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Get Your Entry Ready for Recipe Contest

Gas Stove
Get ready to "gas up the stove" to enter the Walton Gas recipe contest!

Get Your Entry Ready for Recipe Contest

Are you getting ready to “gas up the stove” to enter the Walton Gas recipe contest? With some sweet prizes up for grabs and maybe some extra time on your hands these days, it’s a great opportunity to tweak that old family recipe or use your imagination to create a completely new dish.

 

As you look for inspiration, remember this: Most professional chefs worldwide insist on preparing their recipes on a natural gas stove. They prefer cooking on a gas stove because it offers initial heating speed, better temperature control, visual monitoring of flames and the ability to use diverse cooking methods. All are handy features for perfecting a new recipe.

 

Most professional chefs worldwide insist on

preparing their recipes on a natural gas stove.

 

The pros also love the fact that today's natural gas ranges, ovens, cooktops and grills feature high efficiency, easy cleaning and exceptional reliability.

 

Whether you’re new to cooking with gas or an old hand at it, remembering these common failures and their fixes can help you avoid blunders when experimenting with a new recipe.

 

Fail: Careless temperature monitoring.

Many dishes, especially sauces, can be ruined if they aren’t prepared with precision and care. Temperature control is a primary reason professional chefs favor cooking on natural gas stovetops.

 

Fix: Gas burners respond immediately when ignited. On the flip side, they also cool faster, allowing you to take a rolling boil down to a simmer in no time flat. This kind of control is especially important when cooking delicate things like sauces. For some sauces, hot temperatures that last too long could mean the difference between a perfect creamy consistency and a runny failure.

 

Fail: Thinking one size fits all.

Allowing gas burner flames to extend beyond cookware or curl up the side of a pot increases boil times, overcooks food, wastes energy and scorches the pot.

 

Fix: The diameter of the burner flames should match the size of the cookware being used. For instance, if you are cooking with a large (10- or 12-inch) skillet or Dutch oven, use one of the large burners. For tasks requiring a small skillet, choose a small burner over a large one.

 

Fail: Forgetting the exhaust fan.

Most people with a gas stove never bother to turn on the range hood’s exhaust fan for ventilation. So, all the smoke, steam and gas fumes that should get sucked up are instead hanging out with your food and potentially affecting its flavor.

 

Fix: Make it a habit to turn on the exhaust system when cooking on the stovetop.

 

Fail: Putting cold food in the pan.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when cooking on the stovetop is pulling food, especially meat, out of the fridge and placing it directly into a hot pan. This usually results in food that’s burnt on the outside but raw on the inside.

 

Fix: Take meat out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes (but less than an hour) before throwing it into the skillet. If using frozen meat, let it defrost in the fridge —not on the counter — then do the same.

 

Fail: Letting liquids boil over.

Not only does it make a big mess, but hot liquids overflowing on the stovetop can be a safety hazard. It also wastes food.

 

Fix: Once a liquid is boiling, turn the flame down to medium to keep it going. Boiling is boiling, whether it’s rolling or simmering. And a lower boil helps you avoid liquids boiling over.

 

Fail: Flipping meat too often.

For many home cooks, perfectly cooking meat can be an intimidating task. You're not sure when that piece of salmon or that steak is ready to be flipped. More often than not, you end up turning it too early, causing the meat to stick and tear.

 

Fix: When cooking meat, less is more. Let the meat cook, untouched, until the bottom is golden brown. When you think the meat is ready, lift one of the corners. If it doesn't stick, it's ready to be flipped. Along these same lines, once the meat has been turned, avoid continuing to flip it back and forth.

 

Fail: Discarding cookware because of uneven bottoms.

Throwing away a favorite oversized skillet or deep pot because it has an uneven or warped bottom is unnecessary, not to mention a waste of money. 

 

Fix: For pans and pots that aren’t perfectly flat, a natural gas stovetop is the ideal cooking surface. Even if a pot slightly leans on top of a gas burner, it will heat evenly over the entire bottom surface. In fact, woks are designed to be used over an open flame.

 

Fail: Allowing flammables near the flame.

When you are working with a gas stove, you are cooking over an open flame. If a flammable object gets too near, a fire can start almost at once.

 

Fix: Keep loose items like long hair, bracelets, sleeves, etc. out of the way when cooking.

