As Winter Approaches, Atlanta Gas Light Reminds Consumers of Natural Gas Safety
October 22, 2004
ATLANTA, Ga. (Oct. 22, 2004) – Yellowing leaves hinting at winter’s approach are vivid reminders that residents of Georgia will soon be firing up their natural gas furnaces. Natural gas is an efficient, clean-burning fuel that is safe to use, but as with any fuel, homeowners should be aware of the steps to take in the event of an emergency.
“Atlanta Gas Light is committed to educating Georgia residents about safety,” said Isaac Blythers, president of AGL. “While we work very diligently to reduce leaks, they sometimes occur. After not using their furnaces in months, natural gas customers need to familiarize themselves with the safe way to handle a leak.”
Residents should never try to connect gas furnaces or appliances themselves, he stressed.
“Leave that job to professionals,” Blythers said. “Incorrect installation increases the chances of leaks and creates unsafe conditions.”
Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so a substance called mercaptan is added to give gas a distinctive “rotten egg” smell. While natural gas is non-toxic, it is combustible, Blythers added.
If the “rotten egg” smell is detected, leave the premises immediately. Then, call Atlanta Gas Light at 770-907-4231 in the metro Atlanta area or 1-877-427-4321 outside the metro area.
“Homeowners should call the AGL emergency numbers, not their gas marketers,” Blythers said. “In the past, there has been some confusion over who responds to these situations, but Atlanta Gas Light is responsible for operating and maintaining the pipes that bring the gas to your home or business. We are the ones to call for pipe repairs and leaks.”
According to Blythers, homeowners should remember the following:
- If the rotten egg odor is detected, vacate the premises immediately.
- Do not attempt to locate the gas leak.
- Open doors and windows as you leave if it is possible to do so safely.
- Don’t smoke or strike matches.
- Do not turn lights off or on. Do not unplug electric appliances.
- Do not use a telephone or cell phone.
- When you are away from the house or the location in question, call AGL at 770-907-4231 in the metro Atlanta area or 1-877-427-4321 outside the metro area.
- Do not return until an AGL representative gives the “all clear.”
SIDEBAR: Safety tips about carbon monoxide
Natural gas furnaces and appliances must be maintained and operated properly in order to prevent the production of carbon monoxide. According to Blythers, this poisonous gas has no odor, taste or color. Warning signs include any unusual behavior in gas appliances or a yellowish-color flame on a gas appliance burner.
“A licensed professional should inspect furnaces and appliances annually to make sure that they are working properly and are vented correctly,” Blythers said. “The inspection will also insure that your natural gas furnace or appliance is operating at peak efficiency.”
Fall, when homeowners turn on their furnaces for the winter, is a good time to have an inspection, Blythers said, urging Georgia residents not to delay having their natural gas turned on.
“Our weather can change so quickly, and no one wants to be caught in a sudden cold snap,” he said.
For additional safety information, please visit the Atlanta Gas Light web site at www.atlantagaslight.com.