Public Safety 

Appliance Safety Tips

Your appliances are made with the highest quality and safety standards. They can add warmth, security and comfort to your home or business. To insure that your home is always a safe home, we urge customers to become educated consumers. This process begins when you prepare to purchase your new appliance and continues when you use energy-saving tips.

Introduction

General

  • Keep small children away from the gas stove and all gas-burning appliances.
  • Never let children swing from gas pipes.
  • Use appliances according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Never look for a gas leak with a match.
  • Appliance installation, service, repair and disconnection always should be handled by a qualified person.
  • Don't put papers, rags, paints or other flammable materials near gas appliances.
  • When lighting gas appliances, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Always light the match before turning on any gas.
  • Before you move a gas appliance, make sure the gas is turned off.
  • Make sure vents and chimneys are free of debris, such as birds' nests, leaves and fallen bricks.
  • Make sure each gas appliance has an adequate supply of fresh air, especially appliances located in enclosed spaces like closets or utility rooms.
  • Check your furnace chimney or vent at least once a year. Make sure the vent is tight, clean and in good repair to ensure proper venting of combustion gases.
  • Keep the area around your furnace and water heater clean and free from litter. Never store combustible liquids or materials near gas appliances.
  • Teach children to stay away from the gas range and all gas-burning appliances.
  • Never attach electrical grounding wires to gas piping inside or outside your house. Consult a licensed electrician.
  • Be sure gas appliances are properly installed, adjusted, vented, inspected and repaired by qualified people.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for operation and care of your gas appliances.
  • If the flame on an appliance goes out, do not re-light it unless you know the proper procedure for the appliance involved. If the flame continues to go out, call a qualified maintenance firm for service.
  • Keep the kitchen range clean. Also rinse and dry burners before reinstalling.
  • Never use a gas stove for heating. If you do, this can damage your stove and produce dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
  • A lazy yellow or orange flame may indicate the presence of carbon monoxide.

Installation and Maintenance

  • Proper installation is crucial to gas equipment safety.
  • Gas companies are responsible for ensuring that their equipment leading up to and including the gas meter is installed properly. It is the customer’s (or land-lord’s) responsibility to ensure that all piping and equipment inside the home is working properly.
  • For your safety, a qualified, licensed service professional should perform all work on gas equipment inside the home.

Gas Furnaces

Installation & Location

  • Gas furnaces should be installed in accordance with local building codes and manufacturer's instructions and specifications.
  • Gas furnaces should be installed by qualified, licensed service professionals.

Combustion Air Requirements

  • All gas appliances must be provided with a supply of fresh air. Operating a gas appliance without a sufficient supply of fresh air can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Refer to the manufacturer's installation and operating instructions for more information on how to safely operate your gas appliances.
  • To ensure that your gas appliances are installed correctly, have a qualified, licensed service professional do the installation for you.

Maintenance

  • Make sure your heating system is kept clean and properly vented, and that any  worn or defective parts are replaced.
  • Have your chimney and flue cleaned regularly to remove soot, leaves, etc.
  • If your heating system has filters, clean or replace them according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Space Heaters and Gas Logs

Installation & Location

  • Space heaters and gas logs should be installed in accordance with local building codes and manufacturer's instructions and specifications. Read all manufacturer's instructions, warnings and warranties carefully. Only qualified, licensed service personnel should install and service your space heater and gas logs.
  • If your current space heater does not have an oxygen depletion safety shut-off, you should replace it with a model that does contain this safety feature, if possible. This device will automatically shut off your space heater if oxygen levels become unsafe. Space heaters installed on carpet, linoleum or tile may require a metal plate or stoveboard to be installed underneath the unit. If required by the manufacturer, the metal plate needs to meet manufacturer's specifications for thickness, and needs to extend the full width and depth of the heater.
  • Gas fireplaces and space heaters are meant for added warmth, not a main source of heating. Remember to turn these appliances off before you go to bed or leave your home.
  • Space heaters and gas logs must not be installed in an area where flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are used or stored. Vapors from these materials may migrate and be ignited by the pilot or burner flame.
  • Don't install unvented space heaters or unvented gas logs in bathrooms or bedrooms.
  • Don't use unvented space heaters or unvented gas logs if there is no one in the room or if the only persons present are sleeping.
  • Space heaters and gas logs are HOT during operation. People, clothing, furniture and other combustible items should be kept away from space heaters and gas logs at all times. Also, any guard installed or recommended by the manufacturer should ALWAYS remain in place during operation. Only qualified, licensed service professionals should install and service your space heater.

