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How Gas Appliances Work

Consumers choose natural gas appliances because they are dependable, convenient and most importantly, they can provide a cost savings over the life of the appliance when compared to conventional electric appliances. Popular gas appliances include water heaters, furnaces, stoves and dryers. Gas appliances operate when a combination of natural gas and air is ignited within the appliance, often using a pilot light. The heat energy created can be used to warm the air in a natural gas furnace or quickly heat water in a natural gas water heater.

If the temperature in a home drops below a set level on a thermostat, it will trigger the gas furnace to begin creating warm air. When this occurs, the gas valve will open, allowing natural gas to flow into the furnace where it is ignited. Every furnace contains a heat exchanger, which retains the heat and sends warmed air through a home's heating duct system to heat rooms in the house. Once the home reaches a desired temperature, the thermostat will send a signal to shut off the gas valve, turning the furnace off.

Gas water heaters quickly heat cold water in a tank, a process called convection. The hot water is then transported through water pipes in a home. Water heaters today are more energy efficient than older models, providing considerable savings for consumers. Water heaters are second to furnaces as the biggest energy users in a home.

Natural gas stove tops save consumers energy and money because there's no need to wait for the gas flames on the burners to heat up. Unlike an electric stove top, the cooking stops as soon as the gas is turned off and the flame is extinguished, a considerable energy savings. Food also cooks faster and more evenly using natural gas.

Clothing also dries faster and more evenly with gas clothes dryers. Gas dryers work much like gas water heaters and gas ovens. A pilot light remains lit inside the dryer and when the dryer is turned on, it signals the pilot light to ignite the natural gas and air to heat the dryer.

Unlike electric appliances, many natural gas appliances will work even during a power outage. The burners on your gas-powered stove top will work if you use a match to light them. A natural gas water heater will work without electric power, as long as the pilot light is on. Some natural gas-powered furnaces won't work when the power is out because the entire unit may need electricity in order to operate.

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