Gas Co. urges residents to check their furnaces

As temperatures cool down, Southern California Gas Co. 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 right time to perform any maintenance on your home-heating appliances to ensure safe and efficient operation," said Richard Morrow, vice president of customer service for the Gas Company. "Customers are beginning to turn on their furnaces for the first time in months. If they think their heating appliances are not functioning properly, they should call a licensed heating contractor, plumber of the Gas Company." 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 - and ensure appliances are operating safely - is to get gas appliances serviced, Morrow said. The Gas Company offered the following tips to ensure the safe and efficient operation of their natural gas furnace: Have gas furnaces checked at least once a year by the Gas Company, a licensed heating contractor or plumber. Vacuum and clean regularly 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. The filter should be checked monthly for lint build-up during periods of furnace use and cleaned or replaced, if necessary. When installing a new or cleaned filter, be sure to reinstall 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 and the condition corrected to ensure safety. For more information on furnace safety or to schedule a service appointment, visit www.socalgas.com.

********** Published: October 23, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 27