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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!

10 Ways to Secure Your Home While on Vacation

Summer is here and it’s time for that long-awaited vacation is on the horizon. It’s also prime time for home burglaries. Every 15 seconds, a home is burglarized in the U.S. — mostly in July and August when many families go on vacation.

So, how do you keep your house safe and sound while you’re away? Walton Gas has compiled the following tips to help you secure your house. Some require a little investment and planning, but taking these steps now could ensure a happy homecoming.

Multiple studies show burglars tend to
avoid homes with security systems.

1. Get a professionally monitored home security system.

Multiple studies show burglars tend to avoid homes with security systems. Locally owned and operated EMC Security offers affordable, professional security system monitoring with no contract required. Starting at $16.95 a month, EMC Security costs nearly half as much as most home security systems. Monitoring is available for landline, broadband and cellular. Also offered as add-ons are home automation features such as lighting, climate, door-lock control and video monitoring. Through a mobile app, users can control these features and view video streams remotely at their convenience. This small investment is well worth your peace of mind while on vacation — or even when away at work.

Already have a security provider? Remember to always alert your security monitoring provider when you will be away for an extended period.

2. Light up.

A dark house — inside and out — announces you aren’t home and provides opportunity for burglars. Keep things illuminated inside by installing smart plugs that can turn any electronic device into one that can be controlled remotely or put on a schedule to create the illusion that someone’s home. Outside, install security lights in burglary-prone areas such as the back door or sides of the house. Most security light models are either motion activated or come on only at night, so you don’t have to worry about them wasting a lot of energy.

Keeping spare keys stashed outside
your house is never a great idea.

3. Add a smart lock.

Keeping spare keys stashed outside your house is never a great idea. Your hiding spots aren’t as clever as you think. Instead, install a smart door lock that lets you unlock your door remotely from your smartphone and grant temporary access with expiring codes. If you have a neighbor checking in on the house or a pet sitter coming to take care of the dogs, you can keep track of exactly who goes in and out of your house and terminate access once you’re home again.

4. Use a video doorbell.

A video doorbell offers a first line of defense for homeowners, allowing you to see and speak with whoever is outside — even if you are on a beach or a continent away. Look for a doorbell model that records and stores video of visitors that approach your door while you're away or unable to answer.

5. Schedule the HVAC.

Cooling an empty house is a waste of energy and money. With a programmable thermostat, you can minimize air conditioning while you’re away and schedule it to return to a cooler temperature just before you arrive home. If you invest in a smart thermostat, you can check in on your home’s temperature from afar and make adjustments if needed.

Property damage from water leaks is the
second most common home insurance claim.

6. Install leak sensors.

Most professional security monitoring services include fire protection, but don’t forget to protect your home from costly flood damage, too. Property damage from water leaks is the second most common home insurance claim, with each claim averaging $8,000. Ask your security service if water leak sensors are an add-on option, or self-install a monitor that will send an alert to your mobile device if a leak occurs.

7. Plan ahead.

Nothing says “I’m not home” like tall grass and a stack of newspapers in the driveway. Arrange to have someone mow the lawn. And don’t forget to do a thorough shrubbery trimming around the house exterior to eliminate convenient hiding places for burglars. Stop mail and newspaper deliveries, or have them regularly picked up by a neighbor. You can sign up online to have the USPS hold your mail at your local post office for free for 30 days.

8. Unplug electronics.

Unplugging nonessential electronics — TVs, computers, coffee makers, fans, lamps —can reduce the risk of fire and save energy. Unplugging devices protects them against electrical surges, which can short out expensive equipment or cause fires. Electrical fires account for 13 percent of total residential fires in the United States.

9. Lock up.

Yes, you’re eager to go, but before you head out the door take the time to perform a final security check. Make sure all doors (including garage doors) and windows are shut and locked. Close curtains or blinds to obscure a would-be thief’s view of televisions or other valuables displayed in rooms. Lock hand-held electronics, small valuables and money in a safe or hide them well. Check to be certain the security system is armed, timers are set and smart devices are correctly programmed.

Resist the temptation to broadcast your travel plans.

10. Don’t announce you are away.

Sure, you’d love to brag to everyone that you’re on vacation, but don’t. Resist the temptation to broadcast your travel plans on your voicemail, email autoreply or social media. Warn those traveling with you not to post photos (until after you return) or communicate your travel itinerary on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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.

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.

Materials:

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

Procedure:

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.

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).

Can You Dig It? For Projects Big or Small, First Make the Call

Springtime is here, bringing with it the urge to get your hands dirty. From planting a new tree to “planting” a mailbox, it seems we Georgians will welcome pretty much any excuse to dig. By all means, don’t fight the urge, BUT be sure that whether your digging project is big or small, you don’t forget to first make the call — to 811, that is.

Before you squeeze your eyes shut and start humming loudly to block out this service message, consider this: Nearly 40 percent of U.S. homeowners who plan to dig this year will put themselves and others at risk by not calling 811 before starting.

Nearly 40 percent of U.S. homeowners who plan to dig this year will put themselves and others at risk by not calling 811 before starting.

April is National Safe Digging Month (It’s a real thing; you can look it up.). In observance, Walton Gas is sharing the results of a national survey conducted by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA).

The results revealed that 36 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year for projects like landscaping, installing a fence or mailbox, or building a deck, pond or patio and other DIY projects, will put themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 811 a few days beforehand to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.

Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged. This includes Walton Gas lines that serve your neighborhood and home.

