The arrival of cool fall weather means winter is just around the corner. In preparation for home heating season, here are some seasonal reminders to help keep your family safe in and around your home.

Your home may have a variety of appliances that use natural gas, including furnaces, stoves, water heaters, fireplaces and clothes dryers. Autumn is a good time to go through this safety checklist to ensure your appliances are working properly and you’re well prepared to keep your family safe and comfortable this winter.

  • Check pilot lights. Flickering or yellow gas flames on gas appliances can indicate your gas appliance isn’t working correctly. Have a professional check it. Stove top flames and pilot lights on water heaters and furnaces should burn blue. If the pilot light is out, wait for any gas that escaped to dissipate before relighting the light.
  • Safeguard against carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is sneaky. It’s a toxic, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is produced by incomplete burning of natural gas or any other fossil fuel. Make sure gas appliances are properly vented and not blocked to prevent gas from backing up into your home. Install a carbon monoxide detector, test it and replace the batteries annually.
  • Protect your gas meter. Keep the meter and the area around it free of snow and ice. Heavy snow or ice buildup pressing on the meter can damage it. Also, if your meter is hidden by snow, it could be accidentally struck by a plow or shovel.
  • Annual inspections. Have your gas appliances, including gas fireplaces, inspected annually for leaks and proper operation by qualified contractor.
  • Keep flammables away. Always keep flammable liquids (and their vapors) and combustible materials – such as fuels and oils, cleaning products, rags and newspapers – away from gas appliances and ignition sources. Store these items in well-ventilated areas.
  • Recognize gas leaks. Because natural gas has no natural odor, color or taste, UniSource and all natural gas utilities add a distinctive odorant similar to rotten eggs so you can smell gas if a leak occurs. You also may hear a hissing sound or see blowing dirt on the ground. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, don’t use the phone, smoke or flip an electrical switch. Leave the home immediately and then call 911 and UniSource at 1-877-837-4968 to report the leak.

“Natural gas is a clean and safe source of energy that improves the lives of those who use it,” said Curtis Asselstine, UniSource Manager of Gas Engineering and Technical Services. “By following a few safety tips and respecting this resource, we can protect ourselves and our communities.”

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