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Natural Gas Safety Tips
• Set the temperature on water heaters to 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the possibility of scalding water.
• Look for the blue flame. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception. Their flame is usually yellow.)
• Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business inspected every year by qualified industry professionals.
• Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.
• Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.
• Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.
• DO NOT use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking.
• DO NOT move or install a gas appliance or change the connector in any way without professional assistance, from an HVAC contractor or licensed plumber.
• DO NOT install a gas appliance yourself. Always seek professional assistance, from an HVAC contractor or licensed plumber.
• DO NOT store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.
Carbon Monoxide Hazards
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas lighter than air. High levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas produced when fuels such as gasoline, oil, propane, kerosene, coal, wood, and natural gas do not have an adequate supply of oxygen to burn completely. When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it combines with the body’s blood and prevents it from absorbing oxygen. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sleepiness. There is usually no fever associated with carbon monoxide poisoning.
Common Sources of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
• Malfunctioning heating equipment
• Blocked chimney
• Indoor use of barbecue grills
• Using cooking appliances for heating purposes
• Sitting inside an idling vehicle for a prolonged period of time
• Repairing or running engines, such as vehicles, lawnmowers and snow blowers, in an attached garage
To prevent potential carbon monoxide poisoning, customers should have their heating and hot water equipment and venting systems inspected annually by a qualified technician. Safe natural gas equipment should show a clear blue flame. A yellow or orange flame may indicate a problem. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed throughout the home to monitor the presence of carbon monoxide before it reaches dangerous levels.
How to Detect a Gas Leak
If you detect a gas leak, don’t try to locate the problem. Leave your home immediately and call 911 day or night. Dispatchers are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. If the odor is inside your home or business, an emergency situation could exist and you should evacuate as a safety measure.
Signs You May Have a Gas Leak
• Vegetation over or near a pipeline appears dead or discolored
• Persistent bubbles in streams, ponds, or wet areas
• Strong “rotten egg” smell
• Shrill blowing or hissing sound
• Dirt blowing up from a hole
If You Smell Natural Gas, Do Not:
• Operate any electrical switches or appliance controls
• Use a telephone or cell phone from the building
• Smoke or strike a match
• Pull any plugs from outlets
• Use a flashlight or lighter
What You Should Do If There Is an Odor of Gas
1. If the pilot light is out, turn the appliance off and open a window to let gas escape.
2. Do not smoke, light a match or use anything electrical that may create a spark, including electrical switches, appliances, telephones and flashlights.
3. Wait five minutes and if the smell of gas persists even after turning off the appliance and ventilating the room, do not relight the pilot light.
4. Leave the home and call 911 from a safe location far from the smell of gas.
5. The City of Kings Mountain maintains ownership and is responsible for all gas mains and services leading up to the meter. After calling the city, a gas technician will be dispatched to check the meter and service lines. If the customer reports an odor of gas inside the residence, the gas technician will also test the inside atmosphere for a gas leak.
6. If the location of the leak is found and the leak can be isolated, the gas service may be left on. However, if the location of the leak is not found or the leak cannot be isolated, the service will be turned off at the meter to make it safe until the customer can make arrangements with a contractor to have the appliances repaired and/or a pressure test has been performed and a “Passed” Codes Inspection has been conducted.
7. All gas lines and appliances from the meter to the interior of the home are the responsibility of the customer and will need to be inspected by a contractor.
8. If the gas service is turned off, call the City Gas Department at 704-734-4516 to have the gas turned back on once a contractor has determined the home is safe and a “passed” codes inspection has been achieved.