The CGA survey also revealed that 47 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year have no experience with the 811 process. The most popular planned projects cited among surveyed homeowners include:

  • Planting a tree or shrub (63 percent)
  • Building a fence (35 percent)
  • Building a patio or deck (28 percent)
  • Installing a mailbox (16 percent)

Always call

National Safe Digging Month is an opportunity to bring extra attention to the issue of underground utility line safety and reduce the risk of unnecessary infrastructure damage.

Walton Gas customers are urged to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:

  1. Always call 811 or 1-800-282-7411a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
  2. Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
  3. Confirm that all lines have been marked.
  4. Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
  5. If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
  6. For more information, visit Georgia811.com.

An underground utility line in the U.S. is damaged once every nine minutes because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

An underground utility line in the U.S. is damaged once every nine minutes because someone decided to dig without first calling 811, according to industry data collected by CGA. There are more than 20 million miles of underground utilities in the United States. That figure equates to more than one football field’s length (105 yards) of buried utilities for every man, woman and child in the U.S.

Any Georgian who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

Dig it

Have the urge to plant something? Go ahead. Dig up a storm this spring. Just be sure to pick up the phone first.

Besides, if you are “that guy” who damaged a line and caused every home in the neighborhood to lose power or gas, you probably won’t be invited to any backyard barbecues this summer. And nobody wants that.

Considering a Kitchen Makeover in 2019?

Gas appliances take center stage at world’s largest design show

Are you considering a kitchen makeover or maybe just a few updates? To help you determine what’s on-trend for the most important room of the house, Walton Gas hit the 2019 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). This year, the world’s largest kitchen design show had more than 1,500 manufacturers showcasing new products and ideas.

Here are six of the most exciting products and trends for natural gas consumers we spotted at this year’s show:

Signature Kitchen Suite’s 48-inch dual-fuel range
offering sous vide mode won the gold Best of KBIS award.

 

1. Sous Vide Cooking Mode

Foodies take note: Signature Kitchen Suite (the new luxury brand of LG Electronics) earned the gold Best of KBIS award given for product innovation for its 48-inch Pro Range. The innovative range is the industry’s first pro-style range for home cooks that offers built-in sous vide on the cooktop.

French for “under-vacuum,” sous vide (sue-veed) is a cooking technique where food is vacuum sealed and then submerged in water and slow-cooked at a constant precise temperature until it’s perfectly cooked. With the industry's first built-in sous vide range, home chefs have the capability to achieve professional-level results and capture the full, true flavor of foods.

 

2. Dual-Fuel Ranges

Cars aren’t the only machines bringing together the best of what gas and electricity have to offer. A dual-fuel range pairs the power and control of a gas cooktop with the baking precision of an electric oven in one appliance. The award-winning Signature Kitchen Suite Pro Range was among the dual-fuel ranges garnering much attention at this year’s KBIS show.

Duel fuel ranges have been around for a while, but were cost-prohibitive for most. This year’s models have come down in price, so home chefs can finally afford them — even if you still need to set aside a few thousand dollars to do so.

Hestan’s Circuflame burner offers the fastest boil time in the industry.

3. Faster Boil Times

Hestan, the award-winning culinary brand renowned for creating the market's most advanced, powerful and versatile commercial kitchen equipment, has introduced its powerful gas Circuflame burner for its residential kitchen gas range line. Claiming the fastest boil time in the industry, the Hestan burners deliver up to 30,000 BTUs per minute for quick heat.

4. Air Frying in a Full-size Oven

Frigidaire is breaking new ground with its 30-inch Gallery Front Control Freestanding Gas Range that includes an air fry mode in the oven. Air fryers were a popular countertop appliance in 2018, but the new Frigidaire line is the first to offer it in a full-size oven. The folks at Frigidaire explained that the air fryer mode heats up the air inside the oven to a higher temperature than what is used in a convection oven. It then gradually cools down as the fan circulates air around the cavity rapidly. Look for models with the air fry option to debut later this year.

At KBIS 2019, Thor Kitchen debuted a pro-style black stainless kitchen suite for under $6,000.

5. Black Stainless

New models of every kind of kitchen appliance, including gas ranges, are now being offered in black stainless as well as the traditional stainless steel. At the 2019 KBIS, manufacturer Thor Kitchen debuted the first Pro-style Black Stainless Steel Kitchen Suite for under $6,000. The suite includes a 30-inch gas range, ventilation hood, dishwasher and recessed-handle French-door refrigerator. Other manufacturers are following suit and will roll out more gas appliances in black stainless around mid year. Expect to pay about $200 extra per appliance for the option.

6. Affordable, Pro-Style Outdoor Kitchen Suite

If your kitchen remodel will extend to an outdoor space, there’s good news on this front, too. At the KBIS, Thor Kitchen, manufacturer of pro-style kitchen appliances, introduced its new eight-piece Modular Outdoor Kitchen Suite, offering homeowners the flexibility to put the appliances in any arrangement, while eliminating the need for built-in costs. This stainless steel modular suite is half the price of other outdoor kitchen suites on the market. The centerpiece is a gas grill featuring a rotisserie, four 12,000 BTU tube burners and one 10,000 BTU infrared side burner. Also included: 24-inch refrigerator drawers, commercial-grade pizza oven, sink cabinet, corner cabinet and appliance cabinet. 

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 energy.gov.

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. 

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. 

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 Taskrabbit.com 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 Statista.com. 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.