Recent weather patterns have seen significant fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, and high wind events. UGI Utilities, Inc. encourages residents to remain aware of important energy-related safety tips.
Protect your family and co-workers from carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a colorless and odorless gas that can build up inside a home due to malfunctioning heating units or other fuel-burning appliances, as well as by blocked chimneys and exhaust vents. While CO is odorless, a smoky or sooty smell is often generated by the malfunctioning appliance.
Signs that an appliance may be producing CO include condensation on walls and windows, house pets becoming sluggish, or residents in the home suffering flu-like symptoms or feeling unusually tired. Individuals who believe they may be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention.
UGI recommends that all homes have working CO detectors on every floor, especially near heating equipment and bedrooms. In addition, keep outdoor exhaust vents clear of ice and snow.
Call UGI or 911 if you detect the odor of gas. An odorant that smells like rotten eggs is added to natural gas to assist in detecting a gas leak. If you smell the odor of natural gas, leave the building immediately, taking everyone with you and leaving the door open. Do not use the phone, light a match, or switch anything on or off.
Once in a location where the odor of gas is no longer present, call 911 or UGI from your cell phone or neighbor’s home. UGI’s emergency response number is 1-800-276-2722. UGI will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately. Emergency response is available 24-hours a day, every day. There is no cost to investigate a report of a gas leak.
Take care when electric outages occur. Gusty winds, heavy snow, and ice can cause electric power outages which can also affect natural gas equipment. Blowers and electronic ignitions on newer appliances need electric service to operate. If your gas heater does not relight when electric service is restored, turn the unit off for a moment, then back on. If it still does not light, call a qualified heating professional for service.
UGI urges customers to be prepared for unexpected power outages by taking the following steps:
- If you depend on medical equipment for life-support, we recommend that you purchase a back-up power supply or make arrangements to stay with family or friends in the case of an outage.
- Do not use a grill or oven for heat during an electric outage.
- If you use a generator during an outage, please make sure it is used safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions on proper venting and operation.
Call 811 Before You Dig. Some residents have gotten an early start on outdoor construction projects. Pennsylvania law requires excavators to call 811 prior to using powered equipment for digging projects, including projects such as landscaping. UGI reminds all individuals doing excavation work to call to 811 at least three business days before starting a digging project to have underground utilities marked.
Examples of projects that require an 811 call include installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck, and planting trees or shrubs. After callers contact 811, the 811 center notifies the appropriate utility companies of the location of the planned excavation. Utility companies then send out professional locators to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or paint.
Use extra caution when using space heaters. Always place a space heater on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable (such as paper, clothing, bedding curtains, or upholstered furniture) at least three feet away from the unit. Turn off space heaters before leaving the room.
Additional safety tips are available on UGI’s website at www.ugi.com/safety.