at specific temperatures to adequately evaporate water from the fabric. Then, when a gas dryer turns off, the heat dissipates quickly, reducing the amount of wrinkling. This can reduce the amount of time spent on ironing.

- Low operating cost. A natural gas dryer costs more to purchase — approximately $100 more — than a comparable electric model. But it will cost less to operate over the lifetime of the appliance because of the lower cost of natural gas.

- Durability. A quality gas dryer typically lasts a long time — up to 13 years or more.

- Energy Star rated. In 2015, for the first time ever, the United States Department of Energy began rating clothes dryers for energy efficiency. Appliance manufacturers now make many natural gas dryer models that have earned the rating. Although you may be able to buy a lower efficiency gas dryer (has not earned Energy Star rating) for less, keep in mind that you will pay more for each load of clothes you dry as it uses more energy to do the job for the life of the unit. The more efficient your gas dryer is, the less energy it takes to dry your clothes, and the more you save.

Installation notes

Sold on the benefits of a natural gas dryer? If you’re a Walton Gas customer who is thinking of making a switch, remember that all gas dryers require a vent to the outside. Also, gas dryers require a dedicated gas line that must be professionally installed. A qualified natural gas contractor can help with both. To find a contractor, use Atlanta Gas Light’s online locator or call 1-800-599-3770.

Time to upgrade?

If you’ve had a gas dryer for several years, it may be time to upgrade to maximize laundry day efficiencies. Today’s gas dryers use less energy than older models. Consumers can save over half of their operating costs by replacing their old gas dryers with new, energy-efficient models.

Be a laundry rebel

In 2017, only about 18 percent of all the dryers used in this country were gas-powered, according to That means fewer than one out of every five households is currently bucking tradition to enjoy the benefits offered by a natural gas dryer.

If you’re already a Walton Gas customer, it’s simple and smart to lead your own laundry rebellion. Your natural gas dryer will more than pay for itself in fuel savings, fabric-friendly operation and reliable, trouble-free performance. More importantly, you’ll save hours of work with faster drying times and wrinkle-free clothes.

Once you lighten the laundry load, all that’s left to do is decide how you’re going to spend all that extra free time.

Will Your Range Hold Up For Holiday Cooking?

Walton Gas reminds that November is the best time to shop for a new natural gas oven, stove or range.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens! With the holidays almost here, your kitchen appliances are about to get their biggest workout of the year.

Will your oven have the big bird roasted on time for Thanksgiving dinner? Is your range up to the job of cooking a holiday feast for the family? Nothing will put a damper on a holiday feast quite like the death of an old appliance.

Now is your last chance before the holidays to snag a great deal on gas appliances.

If you’re considering buying a new gas stove or converting from an electric to gas range, now is your last chance before the holidays to snag a great deal. You’ll find some bargain prices at this time of year. Plus, new kitchen appliances equipped with latest technology and features can make cooking more pleasurable.

Walton Gas provides these tips for buying the appliances that will help you successfully cook your way through the holidays.

1. Shop this month

The best time to buy major appliances — kitchen and otherwise — is in the fall when manufacturers unveil their latest models. To make room for these, stores discount their year-old appliances.

The deals can get even sweeter when a holiday sale is involved. Major appliance sales tend to correspond with holidays, especially those associated with three-day weekends. Great deals can be found in November. If you can wait, great deals can also be found on Black Friday.

2. Heed the signs

The only thing worse than an overcooked turkey is an undercooked one. Pay attention to these signs that may signal impending death for your cooking appliance.

  • Items don’t cook or bake in the amount of time they should.
  • Error codes show on the stove’s display screen.
  • Burners don’t heat properly, or at all. On gas stoves, if the flame is no longer blue or flickers or sparks from blue to red to yellow, it may be time for a replacement.
  • Glass on the oven door is cracked.
  • It’s over 15 years old.

Danger sign: You smell gas

That rotten egg smell indicates there’s a gas leak somewhere between the gas source and the stove. This is a serious problem that requires immediate attention for your safety. DO NOT turn on your stove. Exit the area immediately and leave the door open. Call Atlanta Gas Light at 877.427.4321 or 911 once you are out of the area and in a safe place.

3. Make the switch

Up your cooking game by making the switch from electric to gas. If you already have a capped gas line in your kitchen, an installer can easily hook up your new gas range, stove or oven. If you have an existing gas line but it’s too far from where you plan to install the new appliance, you’ll need a licensed plumber to run a new line. Today’s gas stoves also require electricity to ignite the burners. A licensed electrician can convert your existing wiring configuration to accommodate gas cooking appliances.

