Energy Use Investigation 4.1:

Home Heating Dilemma

“Mom, Dad, the newspaper has this great article about natural gas. It’s clean and it’s cheap, and it might be getting cheaper. I think we should get rid of our electric heating system and switch to natural gas.”

“Hold on!” said Mom. “Didn't you know that the electric power in this area comes almost entirely from natural gas? There is no need to switch.”

“That's right,” added Dad. “What’s the difference whether the gas is burned in our furnace or in some electric power plant?”

1. Burn it in a furnace in your house. You will either have it delivered through a pipeline or have containers delivered as needed to your home.

2. Have the utility company burn the gas and convert about 30% of the energy to electricity that will come to your home conveniently through the electric power lines to an electric heater.

3. Move into a neighborhood where a gas-burning power plant is to be built, and where there is a plan to pipe hot water from the condenser into nearby homes where it can be used for home heating.

Question 4.15.
What is the difference if gas is burned in your furnace or in some electric power plant?
What are the pros and cons of each of the three ways to heat a home with natural gas?