Reading, PA – As temperatures warm with the imminent arrival of spring, UGI reminds residents that cold nights will require continued use of fuel-burning heating equipment. Homeowners are urged to take several simple steps to ensure proper operation of appliances and prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide (CO) inside homes and work spaces.
- UGI encourages all customers to ensure that natural gas appliances are properly maintained. A malfunctioning furnace, boiler, water heater or stove can emit CO into a home. In addition, restricted or damaged ventilation or exhaust equipment can produce high levels of CO.
- Customers are also urged to ensure that both internal and external vents are unobstructed.
- Customers should ensure that equipment rooms or utility spaces are properly sized and provide appropriate levels of ventilation and air circulation around the heating equipment and appliances to ensure 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.
Customers should be aware of the signs of CO in their homes. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is a by-product of the 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, you should:
- Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and the batteries powering them are fresh. CO detectors/alarms should be located on each floor of a home, especially near every separate sleeping area. Be aware that CO detectors have a limited operating life. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for related information and replacement considerations.
- If you’re heating equipment is not working or if you lose electric power, 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 them on top of furniture, near water, or near anything that may catch fire, such as drapes, bedding, etc.
- If you see black stains on the outside of the chimney or flue, it could mean 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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