Gas can be used in your home for a number of functions year round. It provides opportunities for you to cut your energy costs. Since the price of natural gas is usually so much lower than electricity, using gas for any energy-consuming device will save you money on your energy bill.
Cooking with natural gas
Those who love cooking often prefer using a natural gas-powered oven instead of an electric model. It can provide better temperature control therefore allowing for precision in every dish. Gas ovens use less energy than electrical ones and this is because the units heat and cool more quickly.
Natural gas hot water heaters typically range from 75 to 380 litres to fit a variety of household sizes. However, natural gas usually heats water faster than electricity, so you may be able to run a smaller-capacity unit.
Cooling your home
When thinking of gas, typically people think of using it for cooking and heating within their home. However, it is possible to now find gas-powered air conditioning units. The machines are usually more expensive upfront, hindering many from switching to natural gas air conditioning. They typically require lower operating costs than electric AC units and eventually pay for themselves in energy savings.
Lighting a fire
There are natural gas fireplaces that are highly efficient without all the mess of a wood-burning model. With a controllable burner and natural gas logs you can get the same effect of a wood-burning fireplace and more control over the flame.
What is gas fitting and who can do it?
New Zealand’s use of gas has been around for many years beginning with coal gas at around the turn of the century. Natural gas and LPG have replaced coal gas and are now used widely for water heating, cooking, space heating and commercial and industrial processes. Gas can pose a risk of fire or explosion if installed or used in an inappropriate manner.
Gas fitting is any work that involves installing, altering or repairing gas appliances including the fixing or unfixing of any gas pipes, ventilation or flue pipes, commissioning gas appliances and ensuring their safe operation (including the testing, setting, checking and adjusting of safety devices, combustion conditions and controls associated with the gas installation and ensuring there is adequate ventilation).
Work that is not defined as gas fitting includes work on portable gas appliances which have the gas bottle attached such as barbecues, cabinet heaters and patio heaters, although the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board strongly recommends that a gasfitter is used.
Regular maintenance of all gas appliances is recommended at least once a year and must be undertaken by a person authorised by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If 100kg of LPG is stored on any site, the site itself must be certified by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) test certifier. This may entail changes to the location of the bottles, or further building development on the site.
A number of technological advancements have allowed natural gas to be used to increase energy efficiency in commercial settings. Many buildings, because of their high electricity needs, have on-site generators that produce their own electricity. Natural gas powered reciprocating engines, turbines, and fuel cells are all used in commercial settings to generate electricity. These types of ‘distributed generation’ units offer commercial environments more independence from power disruption, high-quality consistent electricity, and control over their own energy supply.
Natural gas driven cooling processes come in three systems. Engine driven chillers use a natural gas engine, instead of an electric motor, to drive a compressor. With these systems, waste heat from the gas engine can be used for heating applications, increasing energy efficiency. The second category are absorption chillers, which provide cool air by evaporating a refrigerant like water or ammonia. These absorption chillers are best suited to cooling large commercial buildings, like office towers and shopping malls. The third type are gas-based desiccant systems. These systems cool by reducing humidity in the air. Cooling this dry air requires much less energy than it would to cool humid air.
Another area of growth in commercial natural gas use is in the restaurant industry. Natural gas is an excellent choice for commercial cooking requirements, as it is a flexible energy source in being able to supply the food service industry with appliances that can cook food in many different ways. Natural gas is also an economical, efficient choice for large commercial food preparation establishments. New developments such as Nontraditional Restaurant Systems, which provide compact, multifunctional natural gas appliances for smaller sized food outlets such as those found in shopping malls and airports, are expanding the commercial use of natural gas. These types of systems can integrate a gas-fired fryer, griddle, oven, hot and cold storage areas, and multiple venting options in a relatively small space – providing the ease and efficiency of natural gas cooking while being compact enough to serve small kiosk type establishments.
Tankless Water System
A tankless water heater allows you to have an endless supply of hot water and you no longer have to accommodate a bulky tank in your home – saving you precious space.
Tankless water heaters are designed to allow it to heat water “on-demand” as it passes through the unit’s heat exchanger. Compared to constantly heating water in a tank, this is a much more efficient way of doing things (around 25 – 35% more efficient to be exact).
This increase in efficiency will not only save you money on your power bill, but will also help you do your part in taking care of the environment. However, in order to buy the best tankless water heater for your home – it’s important you know what to look out for; as there are a wide variety of different types and sizes you can choose from.
What to do if you smell gas or suspect a leak
- Get out!
- From another location call emergency services on 11
- Then, if safe to do so: turn off the gas source and open the doors and windows
- DO NOT ACTIVATE ANY ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES