Natural gas supplies nearly a fourth of all the energy used in the United States and, according to the Department of Energy, that’s expected to rise to 40 percent in the next 20 years.
Here are a few hints from gas providers on keeping your use to comfortable levels:
• Caulk or weatherstrip doors and windows to seal out heat-stealing drafts. Seal switch plates and electrical outlets, too.
• Insulate your attic or roof space. This can cut heating costs by up to 30 percent.
• Wrap insulation around pipes in your basement and crawl space and wrap your hot-water heater with an insulating blanket.
• Keep chairs and beds away from exterior walls.
• Keep your windows clean. Let the sun shine in to warm your home.
• Use ceiling fans. They force warm air down, so you can set your thermostat lower.
• Keep the damper closed when your fireplace is not in use.
• Tape a sheet of aluminum foil (shiny side out) to the wall behind radiators.
• Don’t put anything on top of a radiator. Never block radiators with drapes.
• Turn down the temperature on your hot-water heater to the warm setting (120°). You’ll save energy and avoid a scalding.
• Install a clock thermostat, to automatically drop the temperature at night or when you won’t be home.
• Install storm windows and doors.
Nonpolluting natural gas is delivered via pipelines that stretch across the U.S. The gas is “pushed along” by powerful compressors. Increasingly, the compressors are run by turbines with electric motors so they are both dependable and nonpolluting. It takes a constant-speed motor to drive the compressor through its mechanical speed-control system-much like the automatic transmission on an automobile. Many pipeline operators save money by using a Vorecon variable-speed mechanical transmission built by Voith Turbo. They can then pass this saving on to consumers.
That can give a lot of people the warm feeling that comes from saving cold cash.