Lighting with Natural Gas
Natural gas has been used to light outdoor areas for generations. While it has now fallen out of favor for more convenient electric lighting options, there is still plenty of room for gas in the front yards and patios of our homes. And there are some excellent reasons to consider this alternative.
As Marlene Passmore, owner of Brite Lite Company, points out, when the power goes out in your community, electric front-door lights go black while gas lamps stay burning. This can be a particular advantage to elderly residents who depend on a well-lit front step to navigate into the house.
Another advantage of natural gas is its attractiveness. With its yellow flame and nostalgic associations, it lends a lovely ambiance. It adds a certain finishing touch to the landscaping and the style of the home.
It can really help catch buyers’ attention at the sale of a home. Additionally, many people who are building new homes or up-scaling their houses are installing gaslights. Passmore says that there are still many large subdivisions built in the 1970s that require homeowners to use gas lamps in their front yards. Other homeowners like to use gas lighting on the back patio or around the pool.
Gas lamps can mount on the wall, on a post, or on a pier. Pole-mounted lamps that illuminate the front walk are the most common type. Wall-mounted lamps often sit on decorative arms, and pier-mounted lamps are typically set on stone or brick columns at the entrance to driveways.
The lamps themselves vary in quality and appeal. The less expensive lamps are factory-made aluminum models, but there are a variety of beautiful handcrafted lights made out of raw materials like copper.
Gas lamps can generate as much light as an electric lamp. Some gas lamps use mantels (small mesh bags that burn), which can generate 100 watts of light when they are serviced and maintained properly. Those that feature an open, flickering flame, on the other hand, are more useful for ambience than lighting.
Indoor gas lighting is rare and impractical, usually only existing in cases in which it is grandfathered in. Modern building codes generally do not allow indoor gas lighting. Such indoor lamps require electricity anyway, as they must have shut-off valves for safety.
Despite such indoor restrictions, gas lighting options, little known to most homeowners, are well worth looking into for security and charm.
Photo: jmoconnor via stock.xhcng
Grilling with Gas
Now that summer is heating up, ambitious home cooks are firing up grills across the nation. All those hot dogs will be cooking on some type of grill, whether it’s powered by electric, charcoal, gas, propane, or pellet. While electric grills are easy to use and charcoal grills are cheap, a lot of savvy meat-lovers are grilling with natural gas.
What are the advantages of using gas to grill? How does gas perform on convenience, safety, and speed?
As Andrew Pangerc, Manufacturer's Representative at Robert H. Peterson Company, points out, gas is by far the most convenient fuel for outdoor cooking. It does not require the storage of items such as charcoal, pellets, or lighter fluids, nor the disposal of byproducts such as ash. In fact, gas grills can be connected to a home’s gas supply, which takes away the hassle of refilling a tank.
Gas grills don’t require starters, light immediately, and are ready to cook within minutes. Natural gas has the fastest start-to-cook time of any type of grill. Not only that, but gas is very safe.
A variety of types and styles of gas grills can satisfy anyone’s needs. These grills come in a range of sizes and can be built into your outdoor space, positioned on a moveable cart, or attached to a patio base or a post. Some high performance grills, such as various models by R.H. Peterson, allow the use of wood or charcoal for the purpose of flavoring, while maintaining the convenience of gas as the primary heat source.
So what type of outdoor natural gas grill should the discerning home griller invest in?
“I may be a bit biased, but I think the Fire Magic product from R.H. Peterson is one of the finest money can buy,” says Pangerc. “It offers all the features you could possibly need for any type of cooking you might do.”
At the very least, he says, if your budget and space allow, go with some kind of a built-in system. It will add value to your home and will be a prime feature of any outdoor living space. Where space is very limited, a patio base or post model might work best, and if portability is important, go for the moveable cart.
A good grill is an important purchase for those who care about delicious food and about the quality of the time they spend outdoors.
Photo: woodleywonderworks via Flickr