The Gas Company Offers Tips for a Safe Winter Heating Season

Homeowners Reminded of Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Feb 04, 2002, 00:00 ET from Southern California Gas Company

    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Amidst the colder temperatures
 blanketing the Southland region, Southern California Gas Company
 (The Gas Company) is reminding residents that safety should be a top priority
 in winter heating.
     The Gas Company recommends that its residential customers take a number of
 steps, including having their natural gas furnaces inspected annually to
 ensure safe operation.
     Improperly maintained or adjusted appliances and vent systems may generate
 carbon monoxide (CO).  CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and
 non-irritating poisonous gas.  Symptoms of CO poisoning can resemble the
 common flu -- headaches, nausea, fatigue, confusion, and dizziness.  These
 symptoms will vary depending on the person's age and general health, level of
 physical activity, and the duration and concentration of the exposure.
     "Our customers should have their gas appliances -- such as furnaces,
 fireplaces and water heaters -- inspected regularly by a qualified
 professional to ensure that they are working properly," said Ann Smith, vice
 president of customer service, mass markets for The Gas Company.
     Following are steps homeowners can take to prevent CO dangers:
     -- Make sure all fuel-burning appliances show a clear blue flame; a
        yellow flame may indicate a problem and should be checked by a
        qualified technician.
     -- Make sure fresh air intakes are not blocked or restricted.  These
        are the source of air to natural gas furnaces and water heaters for
        their combustion.
     -- Be sure all fuel-burning appliances are properly vented and the
        vents are in good condition.  Appliances need proper ventilation to
        ensure combustion gasses are removed to outside the home.  Visually
        inspect the vents for rust, holes or gaps, and feel the vent pipes for
        spots that may seem weak, thin or loose (don't touch the vents when the
        furnace is running because they may be hot).  This inspection may
        require a qualified professional.
     -- Never use charcoal or gas grills inside the home or garage, even
        with a door or windows open.  Also keep charcoal grills outside until
        the coals are completely out.
     -- Don't try to heat a room with a gas range, oven or clothes dryer.
     For additional safety tips, visit The Gas Company online at .
     Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is the nation's largest
 natural gas distribution utility, serving 18 million consumers through
 5 million meters.  The company's service area encompasses 23,000 square miles
 throughout central and Southern California.  The Gas Company is a subsidiary
 of Sempra Energy (NYSE:   SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company
 based in San Diego.
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SOURCE Southern California Gas Company