Be Sure Your Heating Equipment is Ready for the Heating Season
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – With the official start of the fall season, it’s a good time to have your heating equipment serviced for the heating season and to review these important gas safety tips.
“The safety of our customers, communities and employees is National Grid’s top priority,” said John Bruckner, President of National Grid in New York. “The beginning of fall is a good reminder to prepare for the winter heating season by checking your equipment and to take proper safety precautions for you and your family.”
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly if left undetected. When fuels such as natural gas, butane, propane, wood, coal, heating oil, kerosene, and gasoline don’t burn completely, they can release carbon monoxide into the air. Common sources of carbon monoxide include malfunctioning forced-air furnaces, kerosene space heaters, natural gas ranges, wood stoves, water heaters, fireplaces and motor vehicle engines. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending on the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and length of exposure, symptoms may include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control.
If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and call 911. Next, call National Grid’s gas emergency contact number 1-800-892-2345. Do not return to your home until the carbon monoxide source is found. National Grid will respond immediately to all carbon-monoxide related calls for all natural gas customers within its service area – even if you purchase natural gas from an alternative gas supplier or marketer.
National Grid shares the following safety reminders with its customers to help identify and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Install Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved home carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year.
- Check chimneys or flues for debris, bird nests or other blockages, and have them cleaned periodically.
- Be sure space heaters and wood stoves are in good condition, have adequate ventilation and are used in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- It’s that time of year when ovens are used more frequently; take precaution to operate a gas oven safely.
- Always operate ovens as they are intended. Do not use to heat a room.
- Be sure children are monitored while the 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.
- 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.
- Never burn coal or charcoal in an enclosed space.
- If you use a back-up generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Know that open windows do not provide sufficient ventilation to safely operate a generator indoors.
- Confirm that you have working smoke detectors in every bedroom to ensure you “hear the beep where you sleep” in the event of a fire.
- Batteries should be replaced in smoke alarms at least once a year, unless the alarms have sealed, 10-year batteries.
- Inspect fire extinguishers at least once a month, ensure that: the extinguisher is not blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that could interfere with access in an emergency; the pressure is at the recommended level; the nozzle or other parts are not hindered in any way; the pin and tamper seal (if it has one) are intact; and there are no dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and/or other signs of abuse/wear. If you don’t currently have a fire extinguisher, get one. Base your selection on the classification and the extinguisher’s compatibility with the items you wish to protect.
Gas Safety Inside or Outside Your Home or Business
- If you smell gas, (the odor is similar to rotten eggs), we recommend everyone leave the premise immediately and call 911 or National Grid at 1-800-892-2345 from a safe location. Don’t light a match or smoke, turn appliances on or off (including flashlights), use a telephone or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to ignite. Remember: Smell gas. Act fast.
- Arrange for an annual check of your heating system by a licensed professional heating contractor. If you haven’t had your heating system inspected yet, call now.
For more safety tips, please visit National Grid’s website here.