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UGI Offers Safety Tips as Heating Season Arrives

As cooler temperatures arrive and customers turn on their heating equipment for the first time since spring, UGI Utilities, Inc. urges customers to remember a few simple safety tips.

Detect, Dash, Dial

An odorant that smells like rotten eggs is added to natural gas. If you DETECT that smell, DASH, then DIAL. You should 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. Move at least 100 yards away, the length of a football field, where the odor is no longer present. Dial 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.

Be aware of carbon monoxide exposure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. will go to the emergency room each year because of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is a by-product of the incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, natural gas, and propane. Malfunctioning heating systems or appliances, as well as damaged or blocked vents and chimneys can cause a build-up of CO.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.

Additional signs there may be a build-up of CO in your home include:

  • Significant condensation on walls and windows
  • House pets becoming sluggish
  • Residents in the home suffering flu-like symptoms or feeling unusually tired
  • Sooty or smoky smell coming from a malfunctioning appliance

CO poisoning is serious and can be fatal. Individuals who think they might be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention. 

The following simple steps can help prevent CO exposure and poising:

  • Make sure working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are appropriately located within living spaces and the batteries are fresh. CO detectors/alarms should be located on each floor of a home, including one in each bedroom. Note that CO detectors have a limited operating life. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for related information and replacement considerations.
  • If your heating system has not been serviced recently, have a qualified professional check your furnace, water heater, and other internal combustion appliances. An annual check and service of your heating system and appliances will help ensure the safe operation of your equipment.
  • Check the connections to your chimney or flue for damage or corrosion. In addition, check for black stains visible on the outside of your chimney or flue. These stains can indicate a blockage. A damaged or blocked chimney could allow exhaust gas, including CO, to enter your home or workplace. You may also contact a heating professional to have your chimney and flue checked.
  • Check that both internal and external combustion air vents are unobstructed. External vents can become blocked by leaves and other debris.
  • Change or clean furnace filters regularly. Clogged filters can reduce the efficiency of your heating equipment and impede normal operations. Also make sure the filter you use is the proper size and shape for your system.  

If the heating equipment in your home or business is not working because of an electric power outage, never use an open oven or grill inside your home to provide heat.

Use caution when using unvented space heaters, which can be a source of CO. Always follow manufacturer’s directions regarding the use of these heaters. Unvented heaters are designed for supplemental use only. Be sure to provide adequate ventilation in areas where a space heater is used. Do not use unvented heaters in bedrooms, bathrooms, or confined spaces.

UGI Utilities, Inc. serves more than 740,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland. Customers interested in additional information visit the UGI website at; on Facebook at; Twitter at

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Joseph Swope
(484) 332-1485