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UGI Urges Residents to Follow Safe Energy Practices This Summer; Offers Conservation Tips

19 May 2015

The Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer. UGI urges residents to stay safe and use energy wisely during the warmer months.

Natural Gas Grill Safety

With the arrival of grilling season, outdoor cooks are encouraged to follow these important safety tips:

  • Before using your gas grill, clean the grill and perform a routine safety check. Check fuel line hoses for holes, cracks, brittleness, and leaks, and make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
  • Use a flexible brush to remove loose debris from the casting sides and inside of the grill lid. Use a thin wire brush to gently clean the holes or ports of each burner.
  • If a burner fails to light or if a lit burner unexpectedly goes out, turn off the grill immediately. Wait several minutes for any gas to dissipate before trying to relight.
  • A natural gas burner flame should be primarily blue with a small yellow tip. If the flame does not have that appearance, have your grill checked by a qualified technician.
  • Keep combustible materials such as paper products, linens and clothing away from burners.
  • After you’re done cooking, make sure all burners are turned off, as well as the valve on the natural gas supply.
  • Keep the hood closed to prevent water from getting into the grill. Consider using a grill cover for added protection.
  • If you smell gas or detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and call a qualified technician to check the equipment.  Do not attempt to light the grill until the leak is repaired.
  • Never use a grill indoors. Make sure the grill is at least 10 feet away from your house or any structure. Do not use a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area when it is in use.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grate and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended while in use.

Use Energy Safely Every Day

UGI also encourages residents to follow these safety tips:

  • Use covers on outdoor power outlets, especially near swimming pools. Keep cords and electrical devices away from the water, and never handle electrical items before you’ve dried off.
  • Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrical shock injuries. These devices interrupt the flow of power when they sense a surge.
  • UGI reminds all individuals doing excavation work to call to 8-1-1 at least three days before starting a digging project to have underground utilities marked.  Every digging project, no matter the size, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck and even small projects like planting trees or shrubs are all examples of digging projects that require a call to 8-1-1 before starting.  There is no charge for 8-1-1 requests.
  •  Be aware that a harmless odor, which smells like rotten eggs, is added to natural gas to help detect a gas leak. If you smell the odor of natural gas, leave the building immediately taking everyone with you. Do not use the phone, light a match, or switch anything on or off.  Once in a location where the odor of gas is no longer present, 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.   Emergency response is available 24-hours a day, every day.   Your safety is always our top priority.
  •  Summer storms can bring power outages. If you depend on medical equipment for life-support, we recommend that you purchase a back-up power supply during an emergency.
  •  If you use a generator during an outage, please make sure it is used safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions on proper venting and operation.
  •  UGI also recommends customers prepare for potential power outages by creating an emergency outage kit, including flashlights with fresh batteries, non-perishable food that does not require heating, a first-aid kit and prescription medication, an extra set of keys and key contact information.

Using Energy Wisely

UGI encourages residents to use energy wisely this summer. Here are some easy and inexpensive conservation tips.

  • Install a programmable thermostat and raise the setting to the highest comfortable temperature. You can save three-to-five percent on your air conditioning costs for each degree you raise the thermostat.
  • Close doors leading to uncooled parts of your home. If you have central air conditioning, close off vents to unused rooms. Keep filters clean.
  • Even if you have air conditioning, use ceiling fans to provide additional cooling and better circulation.
  • Seal holes and cracks around doors and windows. Eliminate air leaks around window air conditioners with foam insulation or weather-stripping.
  • Close blinds, shades and draperies facing the sun to keep out the sun’s heat and help fans and air conditioners cool more efficiently.
  • Use timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
  • If possible, install whole-house fans that bring in cooler night-time air that can pre-cool a house and reduce energy use in the daytime if heat is kept out by closing windows and shades.
  • Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Vacuum registers regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.
  • Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.

Heat Wave Safety

The arrival of summer also portends the coming of heat waves. To avoid heat stress during extreme heat, UGI offers the following guidelines:

  • Older adults and people with chronic health problems should stay indoors and in the coolest available place.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a hat or cap, keeping your neck covered. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
  • Stay indoors, if possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sun.
  • Remember: Electric fans don’t cool the air, but they will cool the body by helping sweat evaporate.
  • If possible, work or play in the cool hours of the day.
  • Stay out of direct sun for long periods.
  • Drink extra fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.

UGI Utilities is a natural gas and electric utility with headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania. UGI serves 670,000 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.

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