Stay warm and safe
With yet another wave of extreme cold weather predicted this week, UGI recommends the following tips to help ensure the safe and reliable use of home heating equipment:
- Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and the batteries powering them are fresh.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can result from a malfunctioning heating unit or another fuel-burning appliance, as well as from a blocked chimney. CO poisoning is more common during cold weather, when heating units are functioning and home windows and doors are closed tightly. CO is a colorless, odorless, gas. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Signs that an appliance may be producing CO include condensation on walls and windows, house pets becoming sluggish, plants dying and residents in the home suffering flu-like symptoms or feeling unusually tired. Individuals who believe they may be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention.
- Never use a generator, grill, stove or other fossil fuel burning device inside a home, garage of other enclosed area. Never heat a home with an oven if your electricity goes out.
- Use extra caution when using space heaters. Place a space heater on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable (such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs) at least three feet away from the unit.
- If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. Using secondary heating sources, such as space heaters, can increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning
- 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. However, if your equipment is not functioning properly, you may need to contact your heating contractor.
- On days when snow or ice fall, clear any accumulation from the outside vents of your furnace or other natural gas appliances. This allows air the flow necessary for safe operation. Blocked vents can lead to a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide.
- If the snow is deep, you should clear the area around the gas meter, providing a path for UGI personnel who may require access. Please work carefully around your gas meter. Keep snow blowers and plows away from the gas meter.
- Remember that an electric power outage will affect blowers and newer heaters with electronic ignitions. If your gas heater does not relight when the power returns, turn the unit off for a moment, then back on. If it still does not light, call a heating professional for service.
- Be aware that UGI adds an odorant, which smells like rotten eggs, to natural gas to help you detect a gas leak. The odorant is added in small concentrations and is harmless. If you smell an odor of rotten eggs, leave the building immediately, taking everyone with you. Do not use the phone, light a match or switch anything on or off. Leave the door open, and once clear of the area, call UGI from a cell phone or neighbor's home. UGI's emergency response number is 1-800-276-2722. UGI will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately. UGI emergency responders are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
UGI says it has increased staffing in both its call center and operations centers to respond to emergency situations during the extreme cold weather.
On the Net: www.ugi.com