Category Archives: appliances

Jake Rubin Understanding Your Natural Gas Bill

More than 177 million Americans use natural gas to cook a hot meal, heat their water or warm their houses. Many parts of the country have felt the chill of winter and that means folks are using more natural gas. The American Gas Association has developed a video to explain what goes into your natural gas bill.

Your bill is essentially comprised of three parts:

  1. Gas you used: Often, the largest part of your bill is based on the amount of natural gas you use each month. The United States has an abundance of clean natural gas and that has led to stable and affordable prices. Utilities do not make a profit on the gas they deliver to your home or business.
  2.  Delivery cost: The public utility commission, a group of elected or appointed officials, sets the rate that your utility can charge each month. Included in this cost is maintenance, upgrades of the pipes that deliver natural gas to your home or businesses and everything else that is needed to help ensure safe and reliable delivery of natural gas.
  3.  Local, state and federal taxes.

During the 2013-14 Winter Heating Season, the natural gas delivery system in the United States achieved historic levels of performance. More natural gas was delivered through more pipelines to more customers than ever before, and customer bills remained affordable. Residential customer bills increased only 10 percent on average from the prior winter – an increase mostly due to higher consumption.

AGA expects relatively warmer temperatures this winter based on information from the climate Prediction Center, which may lead to a reduction in demand. Natural gas prices are likely to be slightly higher, resulting in an increase in customer bills of about seven percent this winter.

Promise Delivered is an AGA study of the planning, preparation and performance of the natural gas system during the 2013-14 Winter Heating Season. Utilities work all year to prepare for the possibility of extreme temperatures and employ a portfolio approach to help ensure they can meet the needs of their customers at affordable prices on the coldest days of the year. Before last year’s extraordinary winter concluded, they were already preparing for this winter cycle.

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Tracy Burleson Great Kitchens Help to Sell Great Homes

Consider Customized Cooking Equipment in Unique Colors & Finishes to Add Value to a Home

Guest Blogger: Ann Pelicata, Marketing Manager, BlueStar®*

Blue Star logo 300x63 Great Kitchens Help to Sell Great Homes

It’s no secret that restaurant-quality appliances are hot for the serious and aspiring home chef – and a hot commodity in the real estate world.  Builders and remodelers can add a little sizzle to the kitchen with a customized, USA-handcrafted BlueStar® Platinum Series  professional gas range decked out in the newly announced Pantone® 2015 Color of the Year, Marsala, which will be on view at the International Builders’ Show (IBS) on Jan. 20 through 22 in Las Vegas, NV as part of the American Gas Association booth (#C2615).

Cooking With Color

BS Marsala Kitchen 286x300 Great Kitchens Help to Sell Great Homes While the rest of the kitchen is often a monochromatic look, the range offers an opportunity to add unique color and standout design.  In a model home, consider featuring a range in a vivid shade or add just a splash of color to a stainless steel range with colored knobs.  BlueStar offers more than 750 colors and nearly unlimited customization options, including custom trim packages, to personalize a statement kitchen – and offers home builders a real opportunity to differentiate homes.  Choose from unique color collections such as on-trend precious metals finishes, textured finishes and new jewel tones. Prospective home buyers will love the ability to design a completely personalized product that fits their design sensibilities and cooking preferences.

Chef’s Choice

A BlueStar commercial style gas range offers unmatched power and performance. Handcrafted in Reading, PA since 1880, BlueStar cooking products are designed for discerning home chefs who demand restaurant-quality results in their own kitchens.  With an unparalleled burner intensity of up to 25,000 BTUs, a precise 130 simmer burner and an extra-large capacity convection gas oven,  BlueStar is a standout choice for quality home builders.

BlueStar will showcase its premium Platinum Series™ range in Marsala at IBS. Pantone describes the color as “a naturally robust and earthy wine red”—and, according to BlueStar, this shade makes a rich appliance color or an ideal kitchen accent. The Platinum Series™, which includes 60-inch, 48-inch, 36-inch and 30-inch units, features searing 25,000 BTU burners for maximum, concentrated heat; an interchangeable cast-iron griddle/charbroiler system that offers the ultimate in cooking flexibility; and the revolutionary PowR Oven™ technology to ensure faster, more efficient heating.  As with all BlueStar gas ranges, the Platinum Series also features a precise simmer burner, integrated wok cooking and an extra-large convection oven that fits a commercial size sheet pan.

The BlueStar® product line also features additional gas range lines; new high-performance electric wall oven; gas rangetops and cooktop; gas wall ovens; professional-style kitchen hoods; and salamander grills.

*Statements of fact or opinion in this blog post are the responsibility of BlueStar alone and do not imply an opinion or endorsement on the part of the American Gas Association.

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Tracy Burleson Bradford White Infiniti Tankless™ Water Heaters with SRT™ Scale Reduction Technology

Guest Blogger: Pam Long, Marketing Coordinator, Bradford White Corporation*

Next to heating and cooling systems, the second biggest energy user in an average American home is the water heater. The cost to operate a natural gas water heater is less than electric water heaters, on average, and can heat water twice as fast. This translates to consumers saving both money and time, something we all could use more of.

