As temperatures drop and the possibility of significant snowfall or ice accumulation becomes greater, UGI recommends the following tips to help ensure your home appliances work reliably and safely during the winter months:
For UGI Utilities Natural Gas Customers
- UGI recommends customers check natural gas appliances every heating season, and follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding care and operation. In addition, customers should know that repairs and installations are for experts – please have trained professionals perform the work.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that can be caused by malfunctioning heating units or other fuel-burning appliances. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Signs that an appliance may be producing CO include condensation on walls and windows, house pets becoming sluggish, plants dying and residents in the home suffering flu-like symptoms or feeling unusually tired. Individuals who believe they may be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention.
- Keep the flues of your gas appliances clean and properly vented. If you installed a gas conversion burner in the past year, be alert for soot and buildup from previous fuel. A buildup could block the flue and chimney base.
- Always keep trash and other flammable materials away from natural gas appliances, and if your appliances are over 20 years old, you should have the appliance connectors checked.
- On days when snow or ice fall, clear any accumulation from the outside of your furnace or other natural gas appliance vents. This allows air flow necessary for safe operation. Blocked vents can lead to a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide.
- If the snow is deep, you should clear the area around the gas meter, providing a path for UGI personnel who may require access. Please work carefully around your gas meter. Keep snow blowers and plows away from the gas meter.
- Remember that an electric power outage will affect blowers and newer heaters with electronic ignitions. If your gas heater does not relight when the power returns, turn the unit off for a moment, then back on. If it still does not light, call a heating professional for service.
- Be aware that UGI adds an odorant, which smells like rotten eggs, to natural gas to help you detect a gas leak. The odorant is added in small concentrations and is harmless. If you smell an odor of rotten eggs, leave the building immediately, taking everyone with you. Do not use the phone, light a match, or switch anything on or off. Leave the door open behind you and call UGI from your cell phone or neighbor’s home. UGI Central Penn Gas’ emergency response number is 1-800-652-0550. UGI will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately. UGI emergency responders are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. Your safety is always our top priority.
For UGI Utilities Electric Customers
Significant ice accumulation can also cause downed electric wires and power outages. UGI Electric customers who experience an outage should contact UGI at 800-276-2722. UGI urges customers to be prepared for unexpected power outages by taking the following steps:
- If you depend on medical equipment for life-support, we recommend that you purchase a back-up power supply or have arrangements to stay with family or friends in the case of an outage.
- If you are a residential customer with special needs and have an emergency, please contact your regional 911 center. Special needs customers calling UGI to report an outage should identify themselves to the customer service representative. UGI can provide information to assist you in connecting to your local 911 center.
- If you use a generator during an outage, please make sure to use it safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions on proper venting and operation.
- UGI also recommends customers prepare for an emergency by creating an emergency outage kit, including the following items:
- Flashlights and fresh batteries (use battery powered flashlights and lanterns rather than candles to minimize the risk of fire)
- battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries
- land line phone with cord (Cordless phones require electricity to operate)
- battery-powered or windup alarm clock; a supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day)
- non-perishable foods that require no heating
- hand-operated can opener
- blankets, bedding, or sleeping bags and a change of clothes
- First Aid Kit and prescription medications
- special items for infants, the elderly or family members with special needs
- pet supplies
- extra set of car keys and house keys
- Emergency Services and UGI telephone numbers
More information on these and other safety-related topics is available on our website at www.ugi.com
UGI Utilities has headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania and serves 660,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland. Customers and community members are invited to visit the UGI website at www.ugi.com; our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ugiutilities; or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ugi_utilities.