 

Calling all contestants

With families spending more time cooking together at home, now is the ideal time to get creative and enter the Gas Up the Stove Recipe Contest. From now until Nov. 15, Walton Gas customers are invited to enter by emailing your tastiest recipe (with complete ingredient list and preparation instructions) to Gasette@waltonemc.com or mail it to Recipe Contest at P.O. Box 260, Monroe, GA 30655.

 

Judges will select the top entry in October, November and December, and include it in a future issue of the Gasette newsletter. Monthly winners will receive: LED string lights in October, an Amazon fire stick in November and an Amazon tablet in December.

Game Time with Gas

Steaks are cooked on a gas grill

Whether you are a Falcons fan or Dawgs devotee — or both — October is prime time for entertaining outdoors on game days. Natural gas and the gridiron are a winning combination for a backyard party. In this post, Walton Gas takes a look at some natural gas-fueled appliances that can help you score big with guests.

  • Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens top the home project trends list in the latest American Institute of Architects’ survey. Georgia homeowners are keeping pace with that statistic, says Jay Thornton. He and wife Casey own Southern Spa and Patio in Watkinsville.

 

The Thorntons have seen orders for outdoor kitchens climb steadily in the last three years. This year they are on pace to double the number of kitchens they’ll install on patios and in backyards in northern Georgia.

 

“Outdoor living spaces are booming now. They provide a place for relaxation and entertaining — and food is a big part of that,” Jay said, explaining why full-blown outdoor kitchens are often replacing the single natural gas grill on patios.

 

A quality, customized outdoor kitchen can be installed locally for as little as $5,500, Jay said. Prices will vary depending on the components and materials selected. An outdoor kitchen equipped with all the bells and whistles can carry a price tag of up to $30,000.

 

Appliances included in the average outdoor kitchen are a natural gas grill and cooktop with burners, faucet/ sink and refrigerator.

 

If you plan to make the investment, the kitchen designer advises shopping around to determine what components — appliances, cabinetry, countertops, etc. — fit your lifestyle, cooking habits and budget. The appliances included in the average outdoor kitchen are a natural gas grill and cooktop with burners, faucet/ sink and refrigerator. Icemakers and warming drawers are the top add-ons.

 

For ideas, ask your supplier for brochures and catalogues or look at manufacturer websites such as Naturekast (https://www.naturekast.com) and Housewarmings Outdoors (https://www.housewarmingsoutdoor.com/). Also, visit friends and neighbors who have built kitchens to see what they have and how they like it.

 

  • Gas Grill

Whether it’s incorporated into an outdoor kitchen or a standalone unit, a natural gas-fueled grill is essential for preparing football food favorites like burgers and hotdogs. Gas grills are the go-to option for easy grilling because they offer excellent control over cooking temperature, plus they ignite with the push of a button, heat up quickly and are easy to clean.

 

Early fall is the best time to get a deal on top-rated gas grill models.

 

If your old standalone grill is ready for retirement, there’s more good news: Gas grills are heavily discounted at this time of year. Early fall is the best time to shop for top-rated gas grill models, according to dealnews.com. About 30 percent of the grill deals that popped up last October were Editors’ Choice picks listed by the consumer website. Granted, you may be getting a floor model, but the deep discounts can’t be beat.

 

Walton Gas offers these hacks and tips (https://www.waltongas.com/index.php/news/gasette-newsletter/up-your-grilling-game) to up your grilling game.

 

  • Score Extra Points

In addition to firing up the gas grill for football fare, consider these natural gas-fueled additions that are sure to earn points with guests.

 

Pool heaters: What about inviting everyone over for a dip in the pool before the game? With a natural gas pool and spa heater, you can keep water temperatures comfortable to extend your swimming season. Gas pool heaters are up to 97 percent energy-efficient and warm the water twice as fast as electric heaters, according to the American Gas Association. Read our article on pool heaters posted earlier this year (https://www.waltongas.com/index.php/blog/article/come-on-in-the-waters-fine).

 

Porch fireplace: “Half of the screened-in porches we build include a gas fireplace,” says Rodney Jones, owner of Athens-based Frameworks Unlimited. Add an outdoor TV to make your pigskin party a true outdoor affair.

 

Fire pit: What better way to hash over the first half than around a natural gas fire pit? One of the top-selling gas appliances now, fire pits bring the warmth of a cozy campfire to your home’s patio or deck — without the mess or hazards of a traditional fire. Stock up on marshmallows for roasting for a halftime treat.