4. Know before you go

If you head out to shop for a new stove or range without a good idea of what you want or need, prepare to be overwhelmed. Some stores have as many as 60 models to choose from right on the showroom floor. The variety of features available can number in the hundreds. Before you go, take a look at websites such as Consumer Reports to learn more about the features, performances and prices of current models. Tip: Don’t be afraid to check out professional-grade gas ranges. Some of the top-rated ones have a median price point.

5. Stay open to options

While doing your homework, be sure to read up on these on-trend options that can help make holiday cooking a snap:

  • Flexibility – At least one manufacturer is offering a removable barrier that divides the oven in half, allowing you to cook at two different temperatures.
  • Connectivity – Many models are now equipped with WiFi and apps that will let use your smartphone to adjust the time and temperature of the oven remotely.
  • No preheat – A special setting lets you bake foods without having to preheat.
  • Better burners – Newer models now have more burners, including a mix of high-power and low-output simmer burners, an oval burner for larger pots and a griddle option.
  • Continuous grates – Slide heavy cookware from one burner to another with no heavy lifting.
  • Convection cooking technology – If you want a gas range with a convection oven, look for dual-fuel options.

Talking Turkey: How much does it cost to cook your Thanksgiving dinner?

Here’s something Walton Gas customers can be thankful for this holiday season: Those priceless memories created around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends come at a low cost. The natural gas energy it takes to cook a holiday meal for 12 guests costs about 42 cents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says you should cook a thawed stuffed turkey of regular size for 4-4.5 hours. The cost of natural gas needed to operate an oven set at 350 degrees for one hour is about 6¢. So a turkey roasted for four hours costs about 24¢ in natural gas.

The cooking costs breakdown for your Thanksgiving meal:

  • Roast stuffed turkey cooked 4.5 hours: 24¢
  • Large pan of mashed potatoes cooked for 20 minutes: less than 2¢.
  • Giblet gravy cooked on the stove for 10 minutes: less than 1¢.
  • Homemade dinner rolls baked for 30 minutes: 3¢.
  • Vegetable casserole cooked for 1 hour: 6¢.
  • Two baked pumpkin pies: 6¢

TOTAL: 42¢

Cooking Smart

Walton Gas offers these tips to get even more energy value while cooking your holiday meal:

  • Use glass and ceramic dishes. They hold heat well and allow you to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
  • Cooking turkey in a roasting bag can reduce cooking time by nearly half.
  • Keep the oven door closed. The temperature drops 25-75 degrees each time the oven door is opened, so monitor cooking time and peek through the oven window, if possible, to check on your food.
  • Plan to bake more than one dish or cook an entire meal in the oven to save energy.

Did you know?

  • Americans eat 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Another 22 million are eaten at Christmas.
  • 34% of Thanksgiving meals are cooked in gas-powered ovens.
  • Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line, which the company has operated since 1981, employs 50+ experts who answer more than 100,000 questions each November and December.
  • You can talk turkey with a Butterball expert by calling 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372). The company’s experts also answer questions via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, live chat, text and email.

January Deep Freeze Results in Higher Energy Bills

Snow in Atlanta

Frigid air from waves of Arctic cold fronts will cause consumers to take notice when they receive energy bills for January.

The average high temperature for the first 18 days of the month was only 45 degrees, about 10 degrees cooler than normal. The lowest temperature during the same period was 14 degrees, with 12 of 18 mornings being below 26 degrees. The average low is 31.

That means it took a lot of heat to stay warm. The first 18 days of January required more than twice as much heating as the same time period in 2017.

That also means heating systems ran twice as much, sometimes for hours on end, causing consumers' energy bills to increase significantly. That's true no matter what fuel source - electricity, natural gas or LP gas - the heating system uses.

"Consumers should not be surprised when their energy bill covering January is up significantly," said Greg Brooks, Walton EMC spokesperson. "Heating costs may be double of what they were last year."

For electricity, heating can be as much as 60 percent of the total bill. For natural and LP gas, that figure could rise to as much as 80 to 100 percent.

Here are some tips to take a bite out of the Arctic chill:

  • Make sure your home is properly insulated and weather stripped. The most cost-effective place to add more insulation is the attic. Caulking gaps in the outside of your home is also an economical energy fix.
  • Open blinds and drapes facing south during the day to take advantage of solar heating.
  • Keep exterior doors closed as much as possible.
  • Wear heavier clothing indoors, like a jogging suit or thermal underwear and socks. That allows you to keep the thermostat at a lower temperature. Every degree lower can save three to five percent in heating costs.
  • Help your heating system run more efficiently. Change filters regularly and don't block vents with furniture or rugs.
  • Sign up for Walton EMC's and Walton Gas's levelized billing program. These programs shift some of the cost of higher months to lower months, making your bill a more even amount year-round.

