Natural Gas Safety
Even though natural gas pipeline incidents are uncommon, you can help prevent emergencies by knowing the signs of a potential problem. Anytime you suspect a leak, leave the area immediately and call us at 888-Nicor4U.
Look for blowing dirt or continued bubbling in standing water.
Listen near a natural gas appliance or line; there may be a hissing or roaring sound when ntural gas is leaking.
Smell for the distinctive, rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas. You should take action any time you detect even a small amount of this odor in the air.
Note: Do not rely solely on your sense of smell to derermine if a gas leak exists or if natural gas is present. Some persons may not be able to detect the odorant because they have a diminished snnse of smell or offactory fatigue, or because the odor is being masked by other odors in the area. Certain conditions may cause the odorant to diminish so that it is not detectable.
Leave the area immediately if you detect a natural gas leak. Don't try to identify the source or to stop the leak yourself.
Avoid touching anything that may cause a spark. This includes lighters, matches, cigarettes, flashlights, light switches and telephones in the area of the suspected leak. You should even wait until you are away from the area to use a cell phone.
Call Nicor Gas at 888.Nicor4U (888.642.6748) or 911 once you are out of the suspected leak and in a safe place. Stay away until Nicor Gas or emergency personnel indicate it is safe to return.
Plan Ahead to Stay Safe
Planning a home improvement project? Planting a tree? Installing a fence or deck? WAIT! With any digging on your property, here's what you need to know first. Excavation work, including digging or plowing around a home or business, is the most common cause of natural gas emergencies. Before digging on your property, state law requires you to call the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators
(JULIE) by dialing 811, a statewide, toll-free number, to have your utility lines professionally marked. After calling you must wait the required amount of time before digging, so underground utility lines can be located and marked -free of charge -before you begin your project.
► WATER HEATER SAFETY
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urges you to lower your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A thermostat setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) may be necessary for residential water heaters to reduce or eliminate the risk of most tap water scald injuries. Consumers should consider lowering the thermostat to the lowest settings that will satisfy hot water needs for clothing and dishwashing machines. Never take hot water temperature for granted. Always hand-test before using, especially when bathing children and infants.
► NATURAL GAS PIPING
Nicor Gas is responsible for maintaining the natural gas lines that deliver natural gas to the meter at your home. You are responsible for maintaining the natural gas lines from the meter to the natural gas-burning appliances throughout your home and property -indoors and outdoors, above and below ground. Don't forget that you may have natural gas lines extending to yard lights, grills, pool heaters, and garage or workshop heaters.
► NATURAL DISASTERS
Should your property be affected by a natural disaster such as floods, or tornadoes, be aware appliance connectors and natural gas piping may be impacted. If a leak is suspected:
• Leave the building immediately and have others also exit immediately.
• Avoid touching anything that may cause a spark. This includes lighters, matches, cigarettes, flashlights, light switches and telephones in the area of the suspected leak. You should even wait until you are away from the area to use a cell phone.
It is recommended that any natural gas appliances that have been submerged in water be replaced.
► APPLIANCE CONNECTORS
Appliance connectors are corrugated metal tubes used to connect appliances to fuel natural gas supply pipes in your home or business. Some older brass connectors -that have not been made for more than 20 years, but still found in older homes and buildings -have a potential flaw in how their tubing is joined to their end pieces. Over time, the end pieces can separate from the tubing and may cause a serious leak, fire, or explosion. Although not all uncoated connectors have this potential flaw, it is difficult to tell which ones do. Therefore, any uncoated brass connector should be replaced immediately by a certified contractor. Be sure to follow these appliance connector guidelines:
• Make sure that connectors are installed where no one will step, sit, lean or place a heavy object on them.
• Never have a connector installed through ·a wall, floor or ceiling.
• An appliance connector should not be more than six feet long.
• Each appliance should have a shut-off valve installed on the house piping before the connector.
• A new connector should be installed by a certified-'Contractor every time an appliance is replaced.