 

A patio heater lets you continue the party in an outdoor space long after the sun — and its heat — have disappeared.

 

Patio heater: Win or lose, every game needs a postgame wrap up. A patio heater lets you continue the party in an outdoor space long after the sun — and its heat — have disappeared. Natural gas patio heaters add about 10 degrees Fahrenheit to the surrounding air (12- to 20-foot diameter), so they're best when temperatures range between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Read more (https://www.waltongas.com/index.php/blog/article/enjoy-an-endless-summer-with-a-patio-heater)

 

Outdoor lighting: If the sun goes down before the final whistle blows, outdoor gas lights can provide a warm glow for your outdoor area. Gaslights can be mounted on a post or wall or on top of a brick or stone wall. Automatic light sensors mean you won’t have to worry about wasting energy. Read more https://www.waltongas.com/index.php/blog/article/give-your-home-exterior-the-gas-light-glow

Fireplace Facelifts and Flips

Pardon the pun, but fireplaces are what’s hot in homes once again.

Designers are placing extra emphasis on integrating beautiful, functional fireplaces in new Georgia homes. At the same time, existing fireplaces in older homes are getting a facelift to improve their aesthetics, convenience and energy efficiency.

Natural gas fireplaces:  The hearth is hot in 2019.

Whether in a new luxury home in Athens or a modest rancher in Marietta, fireplaces here in Georgia are typically fueled by clean-burning natural gas. Wood-burning fireplaces can’t beat the no-fuss efficiency of gas. Today’s gas-fueled units are far superior to those of a few years ago, meaning you can get as much as 75 to 99 percent of gas energy back as heat, as compared to 30 percent or less from wood.

Fireplace technology has improved to the point where most homeowners can affordably have a gas fireplace in their home — new construction or renovated. Below, Walton Gas takes a look at the area’s most popular trends in natural gas fireplace designs, upgrades and accessories.

  • Fireplace flip: Direct Vent Inserts

Though it’s been popular for a while, the direct vent gas fireplace insert continues to be the “hot” topic for home renovations. These low-maintenance units provide a quick and easy fix since they can be installed in most existing fireplace spaces. They can replace a messy, labor-intensive wood-burning unit or an antiquated gas log setup. More importantly, direct vent gas inserts today are energy-efficient, heat-producing dynamos. Instead of burning your heated inside air to keep the flames bright, they use outside air to support combustion.

Direct vent gas inserts are

energy-efficient, heat-producing dynamos.

  • Warming up: Radiant Heat Gas Logs

Make no mistake, these aren’t your father’s gas logs. Vented, radiant heat gas logs are gaining in popularity locally, says Jay Thornton, co-owner of Southern Spa and Patio in Watkinsville. The local retailer says manufacturers have stepped up their game to offer ceramic fiber logs that look and burn like real wood. Even better, they create radiant heat that stays in the room rather than disappearing up the chimney.

  • Welcome addition: Direct Vent Fireplace

Is your home hearthless? Cheer up because fireplace technology now makes it relatively simple to add a direct vent gas fireplace to most homes. Installation is fairly simple because no chimney construction is required. These fireplaces are vented directly through the wall to the outdoors via a dual-chambered single pipe, so they can be installed almost anywhere in your home where natural gas is available. And zero clearance construction, which requires minimal space between the fireplace and wallboard or wood, means you have even more options for placement in your home.

Fireplace technology now makes it relatively simple to

add a direct vent fireplace to most homes.

  • Location, location: A Fireplace in Every Room 

Fireplaces aren’t just for the home’s family rooms anymore. How about a see-through fireplace above the tub in the master bath? A small corner fireplace can bring warmth into the dining room or add romance in the bedroom. Cut the evening chill and add a flickering glow to your surroundings with a low-profile gas fireplace in your outdoor living space.

  • The shape of things: Linear and Square Styling

Traditionally, gas fireplaces have been rectangular in shape but in recent years their shapes have altered to offer better views of dancing flames. Linear fireplaces, which have been a key feature in modern homes for a while, are now showing up in a wider range of interior design styles. Also, large, square fireplaces are also appearing in more new homes this year.  

