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Home heating safety tips

As temperatures cool down, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is advising customers to inspect their home-heating appliances and perform any needed maintenance necessary to avoid any health or safety hazards.

“Now is the time to perform maintenance on your home-heating appliances to check that they can be operated safely and efficiently, “said Jimmie Cho, vice president of field services for SoCalGas. “Customers are beginning to turn on their furnaces for the first time in months. Heating appliances should be serviced annually to keep them operating safely and efficiently. A licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas can provide this service for you.”

Failure to perform annual maintenance on gas appliances may result in exposure to carbon monoxide, which can cause nausea, drowsiness, flu-like symptoms, and even death. Since home heating typically accounts for more than half of the monthly winter gas bill, the best way to keep bills lower is to get gas appliances serviced, Cho said. SoCalGas offers these tips for a safe, warm, and energy-efficient winter: • Have natural gas furnaces checked at least once a year by a licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas. • Vacuum and clean regularly in and around the furnace, particularly around the burner compartment to prevent a build-up of dust and lint. Never store items in, on or around the appliance that can obstruct airflow. • Most forced-air units have a filter that cleans the air before heating and circulating it throughout the home. Check furnace filters every month during the heating season and clean or replace the filter when necessary. • When installing a new or cleaned furnace filter, be sure to re-install the front panel door of the furnace properly so it fits snugly; never operate the furnace without the front-panel door properly in place because doing so may create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. • Check the appearance of the flame. If the flame is yellow, large and unsteady, the furnace needs to be inspected immediately by a licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas to have the condition corrected. • Using an unvented gas heater in your home is dangerous and a violation of the California Health and Safety Code. • Never use your oven, range or outdoor barbecue to heat your home because these appliances are not designed for this purpose.

While maintaining natural gas appliances is always the homeowner’s responsibility, at a customer’s request, SoCalGas can perform free appliance safety checks. To schedule an appointment, go to (search “SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT”) or call SoCalGas at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish. For more information on furnace safety, visit SoCalGas’ website at (search “FURNACE SAFETY”).


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