Reading, PA – As colder weather arrives in our communities, UGI urges customers to take several simple steps to ensure proper operation of natural gas-fired equipment and appliances to prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide (CO) inside homes and work spaces.
- UGI encourages all customers to properly maintain their natural gas appliances. A malfunctioning furnace, boiler, water heater or stove can emit CO into a home. In addition, restricted or damaged exhaust vents, chimneys and flues can produce high levels of CO within living spaces.
- Customers are also urged to ensure that both internal and external combustion air vents are unobstructed. Vents can become blocked during the warm weather months, and it’s important to clear any debris or other obstructions away from vents prior to winter.
- Customers should ensure that equipment rooms or utility spaces are properly sized and provide appropriate levels of ventilation and air circulation around heating equipment and appliances to ensure their safe operation. Be aware that enclosing furnaces and water heaters in small rooms during remodeling or renovation can reduce air flow and create a potentially unsafe situation.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is a by-product of the incomplete 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, customers are urged to:
- Make sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors properly located within living spaces, and the batteries powering them are fresh. CO detectors/alarms should be located on each floor of a home, including one in each bedroom or sleeping area. It is important to note that CO detectors have a limited operating life. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for related information and replacement considerations.
- If home or business heating equipment is not working or if you experience an electric power outage, never use an oven, grill or other fossil-fuel burning device inside your home to provide heat.
- Use extra caution when using space heaters. Never place a space heater on top of furniture, near standing water, or near combustible materials such as drapes, bedding, etc.
- If black stains ae visible on the outside of the chimney or flue be aware that it could mean there is a blockage and that pollutants are leaking into your home.
- 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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