  • Innovations: Heat-resistant Surrounds

Heat-resistant materials such as brick, stone or tile have been the go-to materials to surrounded fireplaces. New technology now allows for combustible materials to be placed directly above and surrounding the fire. This innovation allows designers and homeowners to apply any finishes such as wood and wallpaper to the very edge of the gas fireplace and allows for art or televisions to be mounted directly above the fireplace. The most popular fireplace surrounds are shiplap walls, creative wallpapers and custom wood accent walls.

New technology now allows for combustible materials to

be placed directly above and surrounding the fire.

  • In control: Smart Remotes

With programmable remotes and thermostats, you can maintain a consistent temperature or set your fireplace to turn on or off during specific times. No more walking into a frigid home after a long day of work or worrying about leaving the fireplace overnight. Another plus: Remotes now act as a portable thermostat. If you have set the fire to a specific temperature it will maintain the temperature based on where you and the remote are sitting. If you move across the room, the fireplace will automatically adjust to ensure the ambient temperature of wherever you are located matches the preset.

  • A matter of style: Log Alternatives

If you’re looking to update your fireplace to match a modern home décor, try a gas log alternative. These options use glass or shaped refractory ceramics to create a contemporary ambiance in your fireplace. Tempered glass chips, black ceramic lumps of “coal” and rustic calico-colored ceramic rocks are among the alternatives available.

Backyard Burger Basics

Think all burgers are created equal? They’re not, say grilling experts. You need the right ingredients, preparation and grilling techniques to make burgers that can truly be declared “best.”

Fire up your natural gas grill
to celebrate National Grilling Month.

In honor of National Grilling Month, Walton Gas has combed the internet for tips from butchers and leading outdoor cooking authorities to prepare this backyard burger basics guide.  

1. INGREDIENTS

DO: Work with a butcher.

The best burgers begin with the right meat and the right grind. To get exactly what you want, step up to the butcher counter at your favorite store and ask for help, advises Walter Apfelbaum, executive butcher at Detroit steakhouse Prime + Proper

DO: Choose the right meat.

Basic ground beef doesn’t make the best burger, but neither do the priciest cuts. The best bet: ground chuck, advises grill master Kelsey Heidkamp in a video for Weber.com

Its deep beefy flavor with ample, but not excessive, fat makes ground chuck the best meat for burgers. Ground chuck, which comes from the shoulder, falls right in the sweet spot of 15 to 20 percent fat.

Other — even more expensive — cuts of meat have insufficient fat content. Round and sirloin, for instance, are too lean to make good burgers.

DON’T: Skimp on the fat.

In our weight conscious world, it’s tempting to want to lower the fat content of your burger. But burgers need fat, reminds Apfelbaum. 

“You’re going to want a higher percentage of fat if you’re grilling, because you lose a lot of the fat on a grill when it drips through the grates. More fat will help create a juicier burger and a better crust,” he explains.

DO: Mix meats.

If you’re using a lean meat, like ground turkey or chicken, consider combining it with ground pork or bacon, recommends thespruceeats.com. Not only will the additional fat balance out the leanness, it will contribute a lovely porky flavor. 

2. PREPARATION

DO: Form patties with care.

Ground beef is not Play-Doh, remind the editors at cookscountry.com. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, gently shape into patties that are 1-inch thick.  

Also, fight the temptation to load the meat with seasonings and flavoring ingredients, adds thespruceeats.com. Too many additions, particularly if the pieces are large, will weaken the patty, causing it to fall apart on the grill when you try to turn it. Best bet: Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need to make four burgers.

DO: Prep the grill.

Burgers 101 outlines these steps to get your natural gas grill burger ready: 

  • Heat up your grill and clean it with a sturdy grill brush to remove any debris left from the last cookout.
  • Then, grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate. The oil will burn off at first.
  • Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate; it will become "nonstick."
  • When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is ready for the burgers.

DON’T: Start with a flat patty.

Burgers tend to puff up in the middle as they cook, making the tops rounded and awkward for piling on toppings. A good trick for avoiding this problem is pressing a little indentation into the top of each raw patty with your thumb or the back of a spoon, advises Heidkamp.

3. METHOD

DO: Grill over high heat.

“You want to make sure to grill your burgers over substantial heat to form that nice crust (flavor/texture) that we all love,” recommends Matt Moore, host of the Art of Manliness podcast. Cook your burgers between 450 and 500 degrees to achieve immediate searing, which locks in juices.

