Natural Gas Basics
Known as the cleanest fossil fuel on Earth, natural gas is made up of light hydrocarbons and other gases (primarily methane) naturally occurring in rock formations deep below the Earth’s surface. It is colorless, odorless, lighter than air and non-corrosive. Once removed from the ground, an odorant is added then it’s safely transported through an underground system of pipes to homes, businesses and industries.
Natural gas is measured in British thermal units (Btu). One Btu is equivalent to the heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. A cubic foot of natural gas holds about 1,032 Btu of power. The unit you see on your utility bill holds even more power: therms – a unit of heating equal to 103,200 Btu. One therm is enough to provide about 2.5 days of hot water for your household and two therms can warm your home for a day.
Get more detailed information about natural gas from the American Gas Association (AGA), the premier organization for gas utilities and pipelines.