Natural Gas Safety Tips

CenterPoint Energy (CNP) reminds customers to take natural gas leaks seriously and to immediately notify their utility if they detect one.

Natural gas has an odorant added to it to help make it detectable. If you smell natural gas, which smells like rotten eggs, take the following precautions:

  • Leave the property immediately! Do not use electric switches, telephones (including cell phones) or anything that could cause a spark.
  • Go to a safe location and call your utility's natural gas leak hotline. Don't assume that someone else has reported the leak. Alert your neighbors.
  • Never try to repair a natural gas leak. Leave all repairs to a trained technician.

The heating season also is a good time to remind customers the importance of having their heating systems inspected annually by a qualified technician to ensure its safe operation and to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Any fuel-burning equipment or appliance, including wood stoves, fireplaces, space heaters, barbecue grills, furnaces, water heaters, boilers and ranges, has the potential to produce CO which is a poisonous gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating.

CenterPoint Energy recommends:

  • Follow manufacturers' operating instructions properly for their gas heating equipment.
  • Do not use stovetop burners or ovens to heat a room since they are not designed for this use.
  • Make sure to follow the blue flame rule. Natural gas flames should burn blue except natural gas fireplace logs which burn orange to have a more realistic wood burning look.
  • Crack windows slightly if using unvented space heaters.
  • Consider buying a CO detector as another line of defense against CO poisoning. CNP recommends buying one with an audible alarm and continuous digital display; make sure it is tested to the national standard for residential CO detectors (UL2034 or IAS NO. 6-96).

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