Apr
19

5 Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas

Go au natural this Earth Day with natural gas! As the most diversified fuel in the U.S., natural gas heats our homes, business, restaurants and schools just to name a few. It also powers vehicles, stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, lighting fixtures and other appliances. And, it can even generate electricity and run air conditioners.

Natural gas is the ultimate alternative fuel of the future—and it’s fueling a better earth. It’s abundant, efficient, affordable and cleaner burning compared to other fossil fuels. We’re taking a moment on Earth Day 2017 to reflect on the environmental benefits of natural gas because our Earth is worth it. To learn more, check out this infographic.

5 Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas Infographic - Gas South

Is Natural Gas Better for the Environment than Other Fuels?

Here are five reasons why natural gas is a good choice for the planet.

  1. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and a highly efficient form of energy.
  2. The simple chemical composition of natural gas lends itself to fewer impurities and generally results in less pollution.
  3. Using natural gas instead of oil or coal produces less chemicals that contribute to greenhouse gases, acid rain, smog, and other harmful forms of pollution.
  4. Natural gas promotes the use of other clean energy sources. It’s used as a raw material in lightweight cars, wind power blades, solar panels, and energy-efficient materials.
  5. Approximately 90 percent of natural gas produced is delivered to customers as useful energy. By comparison, only 30 percent of energy converted to electricity reaches consumers.
Oct
31

Tips to Avoid Five Natural Gas Nightmares

Halloween is here, the weather is getting chilly, and things are about to get a little spooky. But, have no fear – we have a few tips (no tricks!) up our sleeves to help you avoid five natural gas “nightmares!”

Nightmare #1
Unexpectedly high bills can be frightening – especially when you’re not used to having your heat turned on for the past few months – but there are ways you can save on your home energy costs.

One thing you can do is invest in a programmable thermostat. During the winter months, we recommend setting your thermostat to 60 degrees when you’re away and 68 degrees when you’re home. You can save about 5 percent on heating costs for every degree lowered in the winter months. And of course, you can do this manually if you don’t have a smart thermostat.

Nightmare #2
Remember to change the filter in your furnace or air handler regularly. A dirty air filter can cause a lot of hocus pocus – forcing your system to work harder to push air throughout your home. This results in increased energy usage, which also means a higher bill. Not to mention the added creepy crawlies like dust and allergens that can’t be properly filtered out. To avoid this potential nightmare, most HVAC companies recommend inspecting, cleaning or replacing the filter every month during the summer and winter seasons. 

Nightmare #3
Don’t let carbon monoxide creep up on you. There are easy ways to maintain your household, so you can breathe easy. Think of carbon monoxide as a ghost – you can’t see it even if it’s there. It’s a tasteless, odorless substance produced from the combustion of carbon-based substances. It can be emitted from fireplaces, faulty furnaces, generators, water heaters and other heat sources. If inhaled, carbon monoxide can be very dangerous.

Everyone should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home that will alert you when carbon monoxide levels are elevated. It’s also a good rule of thumb to never use grills, generators or camping stoves inside the home, and never leave a car running in the garage without opening the garage door. Car exhaust is one of the substances most commonly associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. Lastly, never ever try to heat your home using your stove.

Nightmare #4
A natural gas leak is the scariest of all nightmares, but there are simple ways to identify a potential leak. Because natural gas is a colorless, odorless fuel, we add a chemical odorant called mercaptan that gives natural gas the smell that’s often associated with rotten eggs. This distinctive scent allows you to detect a potential leak if it occurs. So keep a nose out for that!
When you’re inside your home, you can also listen for an eerie blowing or hissing sound. A sign of a leak outdoors may be indicated by dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area as well as dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground, or bubbling in wet or flooded areas.

If you detect a natural gas leak, remain calm and leave your home immediately. There’s no secret potion to fix a gas leak, but you can call Atlanta Gas Light at 877.427.4321 and emergency responders at 911 once you are in a safe place – away from the area of the suspected leak. Stay put until emergency personnel say it’s safe to return.

