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SDG&E Encourages Customers to Prepare for Winter Heating Season

SDG&E encourages customers to prepare for the winter heating season now by scheduling a free gas appliance safety check to ensure gas furnaces and fireplaces are operating properly.

Don't let the weather fool you, winter is on its way. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is helping customers prepare for the winter season by offering easy tips on how to stay safe when heating their homes.

“With most home heating systems operated by gas, now is a good time to schedule an appointment to have your heater inspected,” said Caroline Winn, vice president of customer services for SDG&E. “Keeping your furnace and other home gas appliances in good working order is essential to ensure they are running both efficiently and safely.”

Free Appliance Safety Checks

After months of non-use, customers may be unaware that their furnace is not operating properly. While maintaining gas appliances is always the homeowner’s responsibility, at a customer’s request, SDG&E can perform free appliance safety checks.  All SDG&E customers are eligible. To schedule an appointment, call SDG&E at 800-411-SDGE (7343). Customers may also schedule an appointment online through MyAccount or by using the “Check My Appliances” link on the SDG&E website.

A dysfunctional furnace can emit carbon monoxide. The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas is formed when carbon-based fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal or wood, are burned with inadequate amounts of oxygen, creating a condition known as incomplete combustion. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly, which is one of the reasons all California homeowners are now required to install carbon monoxide detectors in their home.

Along with the changing season, SDG&E also recommends customers change the battery in their carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly.

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Get to know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and what to do if someone suspects carbon monoxide is present in their home by visitingsdge.com/carbon-monoxide-poisoning.

The early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • unexplained nausea
  • unexplained drowsiness
  • mental confusion
  • flu-like symptoms:
    • headaches
    • dizziness
    • vomiting
    • shortness of breath

If carbon monoxide is suspected, the following immediate actions are recommended:

  • Turn off the appliance. If safe to do so, immediately turn off the suspected gas appliance.
  • Evacuate. Evacuate the premises and call 911.
  • Seek medical attention. Seek medical attention if anyone in the home experiences possible carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.
  • Call for appliance inspection. Contact SDG&E at 800-411-SDGE (7343) or a licensed, qualified professional immediately to have the appliance inspected.
  • Don’t use the appliance. Don’t use the suspected gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined to be safe by SDG&E or a licensed, qualified professional.

More Winter Heating Safety Tips

In addition to a furnace or forced air heating unit, SDG&E offers the following recommendations for safe and efficient operation of natural gas appliances:

  • Never use an oven, range or outdoor barbeque to heat your home because these appliances are not designed for this purpose. If used indoors they can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Vacuum and clean regularly around the furnace, particularly around the burner compartment to prevent a build-up of dust and lint.
  • Never store anything near a gas appliance that might interfere with normal appliance airflow.
  • Most forced-air units have a filter that cleans the air before heating and circulating it throughout the home. Check the filter monthly for lint build-up during periods of furnace use and clean or replace, if necessary.
  • When installing a new or cleaned 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.
  • Leave the fireplace damper open. When using your gas fireplace, make sure the damper is open.

For more tips to prepare for winter, including ways to cut down on heating costs, visit sdge.com/winter.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jay Berman October 25, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Yeah .. prepare to be screwed by huge bills ..
David B Secor October 27, 2012 at 10:06 AM
I way past totally agree, and I don't agree with Jay on anything.
Jay Berman October 29, 2012 at 07:05 PM
LOL ... If you can't hold it in your hand, if you can't store it and it is a commodity like electricity, it must be fully regulated .... If its a monopoly like natural gas distribution, it must be fully regulated .. otherwise you have the corrupt mess we have today ..
Sylvia Sullivan November 02, 2012 at 06:00 PM
So what happened to the power in the Carlton Oaks area last night? It was all dark and quiet with no explanation. Then at almost 2:00am this morning the lights came back on. Anybody have a clue?
Ed Sorrels November 07, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Save over half on your gas bill, Install a tankless water heater, I did and it cut my bill by more than half. It is beyond stupid to keep 40 gal's of water hot 24/7, and if you really want to save install solar electrical, my bill for the whole 12 months of last year was just under $75 dollars, Initial expense is high but recovery is fast with the big saving's.

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