PG&E Reminds Customers to Use Heating Appliances Safely

This is a press release from PG&E:

SAN FRANCISCO-– With temperatures expected to drop in Northern and Central California this weekend, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges customers to be cautious when using appliances or fireplaces to heat their homes. Space heaters and other electric or gas heating appliances can be a fire hazard when not safely used or closely attended to. Also, gas furnaces, stoves and water heaters can increase the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide, a toxic gas, if they have not been checked to ensure they are working properly.

“We want our customers to be safe, comfortable and warm when the temperature drops—and there’s a reason safety comes first on that list. A home’s main central heating system should be its primary source of heat, and customers should only use space heaters as a supplement. If these appliances aren’t used safely, they can create serious safety hazards,” said Laurie Giammona, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at PG&E.

To avoid carbon monoxide risks, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends having vented space heaters inspected each year to make sure they are operating safely and have not become blocked, rusted or corroded.

PG&E urges customers to focus on safely heating their homes as temperatures dip and offers the following tips:

  • Place space heaters on level, hard, nonflammable surfaces, not on rugs or carpets.
  • Don’t put objects on space heaters or use them to dry clothes or shoes.
  • Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Keep all flammable materials at least three feet away from heating sources and supervise children when a space heater or fireplace is being used.
  • Never use cooking devices such as ovens or stoves for home heating purposes.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors to warn you if concentration levels are high. As of 2011, all California single-family homes are required to have carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure they are installed near sleeping areas and replace the batteries at least twice a year.
  • When using the fireplace to stay warm, make sure the flue is open so that the byproducts of combustion can vent safely through the chimney.
  • Never use products inside the home that generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, such as generators, barbecues, propane heaters and charcoal.

If customers suspect there is a problem with a natural gas appliance inside their home, they should call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. A gas service representative will be dispatched to do a thorough inspection. If you detect carbon monoxide in your home, you should get out immediately and call 911.

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6 comments

  • Good advice and information. Thank you.

  • PHUKK Rothchild’s Pacific Gas and Electric aka PG&E Inc., aka “Community Choice Aggregate” aka Redwood Coast Energy Authority (my fave), aka Spark of CA aka . . . and the beat goes on.

    Stockholm Syndrome on steroids.

  • PG&E says don’t start a fire. Leave that to the experts…PG&E.

  • Never use an extension cord or outlet splitter (one of those things that lets you put 3 plugs into one outlet–even if you are only using one of them) with an electric space heater.

    This is a very common mistake. Luckily everyone i know who has done it, including me, smelled the melting plastic at the outlet before it started a major fire. Things meant to handle lamps and fans and even small motors cannot handle a lengthy draw of 900 or 1500 watts meant to generate heat. Doesn’t matter if it’s grounded… the splitters are just too feeble for that much juice.

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