As winter rages into February and in some areas, the snow continues to pile up, more than 2.2 million miles of pipeline in the United States is delivering natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. For the 57% of homeowners using natural gas furnaces to heat their home this winter, it’s important to take the right precautions to keep your natural gas system and family safe. Below we take a look at how cold temperatures are causing stress to your heating systems and what you can do to prevent natural gas hazards this winter.
Natural Gas Furnace Hazards
Any type of fuel-burning appliance emits dangerous by-products like carbon monoxide (CO). A furnace with a faulty or leaking ventilation system can be dangerous to those living in the building. During the winter months, it is possible for your intake and exhaust pipes to be covered with snow or ice. In the case of a covered intake or exhaust pipe, the appliance may malfunction causing a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide.
What you can do to prevent this:
- Ensure exterior intake and exhaust pipes are clear of snow and ice during and after a snowstorm
- Check batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector. If you hear it sound or experience CO symptoms, open your windows and doors, exit your home, and call 911
Keeping Natural Gas Meters Clear of Snow and Ice:
Ice and snow may interfere with the operation of your natural gas meter and regulator. Snow and ice may also slow access to these meters. It is important to be careful when removing snow due to the possibility of damaging meter assemblies or piping, which could result in a leak. Remove snow from meters and regulators using your hand or a broom, not a shovel.
Falling snow and ice could also damage the meters. Homeowners can contact roofing contractors to safely remove the snow and ice that has accumulated above the meters.
Like most mechanical devices, natural gas systems require regular maintenance and inspections to keep them running safely. Safety precautions need to be followed in order to maintain a safe system since it is a combustion device that burns a highly flammable gas.
- Regularly vacuum and sweep around your furnace to keep flammable dust and lint away.
- Keep children’s toys and play area away from the furnace. Toys, pillows, and blankets can fall on a hot surface and easily catch fire.
- Keep wet clothes at least 3 feet from the furnace.
- Keep combustible fluids away from all heat sources.
- Ensure the burner flame is blue.
In the winter months, when natural gas is being burned by furnaces around the country, it is important to follow the right precautions to keep your family and friends warm and safe. It is important to be familiar with the characteristics of natural gas in order to react safely in the event of a leak.
In its natural state, natural gas is an odorless, colorless gas, which makes it dangerous because it is difficult to recognize. YZ Systems provides pipeline and refinery operators with a total system approach to ensure the safety of people and the environment through reliable odorant and injection systems.
To learn more about how YZ’s odorant and injection systems are keeping communities safe, contact a representative to learn more.