Nightmare #5
Besides asking ‘Trick-or-Treat?you should ask –Have I turned on my natural gas yet?” For seasonal natural gas customers, it’s important to sign up early so you have heat as soon as temperatures begin to drop. A lot of folks wait until it gets cold to schedule their service, but sooner is always better since it takes a few days to schedule Atlanta Gas Light to come to your house, make sure the gas line is safe and turn on your gas.

Sep
21

The Gas South Winter Survival Guide

It may be hot now, but those cold winter months are right around the corner. If you’re worried about staying warm and keeping money in your pocket, we’re here to help!

We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help throughout the cold winter months. You may be surprised by how a few simple changes can add up to big savings on your natural gas bill and keep you nice and toasty!

So, before the big chill comes, apply some of our Winter Survival Guide tips and show winter you mean business.

Bring the heat
This one is a given, but we’ll say it anyway: the best way to show winter who’s boss is to turn on the heat with a killer natural gas service provider. May we recommend Gas South’s fixed and variable rate plans? We hear they’ve got it going on.

Rate Plans: VARIABLE OR FIXED — Which One is Best for You?

What’s the difference?
Variable rate plans fluctuate every month according to market conditions. That means what you pay per therm this month could be more, less, or the same as the previous month. Fixed rates, on the other hand, are locked and remain unchanged throughout the term of your contract — usually 6, 12, 18 or 24 months.

Why go variable?

  • You plan to stay less than six months in your current residence.
  • You prefer not to commit to a contract.

Why go fixed?

  • You can save money. Fixed rates are generally lower than Variable rates.
  • A consistent rate helps you better manage your household budget.

Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you don’t have one yet, get one ASAP. They allow you to program temperature settings by time and day, meaning you can set the temperature lower during the hours you’re out at work or on vacation, and have it automatically raise before you return, so you’re walking into a nice and warm home. These beauties can save up to 15% on energy costs — a big return for a small investment.

Set Your Thermostat to 68º
Keeping comfortable and saving energy is important — and setting your thermostat to 68 degrees achieves both in cold weather. For every degree you lower your thermostat below 70, you’ll save an easy 5% on your heating costs. So, just a 2-degree decrease, from 70 to 68 degrees, rounds up to a nice 10% cut in your energy expenses.

With that said, DON’T turn the heat off while you’re away. It takes more energy to bring your home back to a comfortable temperature, and your pipes could burst if the temperature drops below freezing. Instead, simply lower your thermostat down a few degrees to save.

Increase Ceiling Insulation
Looking for a quick 5-25% reduction in heating loss? You can find it right above your head. If your ceiling isn’t properly insulated, it’s letting warm air out and costing you serious change as your thermostat works constantly to keep the temperature up. For best results, consider increasing your insulation to R-38.

Flip Your Fan Switch
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, you’ll want to flip that when you turn your heat on, making your fan’s blades spin clockwise. This causes the fan to produce an updraft, forcing the hot air that rises to your ceiling down and into the rest of the room.

Seal Ducts and Plug Door and Window Leaks
Another often overlooked energy-waster is leaking ductwork, which can account for more than 25-30% of heating costs in some homes! Check the tightness of ducts and be sure to plug any visible open spots with insulation material. While you’re at it, check your doors and windows — they could be responsible for wasting 10% of your energy costs. It’s worth fixing this by installing weather-stripping or caulk around leaky doors and windows.

There you have it – a winter survival guide that leaves you warm and stress-free financially. If you need help getting your natural gas up and running this winter, drop us a line!

Feb
11

Two-Step Winter Survival Guide

Nobody likes spending more on bills when seasons change. So let’s do something about it this winter – take the Winter Survival Guide challenge. Following the two steps could help you save hundreds of dollars over time, if not more.GS_Daylight_Saving_Time_3-01-1024x1024Step One: Are you on a Variable or Fixed Rate for natural gas?

Check your Gas South bill to see which rate plan you’re on – Variable or Fixed. Now, let’s determine which rate is best for you.

