• Natural Gas 101

  • Natural gas, a naturally occurring fuel found underground that is largely made of methane, is an alternative method to powering or heating your home or business.

    Advantages

    Natural gas has several benefits and uses. It can be used for heating and cooking, and it can be transformed into electricity. It has long been a favorite with homeowners over coal and oil because it costs less, and is reliable, in abundant supply, efficient and the cleanest burning fossil fuel.

    Appliances

    The use of gas has increased in recent years, but, as the result of more efficient appliances, the amount of gas consumed has not risen as much. Some of the benefits of using natural gas with many of your common appliances include:

    Indoor heating systems

    Natural gas is always there for your heating needs since it does not require you to pay to refill your boiler, furnace, indoor fireplace or water heater.

    Kitchen and cooking appliances

    Using a gas stove or grill helps you have almost instant control over the amount of heat used before and during cooking.

    Outdoor heating systems

    You can have an outdoor hearth or a patio heater to keep you, your family and guests warm anytime of the year.  

    Safety

    Natural gas is a safe, clean, efficient fuel for home or business use. The following recommendations will assist you in using natural gas appliances safely and economically. Your local natural gas or propane provider may recommend additional safety precautions.

    If you smell gas, take action.

    Because natural gas is colorless and odorless, a harmless but strong-smelling ingredient called "mercaptan" has been added to draw attention to any leak that might occur. If you smell this strong odor in your home or business, or you have other reason to suspect a natural gas leak, take action right away:

    • Immediately extinguish all open flames, such as candles, cigarettes, kerosene lamps and heaters 
    • Alert everyone in the area of the potential danger and evacuate the area 
    • Do not touch any light switches, do not use the phone, and do not use a flashlight as you leave. Avoid any actions that could cause a spark 
    • Move a safe distance away from the area and call your natural gas delivery company, or call 911 to report the location of the natural gas odor. (Our natural gas customers should call 302-454-0317) 
    • Stay away from the area until trained professionals arrive to make it safe 
    • Never try to fix a leaking natural gas pipeline or extinguish a natural gas fire

    Winter Safety Tips

    Since many people spend more time indoors during winter, we urge customers to use caution. For a safe and warm winter, please:

    • Keep the area around your heater and water heater open, clear and free from stored items (such as boxes, books, flammable liquids, containers, etc.)
    • Keep your chimney and flue clean and clear from debris (such as leaves or mortar) because a blocked chimney or flue on a natural gas furnace can emit deadly carbon monoxide buildup in your home
    • Schedule an annual chimney cleaning by a professional technician
    • Keep natural gas equipment properly ventilated to ensure safe operation
    • be sure outside vents from direct-vent appliances (such as dryers and heaters) are free from snow, ice and rubble
    • Make sure your gas meter is free from snow and ice by gently clearing snow using a broom or large brush
    • Keep shoveled and plowed snow piles far away from your gas meter and never use a shovel or sharp tool to chip ice away – this can cause damage or break the meter
    • Repair gutters and downspouts that drip water onto your meter 

    If your meter is encased in ice and you experience problems with your gas service, or if you smell gas - please call our gas emergency number (302) 454-0317 immediately.

    Call Before You Dig

    State law requires you to call a utility locating service, Miss Utility at 811, before you start digging - these services are free. Save yourself time, trouble, injury and perhaps even a fine - call before you dig. 

    Annual Appliance Check-Ups

    A qualified contractor should inspect your natural gas appliances and piping each year. Vent inspection is also necessary to ensure that any carbon monoxide is vented outside your home or business. These inspections can identify potential problems and ensure the safety of your family and employees.

    Natural Gas Safety Brochures