DO: Flip only once.

Flip the burgers just once — after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks — and don’t be tempted to press on them, advises cookscountry.com. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare ups) instead of in your burgers.

DO: Close the grill if there’s a flare up.

Cutting off the oxygen should quell the flames, adds Moore. 

DON’T: Guess about doneness.

For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, Use an instant-read thermometer to take the temperature in the center of each burger, instructs Burgers 101.

Medium rare: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Medium: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Medium-well: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Well-done: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side.

Note: Keep in mind that eating burgers rare or even medium does carry certain health risks.

DO: Allow your burgers to rest.

Let your cooked burgers rest for a few minutes before serving, suggests Moore. This will ensure that the juices redistribute into the meat.

If you follow these easy tips for making the best burger ever on your natural gas grill, they will make you the star of the summer grilling season. Happy National Grilling Month from Walton Gas!

Up Your Grilling Game With These Tips and Hacks

July is National Grilling Month. Why not invite family and friends over for a cookout to celebrate?

A natural gas grill

While the idea of a barbecue sounds fun, you might feel that your grilling skills aren’t up to the task. To help, Walton Gas offers this handy cheat sheet filled with cooking tricks to elevate your grilling game.

So, turn on your natural gas grill and get those tongs ready. Let’s cook!

1. Apply rub in advance.

If you're using a seasoning rub, apply it to meat about an hour before grilling, suggests Johnny Trigg, two-time grand champion of the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational barbecue competition. Trigg recommends using equal parts salt, pepper, granulated garlic and grilled onion for a flavorful rub.

2. Allow steaks to reach room temperature.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay says steaks should be removed from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan to grill them. Grilling steaks at room temperature will allow for an even cook.

3. Start with the right gear.

Have these tools on hand for easy — and safe — grilling: tongs for the meat; two spatulas, one for raw meat and one for cooked meat; a meat thermometer to check doneness for cuts that are harder to gauge and a brush for applying sauces.

4. Make a brick press.

Achieve an even cook on cuts like butterflied chicken breasts with this easy trick from seriouseats.com: Wrap a brick in foil. Place it over direct heat for 5-10 minutes to warm. Then, place the wrapped brick on top of meat to flatten it and ensure even contact with the grilling grate.

5. Add ice or butter for juicy burgers.

Avoid a dried-out, hard-to-swallow hamburger by adding an ice cube or pat of butter to the center of the ground meat patty. Cover it with more meat. As the ice or butter melts, it'll keep the interior moist.

6. Spiral cut hotdogs.

To evenly cook a hotdog, skewer it and roll as make a spiral cut. Not only does the cut look cool, you’ll have more crevices to hold condiments, advises firstwefeast.com.

7. Pre-cook meat.

If you’re pressed for time, pre-cook meat most of the way through by microwaving or boiling it. Then, throw it on the grill to finish cooking and impart the look and flavor of a fully grilled cut.

8. Add flavor with juice.

For ribs, chicken or pork, add in some sweet flavor by periodically spraying it with 100 percent apple juice, suggests pit master Johnny Trigg. In addition to flavor, it improves color and tenderness.

9. Avoid stuck fish with citrus slices.

To prevent fish from sticking on the grill, Martha Stewart suggests placing some citrus slices directly on top of your grill and laying the fish on top of the slices. This will prevent sticking as well as infuse your fish with extra flavor.

10. Use a skillet.

If you own a cast-iron skillet, don’t leave it inside when you grill. It is perfect for distributing heat, and is great for foods that tend to fall apart like fish.

11. Flip meat only once.

Flipping repeatedly causes a lot of natural juices to fall off the meat, explains grill master Nicole Davenport. Cook one side fully then flip it over and let the other side do its thing.

12. Get perfect grill marks.

To get those professional-looking, diamond-shaped grill marks, barbequelovers.com says to think of the grill as a clock and angle your meat towards 10 o'clock. Cook the meat about halfway through, then flip it and angle it towards 2 o'clock.

13. Use two skewers.

To prevent little pieces of meat and veggies from rotating around a skewer, stab them with two skewers. Your food won’t rotate, so it will flip easily and cook more evenly. Plus, it’s easier to eat, advises thechefwithredshoes.com.

14. Know when to add sauce.

Don’t add sweet barbecue sauce until your meat is almost fully cooked. If a sweet sauce is cooked too long, it will burn. If it’s a non-sugary marinade, you can baste meat as often as you like.

