(Reading, PA) – With the current cold snap, many residents are turning on their heating units for the first time this fall. UGI urges consumers who use fuel-burning heating systems to take proper precautions, because this is the most likely time when a malfunctioning unit can spread Carbon Monoxide (CO) through your home, especially if your unit has not recently been serviced.
Carbon Monoxide safety is particularly important during the winter when homes are closed tightly. Carbon monoxide CO is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that results from the incomplete burning of fuels such as wood, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, natural gas or propane.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Signs within a home that an appliance may be malfunctioning and producing CO include:
• Condensation on walls and windows
• House plants dying
• House pets becoming sluggish
• Chronic odors from a malfunctioning appliance
• Those living in the home are suffering from flu-like symptoms or are unusually tired.
CO poisoning can be fatal. Fresh air and prompt medical attention are important if you are experiencing any symptoms of CO poisoning. To prevent CO poisoning, you should:
• Make sure appliances are installed by a qualified technician and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes.
• Have the heating system (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced if you have not already done so.
• Confirm appropriate level of ventilation and air circulation for safe operation, particularly if you have made modifications to your home that reduced air flow near appliances.
• Install a CO detector/alarm on each floor of a home, especially near every separate sleeping area. CO detectors have a limited operating life. Check the manufacturer’s instruction for related information and replacement considerations.
• Change or clean furnace filters regularly.
• Keep interior and exterior air vents clear of blockages.
UGI Utilities’ headquarters is located in Reading, Pennsylvania. The utility serves more than 625,000 natural gas and electric customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania. Additional information about UGI is available at www.ugi.com.