Chris Mabee: Heating Your Home Safely With Natural Gas

Thursday, December 1, 2016 - by Chris Mabee, President of Home Builders Association Of Greater Chattanooga

Many homes in the Chattanooga area use natural gas as a main energy source. And like any energy source, it must be used correctly to be efficient and safe.

Natural gas is a versatile fuel used to heat some homes, cook food, heat water, dry clothes, and even start the fire in the fireplace. The "smell" you recognize as natural gas odor is added so you will know if there is a gas leak in your home.

Responding to Gas Leaks

Gas may escape from faulty appliances, loose connections, service lines inside or outside your home, or from the gas main. If you ever smell gas, take these precautions immediately:

·      Do not light any matches or turn any electrical switches on or off in your home.

·      Ventilate the room or home by opening doors and windows.

·      If the odor is very strong or you hear a hissing noise, leave your home immediately. Go to a neighbor's home and call the fire department.

Maintaining Your Furnace or Boiler

A properly maintained furnace or boiler runs more efficiently and saves you money, so you should regularly inspect them. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions or use this checklist:

·      Make sure the unit is free of dust, rust or any other signs of corrosion and the space around it is clear of paint, solvents, rags, paper or any other combustible products.

·      Check the air filter every one to two months. Clean or replace it if necessary to save 5% or more on your energy bills.

·      Check the blower by thoroughly examining it and the belt (if your furnace has one) for cracks or excessive wear. Replace it if necessary.

·      Inspect space heaters annually. As with any gas appliance, trouble signs to look for are: a yellow flame; soot; a lingering pungent smell; or overheating.

Caring for Gas Appliances

Many homes have gas appliances in the kitchen and laundry rooms. A few simple precautions will help to keep gas appliances running safely and efficiently, too.

·      Never use the top burners or the oven of a gas range for home-heating purposes. Used improperly, they present a fire and burn hazard, and a malfunctioning gas range can produce toxic carbon monoxide.

·      Make sure your gas clothes dryer vent hose is free of lint, which can cause a fire. Check the manufacturer's instructions for information on how to remove lint from the hose, or call a qualified appliance repair contractor.

It’s a wise safety precaution to have all your gas appliances and your furnace checked on an annual basis. For a list of qualified heating contractors, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 

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