15. Remove meat right before it’s done.

Meat continues cooking after you take it off the grill because there's a lot of heat trapped inside it. Remove meat from the grill about a minute or two before it’s done to get the desired cook. If you wait until the food looks done, it’s likely to be overcooked and tough.

16. Let meat rest.

For extra flavor and moisture, let meat rest for 10 minutes under a loose foil tent to help keep it warm and moist —so it can soak up its juices evenly.

17. Label buns.

To easily know remember how everyone wants their burger cooked, label buns with ketchup before you begin grilling.

Use these grilling hacks compiled by your friends at Walton Gas to prepare flavorful fare quickly. You’ll spend less time hovering over your grill and more time visiting with family, friends or neighbors. Your guests will think you’re a grilling pro!

Give Your Home Exterior the ‘Gas Light Glow’

If you’re already using natural gas to warm your water, keep the house heated or prepare food, it’s time to think outside the windows. Homeowners are increasingly investing in natural gas outdoor lights to add charm and value to the exterior of their home. Beyond aesthetics, low-maintenance gas lights also add a layer of protection when the sun goes down.

The soft, amber glow of gas lights is ideal for enhancing a front entrance, walkways, driveway or outdoor entertainment areas.

 

Add elegance

The soft, amber glow of gas lights is ideal for enhancing a front entrance, walkways, driveway or outdoor entertainment areas. They also cast an attractive glow to highlight and enhance landscaping.

Gas lights don’t cause harsh shadows like electric flood lighting does. The typical natural gas outdoor light gives off an illumination equal to a 60-watt light bulb. Want more light? Some models produce as much light as a 100-watt light bulb.

Natural gas lights come in a variety of styles, materials and options to fit preferences ranging from traditional to contemporary. A traditional gas lamppost or carriage lamp is a perfect addition to an elegant front entrance. Smaller gas lights can be used to illuminate a sidewalk or pathway. For a deck or patio, tiki torch styles are a good choice.

Functional benefits

In addition to adding charm and character to your Georgia home and outdoor living space, the functionality of natural gas outdoor lights can’t be beat! Among the benefits:

  • -Reliable. Because they operate without the assistance of electricity, gas lights continue to operate during an electrical outage — increasing the safety and security of your home. Models that include the automatic reignite feature will relight if the flame is blown out.
  • -Don’t attract bugs. Nothing can ruin an outdoor event like a swarm of mosquitos. Gas-powered lights give off an amber glow that isn’t attractive to insects.
  • -Low maintenance. There are no light bulbs to change. Plus, gas lights constructed of heavy cast aluminum and tempered glass will likely last for years with little to no maintenance.
  • -Easy on and off. Gas lights can be turned on and off from inside your home with a standard light switch or with timers.
  • -Energy efficient. Some models feature daylight-sensitive electric dimmer switches. These switches regulate the flow of natural gas during daylight hours and turn it up after dark — saving on fuel.

Installation

Natural gas outdoor lights should be installed by a qualified professional. To locate one near you, see the list of recommended installers at Atlanta Gas Light or call (800) 599-3770.

Get Your Grill Ready for Barbecue Season

Do your Memorial Day plans include a cookout? Before you fire up your natural gas grill, be sure it’s up to the task.

If your gas grill hasn’t been cleaned since last fall, chances are those fire-roasted treats you’re envisioning won’t be nearly as good as you imagine. Accumulated residue can make food stick to the grates, contribute to flare-ups and even lead to grease fires.

Don't get caught with your tongs down! Before the season heats up, give your barbecue a spring cleaning and tune up. A little time and elbow grease is all it takes to get your grill running and looking like new after the long winter.

