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UGI Encourages Consumers to be Aware of the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide and Use Safe Practices During an Extended Power Outage

31 Oct 2011

Reading, PA – With widespread electric power outages, reports are surfacing that some residents are using fuel-burning ovens, ranges and other appliances to heat their homes. UGI strongly advises customers that this is a dangerous practice that can spread Carbon Monoxide (CO) through your home.

Common sources of CO include unvented, fuel-burning space heaters (especially if malfunctioning) and indoor use of a charcoal barbeque grill. CO is produced by natural gas stoves and ranges and can become a problem with prolonged, improper operation — for example, if these appliances are used to heat the home.

Carbon Monoxide safety is particularly important 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 630,000 natural gas and electric customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania.  Additional information about UGI is available at www.ugi.com.