Recently, we brought you tips from the Southern California Gas company about what to do should an earthquake compromise your gas utilities. But even when an earthquake isn’t on the horizon, it’s important to understand the proper safety procedures to take in regards to the gas appliances in your home. With winter on the way, temperatures are going to start dropping, and it’s critical to take the necessary maintenance preparations so that you’re not scrambling at an inopportune moment. Without proper maintenance, you set yourself up to sustain carbon monoxide poisoning and all of its dangerous effects, which include things like drowsiness, nausea, and death. To offset the risk, SoCalGas offers a variety of tips to California consumers.
You first need to make sure that you’re utilizing a heating appliance that is legal and doesn’t pose a hazard to you and your family’s wellbeing. If you possess a gas heater that is unvented, not only could you be placing yourself in danger, but you are actually in breach of the California Health and Safety Code. You also shouldn’t try to warm yourself up by using things that were never meant for such a use. Outdoor barbecues, ranges, and ovens are meant to cook food, not to warm up a residence.
Don’t place your family in danger; get a furnace that you know conforms to the necessary safety requirements. Every year, you can further ensure safety by having someone from SoCalGas or a licensed heating contractor come by to make sure things are in working order and that the item can do its job without endangering anyone.
Once you know things are operational, there is plenty that you yourself can do throughout the winter to keep your family safe. Don’t use the area around the furnace as a storage area; doing so prevents proper airflow and could lead to a hazardous situation down the road. Also make sure to clean and vacuum near the item often. Lint and dust can accumulate near the burner, so cut this threat off at the pass.
If you have a forced air unit that requires a filter, make sure that you’re checking this component once a month. When it becomes dirty, either clean it or have a replacement ready to go. Once installation is completed, though, make sure the front-panel door goes back into its necessary spot, otherwise carbon monoxide poisoning once again becomes a threat.
And finally, know how to monitor the flame. There are a few things to look out for that could signify something is wrong: yellow color, unsteadiness, or a flame that seems unnaturally large. If these things occur in conjunction with one another, have a licensed professional come take a look at once.