To help, Walton Gas shares these grill cleaning tips provided by Home Depot:

1. Pre-heat the grill for 15 minutes on high heat then turn it off.
2. Turn the gas off at the gas line. Important: For safety’s sake, DO NOT skip this step. 
3. Clean the hot grill grates using a stiff wire brush dipped in water. Do not lean over the grill while cleaning, as this should create plenty of steam. Hint: For tough grease spots, add dish soap to the water or use a product designated for grill cleaning. 
4. Once the surface has cooled, wipe the grate with a damp cloth to remove remaining residue.
5. Remove burners from the gas supply line and remove blockages to each burner’s gas ports using a dry wire brush. Clean the ports by brushing side-to-side instead of up-and-down, as the vertical motion may push debris into the ports. A toothpick, pipe cleaner or paper clip can also be used to de-clog any build-up in your gas ports.
6. Clean the burner valve with soapy water and run water through the inside of the valve. 
7. Clean the inside of the grill using a wire brush and warm soapy water and rinse with water. Towel dry the burners and reinstall. 
8. When washing the outside of a stainless steel grill, use a specially formulated stainless steel barbecue grill cleaner and micro fiber cloth. Ceramic, porcelain and painted steel surfaces can be cleaned using soap and water.
9. After cleaning and reassembly is complete, turn on gas at the gas line.

Although washing your grill can be a messy chore, it is an important one. Maintaining the cleanliness of your gas grill can extend its life for several years.

Grillmasters: Share your hacks

Know a shortcut for cleaning a hot grill? Have a tip for making a better burger? Have a go-to barbecue tool? What’s your secret for grilling up the best meats and vegetables? Walton Gas customers are invited to share your know-how at waltongas.com/submission. Then, be on the lookout for a list of favorite hacks shared by customers, which will be published in June just ahead of National Grilling Month (July).

Building a Home? Ask for Natural Gas

If you plan to build your dream home this year, don’t forget to ask for natural gas, advises a local homebuilder. 

Natural gas is in demand by today’s homebuyers. In fact, it’s considered standard in upscale homes in northern Georgia, said Rodney Jones, owner of Athens-based Frameworks Unlimited.

“It’s a luxury people expect, and so we always include it,” said Jones, who has been building custom homes in Georgia for more than 20 years.

A national survey indicates homebuilders around the U.S. are being called on to meet similar expectations. “Customer preference was by far the most important factor for the builder to choose natural gas,” concluded a 2018 survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders Economics and Housing Policy Group.

Why gas?

Natural gas is the fuel source chosen by 177 million Americans, according to the National Gas Association.

Buyers like an upscale feel that’s still affordable, and natural gas unlocks countless opportunities to give them more of what they’re looking for. Builders like Jones recognize that affordable, versatile and reliable natural gas is a powerful selling advantage.

“It’s [natural gas] so important that I always include it as a home feature on my marketing materials,” said Jones.

Affordable: Local consumer favorite Walton Gas offers competitive pricing month after month. 

Georgia homebuyers chiefly prefer natural gas for
heating, cooking, water heating and outdoor living.

Versatile: Natural gas is versatile enough to be used in nearly any indoor or outdoor application. Georgia homebuyers chiefly prefer natural gas for heating, cooking, water heating and outdoor living.

Reliable: Because natural gas supply pipes are underground, outages are rare, so homeowners can depend on some gas appliances even when their electric power is out.

Natural gas appliances have lower operating costs and use less energy to get the job done.

They also have fewer moving parts, so homebuyers can expect more years of service with less maintenance. And here’s another benefit: Homes with natural gas appliances sell for 6% more on average.

Eco-conscious homebuyers are also attracted to natural gas-fueled homes. Today, most of our nation’s energy needs are met by fossil fuels, and natural gas is one of the cleanest, producing the fewest emissions. It provides an environmentally sound choice since alternative and renewable sources are not readily available and currently meet only 6% of our energy needs.

Gas up

A new construction home offers an exciting opportunity to plan for natural gas appliances you’d like to add immediately or in the future.

Even if you plan to put off adding some amenities — such as an outdoor living space — until later, you’ll want to ask your builder about pre-piping natural gas hook-ups during construction. It is cheaper and easier to install the lines as a part of new construction rather than during a renovation.

Jones lists these amenities as being the most-requested by area homebuyers:

Furnace: Installing an energy-efficient natural gas furnace is job one for any new construction project Jones tackles. “A gas furnace can heat up a large space quickly. That’s important because people want their home to be nice and warm when they come from work in the winter,” he said.

Fireplace: “Ninety-five percent of my clients want a fireplace,” he said. Whether they are found indoors or outdoors, fireplaces and fire features are a definite must-have for 2019, according to Housetrends magazine. These features can serve as a cozy nook or focal point for a large room or outside entertainment area.

Cooktops, ranges and stoves: “Everybody wants a gas cooktop these days,” Jones said. Ninety-seven percent of professional chefs prefer natural gas for its instant response and precise temperature control. Gas ranges last six years longer and cost 30 percent less to operate than other fuel sources, on average.

