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Common Uses for Natural Gas


Introduction • Natural gas is a substance that was discovered by the Chinese, and has been used for hundreds of years. In the beginning, natural gas was used mostly for streetlamps, but as technology and distribution channels improved, so did the number of uses for natural gas. • Since new uses are being discovered all the time, creating a full, up-to-date list probably isn’t possible, but we can get pretty close.


Residential Heating & Cooling • For both heating and cooling purposes within the home, natural gas makes an effective solution. Natural gas as a source of heat is said to be quite a bit less expensive than electricity. And as more new homes are built in Canada and the United States, the volume of homes heated with natural gas is only going to increase.


Residential Heating & Cooling • But even though the number of homes being heated with natural gas has increased, the volume of natural gas that’s been used hasn’t. This is due to the energy efficiency of new furnaces and other natural gas appliances.


Residential Heating & Cooling • Natural gas is also used for residential air conditioners, to help keep homes cool in the hotter months. Natural gas air conditioning was popular way back in the 40s and 50s, and now it is experiencing a bit of resurgence. You will notice a higher price tag with your natural gas air conditioner, but what you save in efficiency and lower maintenance costs makes it well worth the price.


Residential Appliances • You can also branch out from just the heating and cooling and get some of your other appliances as natural gas. Things like your oven, range, clothes dryer, pool or Jacuzzi heater, space heater, barbecue, outdoor lights or fireplace can all be hooked up to the natural gas. • Whichever appliances you hook up to natural gas, you will likely notice improved efficiency and an overall more enjoyable experience.


Commercial Uses • In commercial circles, natural gas is used similarly to how it’s used residentially. The term ‘commercial’ include both private and public organizations like schools, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, churches and government buildings. The primary use for natural gas in the commercial setting is for space heating, water heating and cooking food. For businesses like restaurants that cook food as a means of making their living, natural gas is a popular choice.


Commercial Uses • The use of natural gas for commercial cooling is also expected to rise in the coming years, and maybe even catch up with the heating usage. Sometimes, a commercial building that’s using natural gas will have to call in professionals from time to time for natural gas testing to make sure all of the levels are safe.


Industrial Uses • The industrial world is the largest user of natural gas, using it as ingredients in many different products, as well as all of the regular uses. Natural gas testing is definitely an issue in the industrial sector, as only a precise amount can be used for each product application.


Industrial Uses • The majority of industries that use natural gas as part of their regular processes, includes: – – – – – – – – –

Metals Pulp & Paper Chemicals Petroleum Refining Stone Clay Glass Plastic Food Processing


Industrial Uses • Within these various applications, the natural gas may be used for preheating metals, melting glass, waste treatment and incineration, drying and dehumidification. Like with other natural gas uses, new industrial uses are being discovered all the time, which means the list is only going to grow.


Natural Gas Vehicles • The Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition says that there are currently over 5 million natural gas vehicles on the road, worldwide. Businesses that employ fleets of vehicles like taxis or buses work really well with natural gas. Most natural gas vehicles or NGVs, use compressed natural gas in order to operate. A compressed natural gas tank can be filled in the same manner and in about the same time as a regular gas tank.


Natural Gas Vehicles • There are some negatives associated with driving NGVs, though. They tend to have reduced range, less trunk space, a higher initial cost and a lack of refueling infrastructure. These reasons make it questionable as to whether NGVs will ever really make a big splash onto the vehicle scene.


Natural Gas Vehicles • Even if all of the different cars aren’t available in the near future, you can still keep an eye open for public transit that is powered by natural gas. While you’re at it, try to stay up to date with the residential, commercial and industrial reasons, to use natural gas, so you’re always one step ahead.


Advice • Natural gas is part of our everyday lives. We use it at home and at work. • If you need testing services for the natural gas, ORTECH Consulting Inc. has experience in this field. They operate an analytical chemistry laboratory which specializes in the analysis of fuel gases for heating value components as well as other measures. Visit http://www.ortechconsulting.com for more information.


Common Uses for Natural Gas