SDG&E Encourages Customers to Prepare For Winter Heating Season
Oceanside CA— With the time period for Santa Ana Winds coming to an end and cooler weather settling in, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is partnering with customers to promote safety during the winter season. SDG&E offers customers free safety checks to make sure home gas appliances are operating safely and efficiently. Customers are encouraged to schedule these appliance checks by visiting sdge.com or calling 800-411-SDGE (7343).
“Safety is a top priority for SDG&E and is very important during the winter season because our customers often use holiday lighting, spend more time indoors and heat their homes to stay warm,” said Caroline Winn, vice president of customer service for SDG&E. “Scheduling an appliance safety check on sdge.com is an easy way for our customers to make sure their gas appliances are working properly. We urge customers to take advantage of this free service, which can help ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for our customers and their families.”
Free Appliance Safety Checks
Customers can schedule an appointment by calling SDG&E at 800-411-7343 or by visiting the “Check My Appliances” link on SDG&E’s website. Once an appointment is scheduled, an SDG&E gas technician will check the furnace to make sure it is working properly and inspect the condition of the filter, which improves the furnace’s heating ability.
The main safety risk that technicians are looking for is carbon monoxide. This colorless, odorless, tasteless gas is formed when carbon-based fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal or wood, are burned with inadequate amounts of oxygen, creating a condition known as incomplete combustion.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly, which is one of the reasons all California homeowners are now required to install carbon monoxide detectors in their home. SDG&E also recommends customers change the battery in their carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly.
Customers can also periodically check gas appliances themselves to make sure pilot lights and burner flames are a clear blue, (small flecks of orange are normal). However, soft yellow burner flame can be a sign of carbon monoxide. Customers are also encouraged to make sure the damper is open when using gas fireplaces and never use gas ovens or other appliances for space heating.
Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
These safety measures greatly reduce the risks of carbon monoxide. Customers should still look out for the early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning, the symptoms of which include unexplained nausea, drowsiness mental confusion and flu-like symptoms. If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, the following immediate actions are recommended:
- Immediately turn off the suspected gas appliance, if safe to do so.
- Evacuate the premises and call 911.
- Seek medical attention if anyone in the home experiences possible carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.
- Have the appliance inspected by contacting SDG&E at 800-411-7343 or a licensed, qualified professional.
- Don’t use the suspected gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined to be safe by SDG&E or a licensed, qualified professional.
Winter Safety Tips for Electric Appliances
In addition to gas safety, electric safety is also important during winter, especially when customers are celebrating the holidays. If customers are using holiday lighting, SDG&E recommends purchasing only lights with the certification mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory to ensure safety and efficiency.
Portable heaters, electric blankets and other heat-producing products shouldn’t be used with extension cords, which can be overloaded by these types of devices. Instead, customers should plug them directly into the wall and unplug them before leaving the house. Customers should also keep heaters at a safe distance from furniture, blankets, draperies and other objects that could catch fire; and don’t use them to dry wet clothes. To avoid overloading circuits, use laboratory-tested power strips and low-wattage appliances and do not plug more than two appliances into any outlet.
By providing safety tips and free gas appliance checks, SDG&E is demonstrating its commitment to working with customers to promote safety every day in the community. Building these partnerships not only helps ensure the safety of customers and their families during the winter season, it is also a key element of SDG&E’s efforts to promote public safety for the region overall. For more winter safety tips, visit sdge.com/winter.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and 861,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. Connect with SDG&E’s Customer Contact Center at 800-411-7343, on Twitter (@SDGE) and Facebook.