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National Fuel reminds residents to stay safe this winter


Wed, Dec 7th 2016 03:25 pm

As Western New York residents prepare for colder weather, National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. advises homeowners to be vigilant and pay attention to outdoor gas meters, furnaces and vents throughout the winter season. Snow, ice and extreme cold temperatures can pose a variety of safety and performance issues for heating systems.

Ensure outdoor gas meter safety and proper service by:

  • Keeping the gas meter and area around the meter free of snow
  • Clearing paths to the meter
  • Informing those working, shoveling, plowing or snow blowing around a meter of its location
  • Calling National Fuel (1-800-365-3234) if a meter becomes encased in ice, as homeowners should not attempt to break or melt the ice
  • Exercising caution when removing icicles from a meter or any area of the roof above the meter
  • Not letting children play or climb on the meter

Natural gas furnaces and fireplaces have a vent pipe or flue that sends exhaust and gaseous byproducts outdoors through a chimney or pipe. Furnace exhaust vents can become easily clogged by debris, ice or snow, causing the furnace to shut off or operate inefficiently. Blocked vents also can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide gas inside a residence.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and dangerous gas produced when fuel (heating oil, propane, kerosene, charcoal, gasoline, wood or natural gas) is burned without enough air for complete combustion. When inhaled, carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and death. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include fatigue, coughing, headache, irregular breathing, dizziness, overall paleness, nausea and cherry red lips and/or ears. Those experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately open windows and doors, move outside and call 911.

Avoid a carbon monoxide emergency by:

  • Having a qualified professional inspect and test chimney, appliances and heating equipment annually
  • Installing at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home
  • Never using a gas oven or stovetop for heating your home
  • Never running a gasoline engine (such as a gasoline generator) or an automobile in an enclosed space
  • Never using a portable charcoal or propane grill indoors

As always, if you smell gas, leave fast! If a rotten-egg natural gas odor is present, leave the premises immediately without turning on or off any electrical appliances, and call National Fuel's emergency line (1-800-444-3130) from a different location. If you smell an odor of gas outdoors, call National Fuel's emergency number and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor.

National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. is the utility segment of National Fuel Gas Co., a diversified energy company that is engaged in a number of natural gas-related activities. The utility provides natural gas service to more than 740,000 customers in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. To learn more about the company, visit www.NationalFuelGas.com.

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