Weekly Feature

2017-12-27 / Business

National Fuel urges residential safety for winter months

According to National Fuel officials, it is important for natural gas customers to pay attention to outdoor gas meters, furnaces and vents throughout the winter season.

Snow, ice and extremely cold temperatures can pose a variety of safety and performance issues for heating systems.

According to the company’s representatives, natural gas furnaces and fireplaces have a vent pipe or flue that sends exhaust and gaseous byproducts outdoors through a chimney or pipe. Furnace exhaust vents can become easily clogged by debris, ice, or snow, causing the furnace to shut off or operate inefficiently. Blocked vents also can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide gas inside a residence.

The company said residents can ensure outdoor gas meter safety and proper service by:

Keeping the gas meter, and area around the meter, free of snow

Clearing paths to the meter

Informing those working, shoveling, plowing, or snow blowing around a meter of its location

• Calling National Fuel, 1-800-365-3234, if a meter becomes encased in ice; do not attempt to break or melt the ice

Exercising caution when removing icicles from a meter or any area of the roof above the meter

Not letting children play or climb on the meter

Additionally, National Fuel is warning of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a colorless, odorless and potentially dangerous gas produced when fuel — such as heating oil, propane, kerosene, charcoal, gasoline, wood, or natural gas — is burned without enough air for complete combustion.

If inhaled in large quantities for a prolonged period of time, carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: fatigue, coughing, headache, irregular breathing, dizziness, overall paleness, nausea and cherry red lips and/or ears. Those experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately open windows and doors, move outside and call 911.

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