Reading, PA – UGI strongly advises customers to be aware of the significant safety risks of using natural gas fired appliances such as ovens, ranges and dryers to heat their homes during electric power outages. Misuse of natural gas appliances in this manner can cause an extremely dangerous fire hazard, and can spread Carbon Monoxide (CO) throughout a customer’s home.
In addition to natural gas appliances, common sources of CO include unvented, fuel-burning space heaters (especially if malfunctioning) and indoor use of a charcoal barbeque grill. In addition, UGI reminds customers using generators during an outage to please make sure they follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions on proper venting and operation.
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 648,000 natural gas and electric customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania. Additional information about UGI is available at www.ugi.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ugiutilities or Twitter at www.twitter.com/ugi_utilities.