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Got gas? Play it safe at home

Natural gas appliances such as stoves need to be inspected and maintained yearly, according to FortisBC. - Thinkstock
Natural gas appliances such as stoves need to be inspected and maintained yearly, according to FortisBC.
— image credit: Thinkstock

With cold weather here, FortisBC is encouraging customers to get their homes ready for a safe and comfortable winter season.

“As we look to the cooler months ahead, there are many simple steps that homeowners can take to help keep their home warm and safe this winter,” FortisBC’s Tom Loski, vice-president of customer service, said in a press release. “As an example, it’s important to have your home’s heating system serviced annually by a licensed contractor to help make sure it operates as safely and efficiently as possible.”

The company advises its customers to have their natural gas appliances and furnaces serviced. For homes that have natural gas furnaces, fireplaces and appliances, it is important to have a licensed gas contractor registered with the BC Safety Authority inspect and service all natural gas appliances on an annual basis to keep them operating in a safe and efficient manner. Make sure the contractor locates and inspects the gas piping from the meter to the appliance to confirm that it is functioning safely and free of any corrosion or damage. Information about choosing a natural gas contractor is available at fortisbc.com/findacontractor or safetyauthority.ca.

While the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from natural gas appliances is extremely low, regular maintenance checks by a licensed gas contractor are the best prevention.

Some safety tips:

• Smell gas? Report it fast. If you smell the distinct rotten egg or sulphur-like odour of natural gas, leave the area immediately and call the FortisBC 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-663-9911 or 911.

• Keep your meter clear of ice and snow. For natural gas meters, remove any built-up snow by hand until the regulator and shut-off valve are clear to help avoid pipe breakages, leaks and interruptions of gas service. And if ice builds up on your gas meter, call FortisBC at 1-888-224-2710.

• Keep kids safe around a gas fireplace. Consider installing an adjustable safety gate or screen and a fire-resistant hearth guard to better protect young children around a gas fireplace. A safety screen would ensure children do not touch the glass panels of a natural gas fireplace. Visit your local hearth products retailer to find a safety screen that’s right for your home.

In addition to regular appliance inspection and maintenance, there are many ways customers can lower their energy costs while also staying safe.

For a limited time, LiveSmart BC and the Government of Canada ecoENERGY Retrofit-HomesProgram provide rebates to homeowners who upgrade their home under the direction of a certified energy advisor. Rebates are subject to availability and can change at any time. More information is available in the Offers section on fortisbc.com/LiveSmartBC.

• For more tips and information on natural gas safety and energy conservation, visit fortisbc.com.

 

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