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Gas Safety Newsletter - DEC 2016

As temperatures drop during the winter months, there is an increase in the use of natural gas to stay warm and comfortable. While natural gas is one of the safest sources of energy it’s important to recognize signs of a gas leak and what to do if you do suspect a leak.
With gas leaks – being Nosey can save your life!

Take immediate action anytime you suspect a natural gas leak. Be aware that we add an odorant, which smells like rotten eggs, to natural gas to help you detect a gas leak.

  • Smell gas. Act fast. If you smell an odor of rotten eggs leave the premise immediately; take everyone with you, including pets.
  • Do not use the phone, light a match or switch anything on or off. Once clear of the area, call 1-800-490-0045 or 911 using your cell phone or neighbor’s home phone.
  • Our emergency responders are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. Your safety is always our top priority. We will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately.

Keep in mind cold and frigid temperatures can affect the way gas is traveling making it seem like an odor is in one area when actually it is in another. No matter what, if you smell something, say something, and act FAST! Whether inside or outside the premise, don’t wait - or think someone else will call. Call 1-800-490-0045 or 911 immediately!!!

Remember to check your oven this baking season.

Before you gather ingredients needed for mom’s favorite cookie recipe, be sure your gas oven is up to par. We urge you to be cautious when using gas ovens all year round – and especially in winter. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always operate ovens as they are intended. Do not use to heat a room.
  • Be sure children are monitored while oven is in use.
  • Slots, holes or passages in the oven bottom, as well as oven racks, should NEVER be covered (such as with aluminum foil). Doing so blocks air flow and may cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Use aluminum foil with caution as liners could trap heat and cause a fire hazard. Should you need to use foil be sure to keep it at least 1½ inches from oven walls
  • Remember to use your senses: a strong, pungent odor or the presence of soot on any part of the oven surface indicates improper combustion and carbon monoxide generation.
  • If you suspect carbon monoxide, move to a safe area and call 911 immediately.
Be smart about carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is more common during cold weather when home windows and doors are closed tightly. The poisoning can result from a malfunctioning heating unit, fuel-burning appliance or a blocked chimney. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and dizziness

Signs that indicate an appliance may be producing carbon monoxide:

  • Condensation on walls and windows
  • Sluggish house pets
  • Dying plants
  • Residents feeling unusually tired or suffering from flu-like symptoms If you or any resident believes they are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately seek fresh air and medical attention.

We recommend the following tips to help ensure the safe and reliable use of natural gas equipment:

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and refresh batteries.
  • Never use a generator, grill, stove or fossil-fuel burning device inside a home, garage or other enclosed area.
  • Never heat a home with an oven. Using a secondary heating source can increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • When using a space heater, place the unit on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable (such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs) at least three feet away. 
  • Turn off space heaters before leaving the room or going to bed. 
  • In extreme cold weather, your heating unit may have difficulty maintaining the temperature set on your thermostat based on the system capacity and other factors. If your equipment is not functioning properly, you may need to contact your heating contractor
Use caution when clearing snow and ice.

As snow and ice accumulates, it’s important to clear walkways and driveways. It’s also important to clear any accumulation from outside vents of your furnace or other natural gas appliances.

Maintaining air flow is necessary for safe operation. Blocked vents can lead to dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide which could back up into a home or building.

If the snow is deep, or there is ice overhanging, you should carefully clear the area around the gas meter by using a brush or broom.

Keep snow blowers and plows away from the gas meter as these may cause damage to the meter, piping or regulator,