Many Americans choose natural gas heaters for the fuel efficiency and cleaner burning properties. Unlike electric heaters, a gas heater can leak or explode, which is why the natural gas industry recommends you brush up on natural gas heater safety. Learning proper safety methods for your natural gas heater takes only a few minutes, and your utility company should be more than willing to answer any further questions.
Although natural gas poses little risk when handled properly, learning natural gas heater safety teaches you about the possible dangers and the proper procedures in case of an emergency. It is especially important that your children know about the safe handling of a natural gas heater, according to natural gas provider Ameren.
Natural gas heater safety measures are either preventative or help you recognize a problem. Highly advised preventative measures include performing periodical checks of your gas heater and buying new connectors for your heater whenever you move it. Companies add an odoriferous compound to natural gas that you should instantly recognize in case your heater has a leak.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poses an especially important risk because unlike natural gas, carbon monoxide does not have an odor but can still lead to severe illness and even kill you, according to HomeImprovementHelper.com. Carbon monoxide forms when a gas heater does not burn correctly. Thus, you should have a professional inspect your heater for leaks and make sure your heater has a proper gas and air mixture. Carbon monoxide detectors are available either as individual units or in combination with smoke detectors.
Should your gas heater malfunction you likely have a very small time frame to react to the situation. This is where the knowledge of natural gas heater safety comes into play in emergencies. For gas leaks, any small spark--like that from a telephone--can instantly ignite natural gas. Not all leaks require panic. Slight bad odors only require venting the room for a few minutes.
The radiating heat emitted by a natural gas heater can often pose just as lethal a threat as gas leaks and carbon monoxide. Flammable chemicals such as gasoline and paint thinner may explode when placed to close to a gas heater. Flammable chemicals also emit fumes that can ignite, even when several feet from a gas flame, reports Ameren. It is best to store chemicals outside of the house.
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