With yet another major winter storm predicted for our area to begin over the weekend, UGI again encourages customers and the communities we serve to stay safe and warm during periods of snow, ice and cold temperatures. We recommend the following tips to help ensure the safe and reliable use of home heating equipment:
- On days with heavy ice and snow precipitation, remember to clear any accumulation from the outside vents of your furnace or other natural gas appliances. This allows the 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.
- Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and the batteries powering them are fresh.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can result from a malfunctioning heating unit or another fuel-burning appliance, as well as from a blocked chimney or vents. CO poisoning is more common during cold weather, when heating units are functioning and home windows and doors are closed tightly. CO is a colorless, odorless, gas. 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.
- Never use a generator, grill, stove or other fossil fuel burning device inside a home, garage or other enclosed area. Never heat a home with an oven if your electricity goes out.
- Use extra caution when using space heaters. Place a space heater on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable (such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs) at least three feet away from the unit.
- If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. Using secondary heating sources, such as space heaters, can increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning, or even a fire in the home.
- In extreme cold weather, your heating unit may have difficulty maintaining the temperature set on your thermostat based on the system capacity and other factors. However, if your equipment is not functioning properly, you may need to contact your heating contractor.
- Remember that an electric power outage will affect blowers and newer gas heaters with electronic ignition. 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, and once clear of the area call UGI from your cell phone or neighbor’s home. UGI’s emergency response number is 1-800-276-2722. 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. You may also call 911 to report a suspected gas leak.
- For your personal safety on extreme cold days, stay indoors as much as possible. When outdoors, wear warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Use multiple layers to maintain warmth. Seniors should take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls from icy conditions.
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 as such 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
During winter weather emergencies, UGI adjusts staffing in both its call center and operations centers to respond to any emergency situations.
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.