By Teresa Jimenez
As cool fall temperatures settle into Northern and Central California, PG&E encourages customers to schedule free gas appliance safety checks with the company, and to make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed near sleeping areas and are working properly.
Every year, there are 400 preventable deaths in the United States caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, with about a third of those occurring between December and February.
PG&E customers can schedule a free inspection on www.pge.com by logging into their account, select “Service Requests” > “Pilot Light Appointments” > “Relight Furnace/heater” > preferred time or by calling the company’s customer service helpline at (800) 743-5000.
PG&E gas service representatives will test carbon monoxide detector batteries and expiration dates, relight furnace pilots, and check gas stoves, fireplaces and water heaters at no cost to the customer. Most importantly, our representatives will improve the safety of customers’ homes for the winter season ahead. The entire inspection can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the number of appliances and where each appliance is located within the home.
Free PG&E safety checks avoid preventable injuries and deaths
According to the federal Center for Disease Control, 2,244 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning from 2010 to 2015 in the United States. In 2015, nearly 400 Americans died from carbon monoxide poisoning, with 36 percent occurring during winter months.
“One of the things you can do to keep your loved ones safe is to get gas appliances and carbon monoxide detectors checked now before the cold months come and gas use increases,” said Jesus Soto, senior vice president of Gas Operations. “Often, homeowners don’t know that the detectors have expiration dates. With the increased use of gas appliances during cold months, now’s the time to make sure they’re operating properly.”
PG&E’s gas service representatives regularly respond to calls about carbon monoxide alarms and provide services to help prevent hazardous situations:
- From September 2016 to August 2017, PG&E received 15,231 calls resulting from carbon monoxide alarms.
- During that time, PG&E’s gas service representatives made an additional 9,027 checks to detectors while at customers’ homes for other purposes.
- Gas service representatives also conducted 93,390 winter gas safety checks and pilot relights from October to December last year.
Home heating safety tips
- Make sure carbon monoxide detectors, required by law in California for all single-family homes, are installed near sleeping and common areas.
- Replace batteries in carbon monoxide detectors at least twice a year and check expiration dates — most carbon monoxide detectors have a shelf life of only five to seven years.
- Never use products inside the home that generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, such as generators, outdoor grills and propane heaters.
- Never use cooking devices such as ovens or stoves for home heating purposes.
- 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.
- Make sure water heaters and other natural gas appliances have proper ventilation.
- As part of customers’ gas service, PG&E representatives are available to inspect gas appliances and make sure they are working safely.
- Click here for more winter heating safety and savings tips.
If you detect carbon monoxide in your home, you should get out immediately and call 911. If a PG&E customer ever smells the distinctive “rotten egg” odor of natural gas in or around their home or business they should immediately call 911 and PG&E at (800) 743-5000.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.