In order to keep your natural gas appliances operating safely and efficiently, it's important to perform regular maintenance and repairs.
Below are appliance safety and maintenance tips to help keep you safe and your appliances working properly.
Range and Oven Safety Tips
- Keep the range top, oven and broiler top areas clean of grease. Grease is flammable and excessive build-up may result in a fire.
- Have your gas appliances inspected regularly by a qualified professional at least every year, or as often as the manufacturer recommends. Not performing regular maintenance may result in inefficient appliance operation, and in some cases, dangerous exposure to carbon monoxide.
- Elevate gas appliances installed in garages so that burners and burner-ignition devices are a minimum of 18 inches (450 mm) above the floor, unless exempted as “flammable vapor ignition resistant” by local building codes.
Instead of this:
- Using your oven, range top or outdoor barbecue to heat your home because these appliances are not designed for this purpose and can pose a safety hazard.
- Installing aluminum foil in the oven or range top. This can restrict circulation openings which can result in producing carbon monoxide.
- Storing items near a natural gas appliance that could interfere with manufacturer recommended airflow.
- Storing ordinary combustibles such as rags, mops or paper on or near an appliance.
- Storing or using highly flammable products in the same room as any natural gas or heat-producing appliances. These products include gasoline, spray paints, solvents, insecticide, adhesives, foggers, varnish, cleaning products and other pressurized containers.
Forced Air Furnace Safety Tips
Some older forced-air furnaces do not have a safety switch and can be operated with the filter compartment door/panel off or not properly in place. These older furnaces, when installed in a closet and operated with the door/panel not in place, may circulate carbon monoxide throughout the house.
- Replace your furnace filter(s) monthly during heating season or as often as the manufacturer recommends.
- Keep heat registers and cold air returns clean and clear of furniture and other obstructions.
- Have your furnace inspected by a qualified professional. Inspections can help you make sure your home is properly heated for the colder months, and help you avoid any other potential problems.
Your qualified professional should:
- Test the thermostat
- Visually inspect the heat exchanger, motor, and vents
- Lubricate the blower motor
- Check the flue
- Check the pilot light, unless your furnace features pilotless ignition
Newer forced-air furnaces have a furnace safety switch that prevents furnace operation when the filter compartment door/panel is not in place.
Floor Furnace Tips
- Avoid lint build-up by vacuuming the floor furnace and the area around it regularly.
- Keep children away from the grill, as it gets very hot.
- Don’t place rugs, furniture or combustible items over or near the grill and do not block airflow.
Wall Furnace Tips
• Clean inside the burner compartment of built-in, vented wall furnaces once a month during the heating season to prevent lint build-up.
Central Gravity Furnace Tips
- Don't store items nearby that might stop or restrict airflow.
- Avoid storing ordinary combustibles such as rags, mops or paper on or near an appliance.
- Keep furnace heat registers free of obstructions.
- Don't store or use highly flammable products in the same room as any natural gas or heat-producing appliances. These products include gasoline, spray paints, solvents, insecticide, adhesives, foggers, varnish, cleaning products and other pressurized containers.
Water Heater Safety Tips
- Elevate Garage Water Heaters
Water heaters installed in garages must be elevated so the pilot or other source of ignition is a minimum of 18 inches above the floor or installed per local building codes and the manufacturers' installation instructions.
Note Manufacturers' labels and/or instruction manuals for new Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) tank water heaters may not indicate the 18-inch elevation requirement for garage installations. This is because applicable codes have been updated to exempt FVIR water heaters in garages from the elevation requirement. For tankless water heaters please follow the manufacture's installation recommendations.
- Secure Storage-Tank Heaters for Earthquakes
Earthquakes can cause improperly secured water heaters to move or topple. To help prevent this, strap it firmly to the wall studs in two places - the upper and lower one-third of the tank - with heavy bolts and metal strapping. Place the lower strap at least four inches above the thermostat. Kits are often available at your local hardware store and we recommend having a qualified professional install it.
- Lower Your Temperature Setting
Lowering your temperature setting can prevent scalding accidents and lower your energy costs. Water temperatures above 125° F can cause severe burns or even death. If you live with small children, or disabled or elderly persons, you may require a 120° F or lower thermostat setting to prevent contact with hot water. Please refer to your water heater manufacturer's recommendation for safe temperature settings.
Our technicians set the thermostat at approximately 120 degrees, as recommended by manufacturer, every time the appliance is serviced.
Instead of this:
- Storing or using flammable products, such as gasoline, paint, thinner or cleaning products near or in the same room as your water heater.
- Elevate Garage Water Heaters
Clothes Dryer Safety Tips
- Always vent your natural gas dryer outdoors.
- Use only approved metal vent ducting material. Plastic and vinyl materials are not approved for natural gas dryers.
- Inspect the exhaust duct regularly to ensure that it hasn't become crushed, kinked or restricted.
- Keep area around the exhaust opening, exterior area, and adjacent surrounding areas free from the accumulation of lint.
Instead of this:
- Exhausting natural gas dryers into an attic, chimney, wall, ceiling or concealed space of a building.
- Storing or using flammable products such as gasoline, paint, thinner or cleaning products near or in the same room as your dryer.
Natural Gas Fireplace Safety
To help avoid serious accidents, the fireplace damper must be kept open on a permanent basis. Use the damper lock included with the natural gas log assembly kit.
Attic Insulation Safety and Maintenance
Although attic insulation can help lower your energy bills, improperly installed insulation can create a fire hazard. Be sure to use the following tips for new and existing attic insulation.
- Keep insulation away from all heat sources, furnaces, water heaters, recessed light fixtures, fan motors, doorbell transformers, chimneys, flues, and vents.
- Install a barrier made of non-combustible material around the above-mentioned heat sources.
- Keep the air supply openings to the forced-air furnace free of any insulation.
- Periodically check your attic for insulation movement.
- Contact a state-licensed insulation contractor if you have any questions about proper installation.
Instead of this:
- Having insulation near bare wires or "knob and tube" wiring.
- Leaving your attic or using vents covered.
Saving Tips That Can Help You Save Money
- Have your air ducts tested for leaks and repair to save up to 30% on heating and cooling costs.
- Save on water heating costs by washing and rinsing your clothes in cold water.
- Save up to 10% on heating costs by lowering your furnace thermostat by five to eight degrees, if health permits.
- Reduce the temperature on your water heater.
- Take shorter hot showers.
- Clean or replace your furnace filters according to manufacturer recommendations.
- Install proper caulking and weather-stripping to save roughly 10 to 15 percent on heating bills.
- Fix leaky faucets and pipes. Hot water leaks cause increased demand on the water heater which increases natural gas use.
Savings potential is dependent on the individual customer’s circumstances. SoCalGas cannot guarantee customers’ savings level.
Appliance Safety Recalls
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) periodically announces safety recall programs for certain natural gas appliances and equipment. Information about product recalls that may affect your appliances is available at the CPSC website or by calling the CPSC at 1-800-638-2772. TDD/TTY 1-800-638-8270.
For Your Home
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