Natural Gas Appliance Maintenance and Safety

STAY SAFE THIS WINTER WITH NATURAL GAS HEATING, APPLIANCE MAINTENANCE AND CONSERVATION TIPS.

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

 

  • Do
    DO
     
    • Keep your range top area clean of grease. Excessive grease build-up can result in a fire.
    • Have your gas appliances inspected regularly by a qualified state-licensed 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.

 

  • Don't
    DON'T
     
    • Use 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.
    • Install aluminum foil in the oven or range top. This can restrict exhaust vents which can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Store items near a natural gas appliance that might interfere with normal appliance airflow.
    • Store ordinary combustibles such as rags, mops or paper on or near an appliance.
    • 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.

 

Furnace Safety Tips

 

  • DO
    DO
     
    • Replace your furnace filters at least three times during each 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 state-licensed 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

     

    For additional furnace safety tips, see the list below with the type of furnace you have.

Floor Furnace

  • Do
    DO
     
    • 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
    DON'T
     
    • Place rugs, furniture or combustible items over or near the grill, and do not block the airflow.

 

Wall Furnace

  • Do
    DO
     
    • Clean inside the burner compartment of built-in, vented wall furnaces once a month during the heating season to prevent lint build-up, or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

  • Don't
    DON'T
     
    • Place combustible items on or near the appliance or vent.

 

Central Gravity Furnace

  • Do
    DO
     
    • Keep furnace heat registers free of obstructions.
    • Inspect your filter monthly for lint build-up during periods of furnace use. Clean or replace the filter if necessary or as often as the manufacturer recommends.
    • When installing a new or cleaned filter, be sure to reinstall the front-door panel of the furnace properly so it fits snugly.
    • Avoid dust and lint build-up. Many natural gas furnaces use air from the room to operate. Lint and dust carried by air can block airflow. In order to operate safely and efficiently, your natural gas furnace must be free of dust and lint build-up.

 

  • Don't
    DON'T
     
    • Store items nearby that might stop or restrict airflow.
    • Use your furnace without the front-door panel in place because you may risk carbon monoxide poisoning

 

  •  
    ADDITIONAL TIPS:
     
    • Newer forced-air furnaces have a furnace safety switch that prevents furnace operation when the filter compartment door/panel is not in place.
    • 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.

 

Do not use an unvented natural gas heater in your home, it is dangerous and a violation of the California Health and Safety
Code. These heaters aren't approved for use in homes.

Water Heater Safety Tips

All natural gas appliances have a main burner flame and many also have a pilot flame. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of flammable
vapors being ignited by these flames.

 

  • Do
    DO
     
    • 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.
       
    • Secure 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. Be sure to place the lower strap at least four inches above the thermostat controls. Kits are often available at your local hardware store and we recommend having a qualified professional install it for you.
       
    • 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.

 

  • Don't
    DON'T
     
    • Store or use flammable products, such as gasoline, paint, thinner or cleaning products near or in the same room as your water heater.

 

Clothes Dryer Safety Tips

All natural gas appliances have a main burner flame and many also have a pilot flame. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of flammable
vapors being ignited by these flames.

 

  • Do
    DO
     
    • 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 otherwise restricted.
    • Periodically clear the interior of the exhaust duct. This work should be performed by a qualified professional.

 

  • Don't
    DON'T
     
    • Exhaust natural gas dryers into an attic, chimney, wall, ceiling or concealed space of a building.
    • Store or use flammable products such as gasoline, paint, thinner or cleaning products near or in the same room as your dryer.

 

Fireplace iconNatural 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:

 

  • Do
    DO
     
    • 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 approved non-combustible material around the above heat sources in compliance with local codes and ordinances.
    • 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.

 

  • Don't
    DON'T
     
    • Have insulation near bare wires or “knob and tube” wiring.
    • Leave your attic or eave vents covered.

 

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous gas that you cannot smell, taste or see. It can build up in a home or other structure when gas appliances are not working properly or when combustion gases are not being safely vented to the outside.

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

Being more energy efficient in your home is the best way to help lower your energy costs and save money. Get more information on
your energy usage and saving tools available to you.

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    Energy-Saving Tips

    Tips to get the most out of your appliances while using the least amount of energy possible.

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Assistance Programs

We offer various customer assistance programs to support eligible customers based on income, home weatherization or medical needs.