Combustion Air Requirements

  • Operating space heaters and gas logs without sufficient fresh air can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, it is necessary to provide fresh air to these appliances anytime they are operating.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's specifications, and never cover any openings or alter the space heater's cabinet in any way. You should contact a qualified, licensed service professional for recommendations on how to provide and maintain sufficient fresh air to your space heater and gas logs.

Maintenance, Cleaning and Service

  • Each year, a licensed, qualified gas service provider should inspect your space  heater before it is used. It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer's guidelines for the proper maintenance, cleaning and service of these appliances.
  • Even in the cleanest homes, the air moving through a space heater carries lint and dust. Lint and dust may clog the air intakes for the burner, pilot light, and combustion chamber if they are allowed to build up. Lint build-up at the burner intake can cause the improper combustion of natural gas and produce carbon monoxide. If you notice lint build-up, contact a qualified, licensed heating contractor or service representative and have your equipment cleaned.
  • When properly adjusted, a space heater should burn with a blue flame. If the flame is orange or yellow, stop using the space heater and contact a qualified, licensed service professional immediately. The color of the burner flame for gas logs can vary depending on the brand, style and use of gas logs. Therefore, it is important that the operation of gas logs be checked regularly by a qualified, licensed service professional to ensure that they are functioning properly.

Water Heaters, Gas Ovens, Ranges and Other Gas Appliances

General

  • Use appliances only for what they were designed to do. For example, use a gas range only for cooking, not for heating a room.
  • Keep ranges and ovens clean to avoid grease fires.
  • Do not try to heat rooms with your range or oven. It isn't designed for space heating and using it for this purpose can cause a fire or reduced oxygen levels in rooms and a buildup of lethal carbon monoxide gas.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing when cooking. This type of clothing can accidentally be ignited by flames when you cook in them.

Installation & Location

  • Water heaters and other gas appliances installed in residential garages require all burners and ignition devices to be not less than 18 inches from the floor. Water heaters and other gas appliances are hot during operation. Be sure to keep combustible items and flammable liquids away from these appliances at all times.
  • Water heaters and other gas appliances must not be installed in an area where flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are used or stored. Vapors from these materials may migrate and be ignited by the pilot or burner flame.
  • If you wish to insulate your natural gas water heater, be sure to choose an insulation blanket manufactured specifically for natural gas water heaters.

Combustion Air Requirements

  • All gas appliances must be provided with supply of fresh air. Operating a gas appliance without a sufficient supply of fresh air can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Refer to the manufacturer's installation and operating instructions for more information on how to safely operate your gas appliances.
  • To ensure that your gas appliances are installed correctly, have a qualified, licensed service professional do the installation for you.

Water Heater Thermostat Settings

  • Setting your water heater temperature too hot can cause severe burns. Any thermostat setting on a water heater above 120° F may cause severe burns or other injuries; particularly to children, the elderly and the infirm.
  • Read the water heater instruction manual before setting the temperature.

Pilot Lights

General

  • New high-efficiency natural gas furnaces do not have pilot lights. Many older natural gas appliances, however, use pilot lights that stay on all the time. If the pilot light goes out, an automatic shutoff valve is activated and the appliance will safely shut off for your protection.
  • Gas range-top burners are not equipped with a safety shut off. If you should smell a gas odor around any appliance, or if the appliance will not light, call a licensed, service professional appliance service person.
  • You might notice a faint odor of natural gas coming from the appliance. Check if the pilot light is still on.
  • Older furnaces and appliances still might have manual pilot lights that can be lit again. However, newer models have electronic ignitions that are powered by electrical sources.
  • A pilot light that has gone out could indicate that the gas appliance needs to be serviced by a qualified technician.

Pilot Outage

  • If your pilot light is out, first, read the manufacturer's instructions so you know what type of ignition is on the furnace or appliance. Check the instructions and follow them exactly. Don't try any measures not mentioned in the owner's manual. If you aren't sure what to do, do not try any remedies on your own. Call a licensed, qualified service professional.