As residents begin to hold gatherings and decorate their homes and businesses for the holiday season, UGI encourages all members of the community to remember the following energy-related safety tips:
- Protect your family and co-workers from carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a colorless and odorless gas that can build up inside a home due to malfunctioning heating units or other fuel-burning appliances, as well as by blocked chimneys and exhaust vents. While CO is odorless, a smoky or sooty smell is often generated by the malfunctioning appliance or blocked chimney. Signs that an appliance may be producing CO include condensation on walls and windows, house pets becoming sluggish and residents in the home suffering flu-like symptoms or feeling unusually tired. Individuals who believe they may be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention. UGI recommends that all homes have working CO detectors on every floor, especially near heating equipment and bedrooms.
- Call UGI if you detect the odor of gas. An odorant that smells like rotten eggs is added to natural gas to assist in detecting a gas leak. If you smell the odor of natural gas, leave the building immediately, taking everyone with you and leaving the door open. Do not use the phone, light a match or switch anything on or off. Once in a location where the odor of gas is no longer present, call 911 or UGI from your cell phone or neighbor’s home. UGI’s emergency response number is 1-800-276-2722. UGI will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately. Emergency response is available 24-hours a day, every day. There is no cost to investigate a report of a gas leak.
- Properly use electric extension cords. If using outdoor lights around your home, make sure you use outdoor-rated extension cords and timers. Follow the directions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings and extension cords to avoid overloading electrical circuits. If a cord feels hot to the touch, it is overloaded and may cause an electrical fire. To help avoid overheating indoor extension cords, do not run them under furniture or carpeting, behind baseboards or over walkways. Do not string a series of extension cords together.
- Remove flammable items from ignition sources. Make sure Christmas trees, gifts, decorations and discarded bags, boxes and wrapping paper are kept away from fireplaces, radiators and other heating sources. Turn off tree lights and lit decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.
- Practice good safety habits when using a natural gas oven and stove. If you use natural gas for cooking, be sure to keep loose clothing, dish towels and other flammable items away from the burners and hot stove surfaces. In addition, to allow for proper air flow and avoid accidental fires, keep your stove and the area around it clean and free from bags, wrappers, product caps, lids and boxes, etc. Finally, always keep a fire extinguisher on hand in or near your kitchen.
- Use extra caution when using space heaters. Always place a space heater on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable (such as paper, clothing, bedding curtains, or upholstered furniture) at least three feet away from the unit. Turn off space heaters before leaving the room.
Additional safety tips are available on UGI’s Web site at www.ugi.com/safety. UGI Utilities is a natural gas and electric utility with headquarters in Reading, Pa.
UGI serves more than 700,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland.
Customers and community members are invited to visit the UGI Web site at www.ugi.com; its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ugiutilities; or follow UGI on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ugi_utilities.