The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says to leave natural gas appliance work to professionals. The warning comes after four people have been killed in the recent weeks after trying to fix furnaces, heaters, or gas lines.
Homeland Security officials say all furnaces need a yearly inspection to make sure they’re no problems that can cause gas or carbon monoxide leaks, fires, or explosions. Inspections are even more important for older heating systems, which often have flexible gas connectors that are more likely to break. Older appliances may also lack the shut-off systems that newer ones have.
State Fire Marshal James Greeson has a few additional natural gas safety tips for the start of the winter heating season. He says to check the color of appliances’ pilot lights. Except for natural gas fireplace logs, the flames should be blue, rather than orange or yellow. Greeson also says to never use gas ranges or stoves for heating, since that can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide levels. He says if all members of the family develop flu-like symptoms at the same time, it may actually be carbon monoxide poisoning. And if you smell natural gas, leave your home immediately, then call the utility company and 9-1-1.
For more information, visit GetPrepared.in.gov or the website of your gas provider.