Natural Gas Appliances: A Gas Dryer

You may have heard that natural gas appliances can be very energy efficient. This is often true, so even though the initial cost of the natural gas appliance may be a bit more, you can save energy and money in the long run. If you are thinking about upgrading your dryer, think about making it a gas dryer.

Buying a Gas Dryer

Unfortunately, a dryer is one of the least energy efficient appliances, but you can help matters by choosing one with good energy efficiency. Gas dryers are known to be energy efficient. When looking at a gas dryer, the price is going to be somewhere between $350 and $1,600. The cost on a monthly basis is going to depend on the gas prices in your area.

As far as a gas dryer goes, you need a gas line as well as space for outdoor venting in order to install a gas dryer. Since this process requires a gas line, it is recommended that you hire a technician to install your gas dryer.

Advantages of a Gas Dryer

There are a lot of reasons to go out and buy a gas dryer. One of those is energy efficiency. Another is the fact that you can dry your clothes very quickly and often for less money. Gas Dryers also sense when your clothes are dry and they are able to reduce the amount of wrinkling because the heat dissipates quickly.

If you are upgrading your appliances this year, try for energy efficiency with a gas dryer. 

Tips for Conserving Energy

We all want to conserve a little energy to make that energy bill go down a little bit. There are several easy ways to conserve energy just by being more conscious about your energy usage.

When thinking about your home appliances, there are a couple easy ways to conserve energy:

1. Use your clothes washer only on warm or cold water settings. If you eliminate or cut down on the “hot” loads you do, it can conserve energy from your water heater.

2. Fill your dishwasher completely before you run it, so you won’t waste water or energy.

3. Replace old appliances with more energy efficient ones. This is not something you have to do all at once because it could get expensive, but if you are looking to get a new appliance anyway, check out appliances with the Energy Star label because they will save energy and prevent pollution.

There are other ways to conserve energy aside from just using your appliances well. Some of those ways could be by making small investments:

4. Try installing low-flow shower heads. These shower heads will help you use less water when you are taking that daily shower.

5. Another good idea to help conserve energy is weatherizing your house or apartment. You can use caulk or weather strips to block air leaks around doors and windows and this can save your precious energy from slipping out the door.

When you conserve energy, you can save money, so keep these tips in mind to save a little bit on energy this fall. 

Rising Natural Gas Prices due to Cold Weather

Cold weather brings many things: snow, cautious travels, and rising natural gas prices. The colder the weather, the higher natural gas consumption. About half of the households in the U.S use natural gas as their primary heating fuel, so many businesses and private homes turn their indoor heating on as the outdoor weather gets colder.

With natural gas having limited short-term alternatives, prices reflect the changes in supply as well as demand. A decrease in the supply will push prices up, and most likely discourage production and sales from storage inventories. An increase in the supply will do the exact opposite.

The winter weather will raise the demand for heating, as the summer will bring the need for cooling. This winter has brought many spontaneous storms and unpredictable weather, which results in even higher prices for natural gas, as there was not enough time for the supply to react.

With the cold temperatures this season, it’s important to keep an eye out for wellhead freeze-offs. What exactly is a freeze-off? The natural gas coming up the well pipe includes moisture. When the temperatures outside drop below freezing, the moisture will freeze at the surface, if not properly insulated.

Thankfully, natural gas has kept up with the severe winter storms this season through their consistent production. Hopefully Groundhog’s Day will reveal that we only have a few short weeks to go!

How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Large home

Energy isn't the biggest expense associated with a home, but keeping the house warm and the lights on can add up over time. A few simple strategies to increase the energy efficiency of your home can make a big difference in the long run, saving you a lot of money.

1. Use energy efficient appliances

Many common household appliances have been redesigned to improve their energy efficiency. Light bulbs are a common one: different types of bulbs might be a shade dimmer than standard, or get up to full brightness slowly, in the interest of conserving energy in small ways you won't notice. Anything with a display, like televisions and computers, can be run in energy efficient mode, which usually means a slightly dimmed screen, and plenty of other modern appliances can be programmed to use less energy at certain times of day.

2. Insulate your roof

Heat rises, and in cold months most of the heat in your home escapes through the roof. If you own a home, make the investment of properly insulating your roof: the up-front cost will more than pay for itself over time in the energy saved. If you're in an apartment or a condo that's not on the top floor, you can use blankets as stylish ceiling hangs that prevent losing too much heat to your upstairs neighbors. Certain types of ceiling fan are also designed to push warm air back downwards from the ceiling, preventing heat from escaping.

3. Use low-flow appliances

Usually a faucet or toilet at full pressure is much more water than you need for everyday tasks like washing dishes. Installing low-flow appliances saves money on water by reducing the flow of faucets, toilets and shower heads, usually by little enough that the only difference you notice is in your monthly water bill.