Outdoor grills: “We almost always run a natural gas line out to the deck for installing a gas grill,” he said. “If you want to cook with gas, natural gas is so much more convenient than having to mess with propane bottles.”

Spa and pool heaters: “Every pool I build includes natural gas heat,” Jones said. In fact, he uses natural gas to warm the water in the spa and pool at his own home. “Natural gas is the fastest way to warm up the water when it’s cold outside,” he added.

Outdoor living spaces: One of the biggest home trends is extending the outdoor-living season via gas-powered equipment. “Half of the screened-in porches we build include a gas fireplace,” Jones said.

When purchasing new products and appliances, Walton Gas  reminds you to choose items that are both energy efficient and good for the environment. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label.

Choose Walton Gas

If you choose natural gas for your new home, don't forget to shop around for the best customer service and most competitive rates. Visit Walton Gas to learn about our specail offers for new residential customers. 

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.

A Better Way To Go

Natural Gas Vehicles

Natural Gas Vehicles Gaining in Popularity 

Gassing up the car is increasingly taking on new meaning in the Peach State and around the nation.

Use of natural gas for transportation is growing worldwide. In the next few years, North America is expected to see some of the fastest growth due to the fuel’s abundance and low cost here.

Up to now, Americans have been slow to adopt the natural gas vehicle (NGV) trend that has been popular in other natural gas-rich countries for several years. There are currently about 250,000 NGVs on the nation’s road today – less than 0.1% of total U.S. vehicles. Most of those are heavy- and medium-duty vehicles used as city transit buses, refuse trucks and delivery vans.

Sales of light-duty NGVs for personal transportation are on the upswing, however. U.S. carmakers are offering more natural gas-powered models. At the same time, refueling is becoming easier and more convenient as options for gassing up NGVs at home or at public stations increase throughout Georgia.

Natural Gas Vehicle FAQs

What is a natural gas vehicle?

A natural gas vehicle is designed to be environmentally and economically friendly. These vehicles can be powered by two forms of natural gas: compressed natural gas or liquid natural gas. Vehicles can either be dedicated to run on natural gas only, or a dual-fuel vehicle to run on gasoline and diesel as well.

How does a NGV compare to conventional vehicles?

The horsepower, acceleration and cruise speed of NGVs are comparable with those of equivalent conventional vehicles. Also, compared with conventional diesel and gasoline vehicles, NGVs offer other air-quality benefits.

What are the benefits of driving an NGV?

Fuel savings – The U.S. is a major producer of natural gas. This abundant domestic supply has driven down the price of natural gas, which typically keeps prices lower than that of oil or other alternative energy sources.

Environmental benefits – Some studies indicate they produce up to 90% fewer emissions than conventional fuels and reduce greenhouse gases 20-29% over diesel and gasoline.

Reduced maintenance costs – In some cases, oil change intervals for NGVs may be extended since natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel. Also, because natural gas engines have practically no carbon build-up, it is not uncommon for them to last longer than gasoline and diesel engines.

How long have NGVs been around?

The use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel in Italy in the 1930s, followed by New Zealand in the 1980s. It has been used as a fuel for U.S. fleet vehicles for more than a decade.

Where are NGVs more commonly driven?

The U.S. trails behind many other countries in its use of natural gas-powered vehicles. Worldwide, there were about 24.5 million NGVs by 2016, led by China (5 million), Iran (4 million), India and Pakistan (3 million), and Argentina (2.2 million). Brazil and Italy also have more than 1 million each on their roads.

Where can I buy an NGV?

Honda, GM and Dodge are currently manufacturing NGV sedans and pickup trucks for personal transportation. Check with local dealers for pricing and options. There are also a number of conversion options for light-duty vehicles.

If I buy an NGV, where can I refuel it?

There are more than 20 public alternative fuel stations in Georgia — most of them in and around Atlanta. Refer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center for the locations of natural gas refueling stations in Georgia and throughout the U.S.

NGV owners also have the option of purchasing their own refueling appliance, which provides the convenience of gassing up right in their own driveway. Walton Gas customers can have these appliances connected to the existing natural gas line at your house. Many say they are as easy and safe to operate as a gas range.

Learn More About Natural Gas Vehicles

U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center