What’s the Difference?

  • Variable Rates do as the name implies – fluctuate every month. What you pay this month could be more than the previous month, because Variable Rate prices are set by demand in the natural gas market.
  • Fixed Rates remain unchanged throughout the term of your contract with Gas South – 6, 12 or 18 months.

Why Choose Fixed?

  • Using 2014 rate prices, Fixed Rate customers saved 38% on natural gas compared to those on a Variable Rate – an average of more than $300 annually!
  • A consistent rate helps you to better manage your household budget.

Why Choose Variable?

  • A Variable Rate should be considered if you are only planning to stay at your current residence for less than six months.
  • If you don’t like contracts, you would also want to choose a Variable Rate.

Money-Saving Tip: Already on a Fixed Rate plan? Make sure you check when your plan expires. If you don’t renew your Fixed Rate plan in time, you’ll be automatically placed on a Variable Rate which will likely lead to a spike in your gas bill.

Step Two: Energy-Saving Tips to do at Home

The less energy you use, the less you spend on bills – it’s that simple. So if you’ve taken step one, let’s keep moving in the right direction by applying the simple tips that are listed below, which can also have a major impact on your bill.

  • Set Your Thermostat to 68 Degrees! For every degree lowered in the 60-to-70-degree heating range, you’ll save 5% on your heating costs. So, just a 2 degree decrease, from 70 to 68 degrees, rounds up to a 10% cut in your energy expenses.
  • Seal Ducts! An often overlooked energy-waster is leaking ductwork, which can account for 25 to 30% of heating costs in some homes! If you’re comfortable doing a little DIY, check the tightness of ducts and be sure to plug any visible open spots with insulation material. You can also consider hiring a contractor to do it for you.
  • Increase Ceiling Insulation! Want a quick 5 to 25% reduction in heating loss? Look above you – if your ceiling is uninsulated or scantily done so, it’s costing you money. For best results, consider increasing your insulation to up to R-38.
  • Plug Door and Outlet Leaks! Check your doors and windows – they could be responsible for up to 10% of your energy costs being wasted. You can fix this by installing weather-stripping or caulk around leaky doors and windows.

For more energy-saving tips, check out Gas South’s guide: www.gas-south.com/PageContents/PDF/EnergySavingTips.pdf

Now that we’ve equipped you with the tools you need to save energy and money, you can rest easy during the coldest months of the year! Good luck and happy saving!

Jan
9

Brrr!!! Higher bill this month?

It’s Mother Nature…but you can do something about it

Did you know what a “Polar Vortex” was before this week? Nope, neither did we. For those of us who had the recent “pleasure” of experiencing its frigid fringe, we learned that, as the name suggests, it’s very, very cold. So cold, in fact, that for a night, Atlanta was even chillier than Moscow, Russia, at 5  ̊F. That was just the temperature reading, however. Throw in the wind-chill factor and it felt like -11 on Peachtree Street Tuesday morning – a record-setter in the normally pleasant state of Georgia.

As expected, the local news was filled with how-to advice for battling the plunging temperatures. One segment even featured Gas South Vice President of HR & External Affairs, Meredith Hodges, who said that natural gas consumption was more than 20 percent higher in Georgia this past December than in the previous two years. And more bad news: January could be even higher! That means homes across the country could experience “bill shock” because of increased heating costs.

Since you may be using more gas than usual, your bills could be higher than you’d expect. As the temperature drops, your furnace must work even harder to keep your home warm. During this cold snap, follow a few easy energy saving tips, so you can stay comfortable AND save money. Did you know that decreasing the thermostat temperature by one degree can lower your bill by 3 percent? Or that that 40 percent of the energy loss in your home is due to leakage? We hope these energy-saving tips, some of which take little to no time or money to implement, will make a big difference for you.

In the meantime, stay warm!

