LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Don't let the warm weather fool you. The winter heating season is around the corner. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) says don't wait; now is the time to inspect home-heating appliances, relight pilots and perform any needed maintenance necessary to avoid health or safety hazards.
"Heating appliances should be serviced annually to keep them operating safely and efficiently," said Jimmie Cho, vice president of field services for SoCalGas. "To avoid the rush in winter and enjoy a shorter wait time, we encourage customers to schedule an appointment online now at socalgas.com or call a licensed heating contractor to provide this service for you."
Failure to perform annual maintenance on gas appliances may result in exposure to carbon monoxide, which can cause nausea, drowsiness, flu-like symptoms, and even death.
"Since home heating typically accounts for more than half of the monthly winter gas bill, the best way to keep bills lower is to have gas appliances serviced," Cho said.
SoCalGas offers these tips for a safe, warm, and energy-efficient winter:
Have natural gas furnaces checked at least once a year by a licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas.
Vacuum and clean regularly in and around the furnace, particularly around the burner compartment to prevent a build-up of dust and lint. Never store items in, on or around the appliance that can obstruct airflow.
Most forced-air units have a filter that cleans the air before heating and circulating it throughout the home. Check furnace filters every month during the heating season and clean or replace the filter when necessary.
When installing a new or cleaned furnace filter, be sure to re-install the front panel door of the furnace properly so it fits snugly; never operate the furnace without the front-panel door properly in place because doing so may create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Check the appearance of the flame. If the flame is yellow, large and unsteady, the furnace needs to be inspected immediately by a licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas to have the condition corrected.
Using an unvented gas heater in your home is dangerous and a violation of the California Health and Safety Code.
Never use your oven, range or outdoor barbecue to heat your home because these appliances are not designed for this purpose.
For more information on furnace safety, visit SoCalGas' website at socalgas.com (search "FURNACE SAFETY").To schedule a service appointment, go to socalgas.com (search "SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT") or call (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish.
About Southern California Gas Co. Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).