Gas appliance maintenance is always the customer’s responsibility, but we're here to explain how you can keep your appliances operating safely and efficiently.
It's important to maintain your furnace for safety and for operating efficiency. Replace your furnace filters at least three times during each heating season. Keep heat registers and cold air returns clean and clear of furniture and draperies, in order to help the air flow properly. You can keep your furnace performing at its best with an annual furnace check-up. Schedule to have your furnace and other gas appliances inspected by a qualified professional when cold temperatures arrive. An inspection helps ensure reliable heat and can prevent potential problems. Your qualified professional should:
- Test the thermostat
- Visually inspect the heat exchanger, motor, and vents
- Lubricate the blower motor
- Check the flue
- Check the pilot light, unless your furnace features pilotless ignition
- Avoid lint build-up by vacuuming the floor furnace and the area around it regularly.
- Keep children away from the grill, as it gets very hot.
- Avoid fires—don't place rugs, furniture, or combustible items over or near the grill, and do not block the airflow.
- Clean inside the burner compartment of a built-in, vented wall furnace once a month during the heating season to prevent lint build-up, or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never place combustible items on or near the appliance or vent.
Central Gravity Furnace and Central Forced-Air Heating
- Keep furnace heat registers free of obstructions.
- Don't store items nearby that might stop or restrict airflow.
- Many gas furnaces use air from the indoors to operate. Lint, dust, and pet hair carried by air, or items stored in or around the furnace can block or restrict airflow. In order to operate safely and efficiently, your gas furnace must be kept free of dust and lint build-up and other obstructions stored near the furnace. Never store or use flammable products, such as newspapers, flammable liquids or cleaning products near the furnace.
- Most forced-air furnaces have a filter that cleans the air before heating and circulating it throughout the home. Inspect your filter monthly for lint build-up during periods of furnace use. Clean or replace the filter if necessary. Replacing filters often can improve appliance efficiency and reduce your energy consumption.
- 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.
- Most new forced-air furnaces have a safety (interlock) switch that prevents furnace operation when the filter compartment door/panel is not in place. However, some older forced-air furnaces do not have a safety switch and can be operated with the filter compartment door or panel off or not properly in place.
Unvented Space Heater
- Always install and use unvented space heaters in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Unvented space heaters are not to be used as the sole source of heat in your home.
All gas appliances have a main burner flame and many also have a pilot flame. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of flammable vapors being ignited by these flames:
- Water heaters installed in garages must be elevated so the pilot light or other source of ignition is a minimum of 18 inches above the floor, or installed per local building codes and the manufacturers’ installation instructions.*
*Note: Manufacturers’ labels and/or instruction manuals for new Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) tank water heaters may or may not indicate the 18-inch elevation requirement for garage installations. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Never store or use flammable products such as gasoline, paint thinner, cleaning products, etc. near or in the same room as any gas or heat-producing appliance.
- Lowering your temperature setting can prevent scalding accidents and lower your energy costs. Water temperatures above 125° F can cause severe burns or even death. Households with small children, or disabled or elderly persons may require a lower thermostat setting to prevent contact with "HOT" water. Please refer to your water heater manufacturer's recommendations for safe water heater temperature settings.
Follow these safety precautions to reduce the risk of fire or injury:
- All gas dryers are required to be vented to the outdoors.
- Do not exhaust gas dryers into an attic, chimney, wall, ceiling, or concealed space of a building.
- Use only approved metal vent ducting material. Plastic, vinyl and foil accordion style materials are not approved for gas dryers.
- Inspect the exhaust duct regularly to ensure that it has not become crushed, kinked or otherwise restricted.
- Keep area around the exhaust opening and adjacent surrounding areas free from accumulation of lint.
- Periodically clear the interior of the exhaust duct. This work should be performed by a licensed, qualified professional.
Range and Oven
- Keep range top area clean of grease. Grease is flammable and excessive build-up may result in a fire.
- Do not use the range top or stove to heat the home.
- Do not install items such as aluminum foil in the oven or range top to avoid restricting exhaust vents which may result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Natural Gas Fireplace Logs (ventless and vented)
- To help avoid serious accidents, the damper must be kept open on a permanent basis. Use the damper lock included with the gas log assembly kit. Vented gas logs can only be installed in an existing masonry fireplace.
- You may not be required to install ventless gas logs in an existing masonry fireplace. Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions and be sure the logs are placed exactly as recommended. Not following the manufacturer’s instructions may result in carbon monoxide.
- Always ensure gas appliances are installed in an area with sufficient air for combustion as outlined in the International Fuel Gas Code or per local code requirements.
Although natural gas meters are relatively weatherproof and require little maintenance, please follow the safety tips listed below to help keep you, your family, and others safe.
- Never tie (tether) pets to gas meters, and never use gas meters to hang garden hoses or other tools.
- Plants, shrubs, snow, and debris can block the dial face or pathway to the meter, preventing access for our meter readers. Keeping a clear path to your gas meter not only helps Peoples employees to perform routine maintenance, but also allows emergency responders quick access should the need arise.
- In the winter, snow and ice can accumulate on a meter, which may affect operation. Remove snow and ice from your natural gas meter with a broom or brush, but never kick or try to chip with a hard object.
- Look up! Gutters and overhangs can accumulate ice, which could melt during the day and splash up into regulator vents then freeze again at night, which may lead to improper pressures. Ice could also break off and damage a meter, if struck.
- Keep meters at least 3 feet away from ignition sources and from appliance vents or intakes. Appliance flue products contain moisture, which could freeze in cold weather and which is also corrosive.
- Never hang a light bulb near a meter for heat.
- Gas meters with regulators require open air around them, so never box in or wrap your meter with blankets.