Dec
10

Save money and energy with these simple year-round tips

Hey, what happened to fall in Georgia this year? Sure, the colors changed as planned, but doesn’t it seem like we skipped the pleasant transition of sunny, warm days with cool nights and went straight to scraping ice off the windshield and rummaging around the attic for ugly holiday sweaters?

All of this means one thing, of course – You’re using more gas to heat your home. However, there are things you can do to help offset higher energy bills. Follow these simple and important tips and you’ll be well on your way to saving energy this winter:

Lower the Temperature: In the winter, set your thermostat to 68°F when you’re home or 60°F when you’re away. But do not turn it off. It will cost more to reheat your home from colder temperatures than to keep it at 60°F. This can save 5-20% on your heating costs. Even lowering your heat by one degree during any 24-hour period can decrease your heating bill by up to 3%.

Maintain your heating system: Keep the filter clean and make sure that rugs and furniture are not blocking vents inside the house. Hire a licensed contractor to inspect your unit and consider upgrading old units for improved efficiency.

Insulate your home and seal your windows and doors: More than 40% of residential energy loss is due mainly to air leakage – yikes! Add caulk or weather stripping to windows and doors to reduce energy-sapping drafts. Caulk around pipes, ducts, vents or other openings in walls, floors, ceiling and attic.

Run appliances with full loads: Running the dryer or dishwasher with small loads uses the same energy as running them with full loads.

Open blinds and drapes during the day: Let the sun shine in during the winter for added warmth. Close at night to prevent drafts and loss of heat through the glass.

Stay warm, Georgians! For more great tips, visit our website.

Jan
7

5 Ways to Lower Your Natural Gas Bill

At the start of the winter season as the temperature starts to drop, many people start to worry about a rising heating bill. Our customers often come to us at this time of year looking for advice on how to keep natural gas costs down. We are prepared every year to provide our customers with tips to do just that. Here are a handful of ways you can potentially cut your natural gas usage during the winter months.

1.) Invest in a programmable or smart thermostat. The majority of programmable thermostats allow you to set multiple time frames and temperatures to fit your lifestyle. We highly recommend smart thermostats, such as The Nest, as they can save you 10 to 12 percent in heating costs. See our top reasons to get a smart thermostat here. Programming your thermostat enables you to lower the temperature when are at work or asleep to conserve energy, and raise the temperature before you return home to maximize comfort.

2.) Avoid large swings in temperature. Avoid raising or lowering the temperature settings more than 5-8 degrees in a daily period to control your natural gas costs. The only exception should be when you are not at home for an extended period of time and you can set it at a lower temperature than normal. Large swings in temperature can cause your unit to work harder to heat your home, resulting in spikes in your heating bill.

3.) Change the filter in your furnace or air handler regularly. A dirty air filter causes your system to work harder to push the air throughout your home, causing increased energy usage. Most HVAC companies recommend inspecting, cleaning, or replacing the filter every month during the summer and winter seasons to ensure the system is running properly and to keep heating costs low.

4.) Keep windows and doors shut. Another easy way to cut heating costs is to make sure that all windows and doors remain closed. If you feel a draft near a door or window even when it is closed, check for leaks and seal them with weather stripping or caulk. Allowing the sun to come through sealed windows can help warm your home naturally, but once it is dark out, close blinds or drapes to further insulate your windows.

5.) Wear warm clothes. This is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to lower your gas bills during the winter. Most energy efficiency websites recommend a maximum heating temperature setting of less than 70 degrees. For those of you who feel cold at temperatures below 70 degrees, a light jacket, sweat shirt, long sleeve shirt, or sweater can help keep you warm without having to raise your thermostat temperature and therefore your natural gas usage.

Bonus Tip – Don’t Forget Water and Electric
Electrical outlets in exterior walls are an extremely common cause of heat loss in your home, as are the gaps around water pipes where they pass through walls. Make sure you inspect these areas of your home and seal up any cracks to further reduce heating costs.

Though heating bills are ultimately dependent on how cold the winter is, these tips should allow you to reduce your natural gas usage and cut your heating costs. What are some ways you try to save during the colder months?