Natural Gas Appliance Safety Tips



Space Heaters and Gas Logs



Installation & Location


Space heaters and gas logs should be installed in accordance with local building codes and manufacturer's instructions and specifications. Read all manufacturer's instructions, warnings and warranties carefully. Only qualified, licensed service personnel should install and service your space heater and gas logs.



If your current space heater does not have oxygen depletion safety shut-off, you should replace it with a model that does contain this safety feature, if possible. This device will automatically shut off your space heater if oxygen levels become unsafe.


Space heaters installed on carpet, linoleum or tile may require a metal plate or stoveboard to be installed underneath the unit. If required by the manufacturer, the metal plate needs to meet manufacturer's specifications for thickness, and needs to extend the full width and depth of the heater.


Space heaters and gas logs must NOT be installed in the area where flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are used or stored. Vapors from these materials may migrate and be ignited by the pilot or burner flame.


Space heaters and gas logs are HOT during operation. People, clothing, furniture and other combustible items should be kept away from space heaters and gas logs at all times. Also, any guard installed or recommended by the manufacturer should ALWAYS remain in place during operation.


Combustion Air Requirements


Operating space heaters and gas logs without sufficient fresh air can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, it is necessary to provide fresh air to these appliances anytime they are operating. These appliances must be suitable for their locations or meet the manufacturer's installation requirements.


Always follow the manufacturer's specifications, and never cover any openings or alter the space heater's cabinet in any way. You should contact a qualified heating contractor or service technician for recommendations on how to provide and maintain sufficient fresh air to your space heater and gas logs.


Maintenance, Cleaning and Service


Each year, your space heater and gas logs should be inspected by a qualified service technician before they are used.


Even in the cleanest homes, the air moving through space heaters and gas logs carries lint and dust. This lint and dust may clog the air intakes for the pilot light if it is allowed to build up. Lint build-up at the burner intake can cause the improper combustion of natural gas and produce carbon monoxide. If you notice lint build-up, contact a qualified heating contractor or service technician and have your equipment cleaned.


When properly adjusted, a space heater should burn with a blue flame. If the flame is orange or yellow, stop using the space heater and contact a qualified heating contractor or service technician immediately. The color of the burner flame for gas logs can vary depending on the brand, style and use of gas logs. Therefore, it is important that the operation of gas logs be checked regularly by a qualified heating contractor or service technician to ensure that they are functioning properly. It is also recommended that you follow the manufacturer's guidelines for the proper maintenance, cleaning and service of these appliances.


Water Heaters and Other Gas Appliances


Installation & Location


Water heaters and other gas appliances must not be installed in an area where flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are used or stored. Vapors from these materials may migrate and be ignited by the pilot or burner flame.


Codes may require water heaters and other gas appliances installed in residential garages to have all burners and ignition devices not less than 18 inches from the floor. Manufacturer's instructions and recommendations should be followed when any gas appliance is installed. It is important that only qualified, licensed service personnel install and service your gas appliances.


Combustion Air Requirements

All gas appliances must be provided with a supply of fresh air. Operating a gas appliance without a sufficient supply of fresh air can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Refer to the manufacturer's installation and operating instructions for more information on how to safely operate your gas appliances.


Water Heater Thermostat Settings

Setting your water heater temperature too high can be dangerous. Any thermostat setting on a water heater above 120°F may cause severe burns or other injuries, particularly to children, disabled or elderly persons. Read the water heater instruction manual before setting the temperature.


Venting

Some gas equipment, such as unvented space heaters, logs and most residential gas ranges, is specifically designed and certified to operate safely without a vent. However, all central heating furnaces, many larger space heaters (floor and wall furnaces) and all water heaters must be properly vented to operate safely so that the products of combustion are expelled outside the home.


The homeowner should periodically inspect the entire visible length of these vents for signs of corrosion severe enough to cause perforation or joint separation as well as any signs of vent blockage. Should any of these conditions exist, contact a qualified service technician for a more detailed inspection. A routine annual inspection should include an inspection of the venting system.


Flammable Vapors

Flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are extremely dangerous when stored or used improperly.


Natural gas water heaters and other gas appliances must not be installed in an area where flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are used or stored. Vapors from these materials may migrate and be ignited by the pilot or burner flame. Flammable vapors are invisible, and air currents could carry them from other rooms to the pilot flame.


To protect yourself and your family, remember these tips about flammable vapors: