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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Safety Tips for Natural Gas

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Mon, Oct 11, 2010 @ 01:48 PM

There are many benefits for using natural gas for heating your home.  While it is generally safe and reliable, you should also be alert to potential leaks and know how to react.  Here are some safety guidelines every family should be aware of:

1. Use knowledge. You should learn all you can about natural gas and review this information with your family so that they know what to look for and when there is a problem.  Be aware that natural gas is colorless, odorless (the utility does add a distinctive odorant to help identify any leaks)   and usually clean burning.

2. Where’s the blue flame. While decorative gas fire logs have yellow flames, pilot lights and burners normally ought to have blue flames.  To know for sure, a technician often employs a combustion analyzer, but if the flame is not blue, it may not be operating properly.

3. Take care of equipment. You should hire industry professionals to check your chimneys, vents, gas appliance, furnaces and gas lines once every  year.  Make sure to follow the instructions for properly taking care of gas equipment and other appliances.  Finally, the areas around your equipment and appliances must be cleaned and unblocked so that there is an appropriate amount air flow and no accumulation of combustible materials.

4. Have a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers can save property and lives; thus, make sure you have one, know how to use it, and monitor when it is time to purchase a new one.  Consult with you fire safety provider to make sure that you purchase the correct type and number of fire extinguishers for your particular situation.  Often times, your home insurance supplier can help with this recommendation.

5. Normal use. You should make sure that you use appliances and equipment for their intended purposes.  Do not use your oven to heat your home, and do not use your stove for anything for which it was not intended.

6. Use common sense. Do not store combustible materials or household chemicals too close to the appliances.  Do not permit your children to play close to gas appliances.  Do not install gas appliances yourself; rather, hire a professional contractor who knows what to do.  Do not dig around gas lines or suspected areas; careless digging will cause damage and disrupt utility services.

7. Leave the area. Should you smell any amount of natural gas, immediately leave your home.  Even if you don’t smell anything, you should listen for a hissing sound near a gas pipeline, look for any ice formation around a pipeline, or look for sickly vegetables by the pipeline.  If you witness one of these things, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Get out.  As you are leaving, do not turn on or off any electrical appliances.  This includes cell phones and light switches; otherwise, you may accidentally create a spark which could have devastating effects.  When at a safe distance, you should call your natural gas provider and/or 911.

As long as you use these natural gas safety precautions, you can feel more protected against danger while using this generally reliable and efficient fuel.

P.K. Wadsworth services the Greater Cleveland, OH area including cities Chagrin Falls, Shaker Heights, Eastlake or anywhere in between.  To get started, check out our website.

Topics: combustible materials, combustion analyzer, safety guidelines

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