As colder fall weather has moved into the area, residents have turned up their thermostats and closed in their homes and businesses. Under these conditions, use of appliances and water heaters that have not been checked by a qualified professional, or that have not been properly maintained, can lead to a higher risk of a potential carbon monoxide (CO) build-up. UGI has responded to a number of CO-related incidents over the past several weeks.
Malfunctioning heating systems and appliances, as well as blocked vents and chimneys, can be a source of carbon monoxide in a home or business. 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.
CO poisoning is serious and can be fatal. Individuals who think they might be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention.
Residents can take a number of steps to ensure the safe operation of appliances. These include the following:
If the heating equipment in your home or business is not working because of an electric power outage, never use an oven or grill inside your home to provide heat.
Use caution when using unvented space heaters, which can be a source of CO. Always follow manufacturer’s directions regarding use of these heaters. Unvented heaters are designed for supplemental use only. Be sure to provide adequate ventilation in areas where a space heater is used. Do not use unvented heaters in bedrooms, bathrooms, or confined spaces.
Signs there may be a build-up of CO in your home include:
UGI Utilities has headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania and serves more than 700,000 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.