Reading, PA – With much of our service area experiencing an ice storm in the past 24 hours and predictions of snow on the way, UGI encourages residents who use fuel-burning heating equipment and appliances to take several simple steps to help prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide (CO) in their homes.
UGI encourages all customers to ensure that natural gas appliances are properly maintained. A malfunctioning furnace, boiler, water heater or stove can emit CO into a home. In addition, restricted ventilation may create improper air flow and produce high levels of CO.
Customers are also urged to ensure external vents are cleared of snow and ice and internal vents are not blocked by household items or other obstructions.
If you’re heating equipment is not working or if you lose electric power, never use an oven, grill or other fossil-fuel burning device inside your home to provide heat.
Customers should be aware of the signs of CO in their homes. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is a by-product of the combustion of fuels such as wood, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, natural gas and 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
- Residents in the home suffering flu-like symptoms or feeling unusually tired.
CO poisoning can be fatal. Individuals who think they might be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention. To prevent CO poisoning, you should:
- Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and the batteries powering them are fresh. CO detectors/alarms should be located on each floor of a home, especially near every separate sleeping area. Be aware that CO detectors have a limited operating life. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for related information and replacement considerations.
- Use extra caution when using space heaters. Never place them on top of furniture, near water, or near anything that may catch fire, such as drapes, bedding, etc.
- If you see black stains on the outside of the chimney or flue, it could mean pollutants are leaking into your home.
- Confirm appropriate levels of ventilation and air circulation around the appliance to ensure safe operation, particularly if you have made modifications to your home that reduced air flow near appliances.
- Change or clean furnace filters regularly.
UGI Utilities has headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania and serves more than 670,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland. Customers interested in additional information visit the UGI website at www.ugi.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ugiutilities; Twitter at www.twitter.com/ugi_utilities.
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