As we enter the coldest months of the year, many of us depend on our natural gas furnaces to keep our homes warm and cozy. Although natural gas heating is the best method available for this purpose, we must be careful when using it; there are several hazards associated with it that may endanger our lives if we are not that careful.
Ignoring gas safety tips can be harmful to our health and, in worst-case scenarios, may cause explosions and fires that take lives and destroy entire properties. So, to help you understand these tips, please read this article till the end and follow the tips mentioned to keep you and your family safe this winter season and enjoy your holidays.
How to Detect a Gas Leak
Before moving to the safety tips, let’s understand some signs of gas leaks. Gas leaks are the primary cause of accidents, and you must know how to detect them. Inspect your gas appliances, such as stoves, water heaters, and furnaces, for these leaks. Here are a few signs to know.
- Rotten egg smell
- The hissing sound of a gas leak
- Forming of bubbles in water
- Houseplants dying without any reason
- Your pet might be feeling sick or not active enough
- You might have headaches, dizziness, nausea or difficulty in breathing
Call 911 immediately if you notice these signs, or call your gas company’s emergency number and immediately vacate your residence.
Gas Safety Tips Every Homeowner Should Know
Keeping an eye out for gas leaks can prevent dangerous situations from occurring. Here are some gas safety tips to keep you safe.
- Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Your House
You must install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your house, especially in those rooms where you have gas appliances. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas produced by these appliances when they don’t function properly, and as humans, we can’t detect it.
If we breathe in carbon monoxide, it might cause us to lose consciousness or, worst case, we might die. A carbon monoxide detector allows us to detect the leak of carbon monoxide before it causes any danger. Also, regularly check on the detectors to ensure they are working properly.
- Always Practice Safe Use of Stoves, Burners, and Grills
If you have a gas stove, you must turn the knobs completely off to stop any gas leaks from happening. The burners should be cleaned thoroughly each time they are used in order to prevent grease, oil, and food debris from igniting fires when they are lit.
Ensure that your stove area is free of combustible materials prior to using it, and make sure that you do not leave your stove unattended at any time while using it. Gas grills should never be used indoors. Rather, it should be positioned outdoors, in open air.
- Use Combustibles Safely
Combustible materials such as paint, solvents, gasoline, and other substances should not be kept close to gas appliances. Ensure that they are stored in appropriate containers that are not near sources of heat. Shut off gas appliances before using flammable products, such as varnishes and strippers, since pilot lights may cause vapors to ignite. While using the products, ensure that the area is properly ventilated.
- Check For Gas Leaks on Your Own
You can also check your gas connections and appliances for leaks regularly on your own. This inspection should be done daily as it hardly takes any time. In winter, this inspection should be done around your furnace and water heater connections since they are the most used appliances.
If you do smell gas, then check for any loose pipe fittings and connections; also, turn off the main gas supply valve to stop the spread of gas leaks. Open your windows to allow fresh air to come in, and call your gas supplier and follow their instructions.
- Check or Replace Your Air Filter
You should change your furnace air filter on a regular basis, especially during winter when its usage is at its peak. Maintaining a clean furnace air filter will increase the efficiency of airflow in your home and prevent dust from being circulated throughout it.
A dirty furnace filter causes all kinds of problems that can be prevented, including inefficiency, safety, and performance deficiencies that can eventually lead to a breakdown of the furnace. During the winter months, when your furnace is most frequently used, you should change your filter every 1-3 months.
- Follow the Guidelines for Space Heaters
Space heaters are useful appliances for keeping you warm during cold winter nights, but alas, they still pose a danger since they operate on gas. Like every other appliance, gas leaks might happen in them if the pipe connections become loose, so keep a check on them if you smell gas.
Also, avoid placing these heaters near gasoline or any combustible material. Some space heaters use electricity instead of gas, but they still can cause fire and sparks in the presence of these materials.
- Keep Your Fireplace Free of Any Debris and Obstructions
The fireplace is the most common way to warm your house. Thus, as we have explained already, you must ensure that there are no obstructions around it, especially any combustible material. Also, clean your chimney regularly so the smoke and any harmful gases pass out of the house and don’t remain inside, which may be dangerous for you.
- Have an Annual Inspection of Your Gas Appliances
This is an important tip and one you should always adhere to. Have your gas appliances checked annually before the start of winter by a certified gas engineer. The engineer thoroughly checks your appliances for any faults and leaks and lets you know so you can replace them before anything disastrous happens.
Gas engineers are trained professionals who use the latest equipment to test your appliances for faults. You can easily schedule a gas safety check by calling your gas company; they will send an engineer to your residence. Further, after the inspection, you will also get a gas certificate, which is called gas safety certificate cp12 , which ensures that all your appliances are working properly and there are no faults.
To get these certificates, you need to pay a small amount, but it’s worth your safety and that of your family.
- Educate Your Family Regarding the Importance of Gas Safety
Teach your children and parents about the importance of gas safety and what one should do in case of a gas leak. Explain all the signs we have explained in the first heading about detecting gas leaks to them. Ask them to turn off the appliances after using them to avoid any leaks.
Teach them the safety guidelines to follow in case of your absence if they do detect a gas leak, such as leaving the house, calling the gas company, etc.
Winters are the most beautiful time of the year, and to spend time safely and tension-free with your family in a warm and cozy home, you should always follow gas safety procedures. The tips outlined above ensure your family’s and your property’s safety so no fire-related incidents happen.
Do an annual maintenance check of your appliances from a certified gas engineer, and if you detect any gas leaks, call your gas supply company, and they will fix the issue.