Nothing makes a Michigan summer perfect like a warm night outside with burgers on the grill, cooking s’mores over a fire and enjoying a swim or a soak in a pool or hot tub at just the right temperature. What you may not realize is there’s an easy way to make all those things possible using the same fuel that warms your house and cooks your food in the winter: natural gas.

Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are increasingly popular ways to create a focal point when enjoying a deck or patio. Traditional wood-burning pits and fireplaces generate smoke and ash that require cleaning and constant tending, making it harder to enjoy your outdoor space. A natural gas fireplace or fire pit, however, starts and stops at the push of a button and burns just as cleanly as the burners on your stove. Natural gas can also power outdoor lighting for a soft, warm glow to make your outdoor space more inviting. Whether it’s for looks, for light or for toasting marshmallows, natural gas lights,  and a fire pit or fireplace makes your outdoor space the perfect place to savor a summer evening.

Saving money, saving time

When it comes time to fire up the grill for your Fourth of July cookout or simply to avoid heating up your home with an oven or stovetop, natural gas is the clear winner over propane or charcoal for both convenience and cost. With a natural gas grill, there’s no waiting for coals to heat up, and you never have to worry about making a trip to the store to exchange a propane tank. A natural gas grill can reach 600 degrees in as quickly as six minutes, so you spend less time waiting for the grill to be ready and more time making a delicious meal. Natural gas cookouts also cost only about one-sixth the cost of cooking with charcoal, and about one-third the cost of propane. Conversion kits are also available to adapt your existing propane grill to natural gas and allow you to get started using natural gas when connected to an outdoor gas outlet.

Natural gas also gives you a cost-effective option for heating your pool or hot tub. A gas pool heater works like a boiler, pulling in water and warming it as the gas burns in a separate combustion chamber. The water then circulates back into the pool, producing a consistent temperature twice as fast as an electric heater. A gas pool heater can even pay dividends year-round by allowing you to maintain the temperature you want in any temperature, letting you enjoy your pool or spa whenever you want.

To find out more about how natural gas can contribute to helping you enjoy your house year-round, visit dteenergy.com/gashouse.