HE Infinity 8 v2 2 Bradford White Infiniti Tankless™ Water Heaters with SRT™ Scale Reduction TechnologyBradford White’s new Infiniti Tankless™ Water Heater Series featuring the exclusive SRT™ Scale Reduction Technology – available in both condensing and non-condensing models – combines the energy and space saving features of tankless water heaters with new technologies and designs that significantly reduce scale build-up, reduce maintenance, improve performance, and provide greater installation flexibility.

The SRT™ system utilizes multiple components to reduce scale. These components disturb water-flow and greatly reduce hotspots that allow scale to accumulate. The SRT™ system significantly reduces the incidence of scale build-up known to result in poor performance, pre-mature component or product failure, and ultimately additional maintenance costs for the consumer.

To minimize water temperature fluctuation during hot water usage, the Infiniti condensing model is equipped with an automatic and fully modulating bypass. Together with temperature sensors located throughout the unit, temperature stability throughout the draw remains consistent resulting in a better user experience.

Giving design engineers and installing contractors a wider array of venting options and configurations, the Infiniti condensing model is approved for use with PVC, CPVC, ABS and Polypropylene, and is available with an optional “up & out” concentric vent kit requiring only one penetration through the wall or roof.

Infiniti Tankless™ Water Heaters are ENERGY STAR® qualified and include both condensing and non-condensing residential models with 199,000 BTU inputs. Additional features include an easy-to-use, built-in digital control, built-in freeze protection, Low NOx emissions, an optional outdoor installation kit, and a limited 12-year warranty on the heat exchanger and a limited 5-year warranty on all parts.

Attendees of the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show on January 20 through 22 in Las Vegas, NV can check out the new Infiniti Tankless™ Water Heaters as part of the American Gas Association exhibit booth. Make sure to follow AGA’s twitter page, @aga_naturalgas, and #IBSVegas for photos and updates throughout the show.

*Statements of fact or opinion in this blog post are the responsibility of Bradford White alone and do not imply an opinion or endorsement on the part of the American Gas Association.

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Christina Nyquist Natural Gas Appliances Can Cut Home Heating Bills in Half and Reduce Emissions

You could save anywhere from $300 to $1,262 per year on home heating costs and reduce your carbon footprint just by choosing a natural gas furnace, water heater or both.

These findings come with the release of AGA’s 2014 Representative Average Residential Space Heating and Water Heating Costs analysis which compares average annual costs for various types of space and water heating appliances. Based on estimated representative average fuel unit costs published by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, AGA analysts estimated the annual costs for natural gas furnaces and water heaters when compared to their propane, oil and electric counterparts.

A piece of equipment with a higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating provides greater savings for customers. For example, a 97 percent AFUE natural gas furnace provides the lowest cost space heating option for homeowners, followed by an 80 percent AFUE natural gas furnace. Both offer significant annual operating cost savings over comparable space heating options.

The charts below break down potential savings by each appliance option. For more detail, as well as information on how these numbers were compiled, view AGA’s recent press release. Heating Water Costs graph 1 Natural Gas Appliances Can Cut Home Heating Bills in Half and Reduce Emissions

Heating Water Costs graph 2 Natural Gas Appliances Can Cut Home Heating Bills in Half and Reduce EmissionsSavings can be attributed to the low price of natural gas driven by its domestic abundance, as well as the efficiency of natural gas delivery systems and appliances. Direct use of natural gas – when natural gas is consumed directly in appliances for heating and cooling, water heating, cooking and clothes drying – achieves 92 percent energy efficiency from the point of production to delivery to the consumer. In typical home appliances, the direct use of natural gas cuts energy consumption by 28 percent compared to a similar home with all-electric appliances and produces 37 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas water heaters, for example, are nearly twice as efficient as electric resistance water heaters on a full-fuel-cycle comparison.

You can work with your local natural gas utility to upgrade your appliances and get more tips to increase your energy savings. As part of their commitment to promoting cost-effective and practical approaches to increasing energy efficiency, natural gas utilities invested $1.1 billion in natural gas efficiency programs in 2012 and budgeted nearly $1.5 billion for the 2013 program year. Here are a few services offered by some utilities:

  • Offering low-interest financing, cash rebates and other financial subsidies for high-efficiency natural gas appliance purchases and whole home or building efficiency improvements
  • Providing home energy audits, weatherization kits and programmable thermostats
  • Supplying information on insulation and high-efficiency appliances
  • Connecting customers with experienced and reliable appliance and service providers
  • Making online information available such as energy usage calculators

Every day, America’s local natural gas utilities safely and reliably deliver savings and solutions like this to their more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout the United States. By providing access to our nation’s affordable, efficient and clean energy source, AGA’s member companies are helping to secure a sustainable energy future.

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