How Safe Is Natural Gas?
Using Natural Gas Safely at Home
- There are two main natural gas appliances in our homes, the furnace and the water heater.
- It is important to have good air circulation around both, keeping those areas clutter-free.
- Never store flammable materials near appliances whose main job is to heat!
- Good air circulation and clean filters (in furnaces and clothes dryers) also help appliances run efficiently.
- Set your water heater at 120 F (49 C), no higher, for safety and efficiency.
How to Recognize a Natural Gas Leak
To help you SMELL a leak, natural gas companies add a chemical (mercaptan) that smells like rotten eggs.
A leaking natural gas pipe might make a hissing sound you can HEAR.
Outside near a gas leak, you might SEE blowing dirt, bubbling water or a small area of dead plants.
If You Suspect a Natural Gas Leak
DO NOT use any device that might cause a spark (using the phone, turning off/on the light switch, opening/closing the garage door).
DO NOT light a match, turn on your car or any motor.
DO NOT try to repair the leak, leave that to the professionals.
Finally, DO NOT return until the professionals tell you it is safe to return.
Understanding Carbon Monoxide
Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Flu-like symptoms that go away when you leave the house.
- Sleepiness, irritability and an inability to concentrate.
- Nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, convulsions and unconsciousness.
- Make sure you and your parents have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your living and sleeping areas.
- If you have these symptoms and think you may have carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside, get safe and call 911.
- Make sure all fuel-burning appliances have good air circulation and all vents, flues and chimneys are clear and inspected regularly.
- Never run a car inside the garage or use outdoor grills or appliances inside.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home for safety (different than a smoke alarm which is also an important safety feature).
- Following these guidelines and knowing the causes and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning will help keep you and your family safe!