Have your furnace inspected once a year by a qualified heating contractor.
If your furnace isn't providing heat, check to see if the circuit breaker is on. Replace any worn fuses. If a fuse blows after replacement, call a licensed electrician. You could have a short in the wiring.
Important maintenance checks:
- Check for rust and corrosion on the vent pipe connected to the chimney. Make sure it's secure at both ends. Also, make sure the chimney and vent pipe are free of obstructions, such as leaves or nests.
- To test for blocked vents or chimneys, turn on your furnace for 10 minutes. Hold your hand under the vent hood (see your owner's manual). If hot air comes out, it could be a sign of blockage.
- Replace vents and flue pipes that have weak spots, rust or cracks. Even small openings can allow dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to collect in your home.
- Check the filter once a month. A dirty filter blocks the flow of warm air and wastes energy.
- Replace worn belts. Lubricate the blower, fan bearings and pumps unless the model you have doesn't require lubrication - be sure to check your manual.
- Remove lint, dust and debris from air ducts and registers.
- Make sure the furnace door is closed when the furnace is operating.
- Repair water leaks in the boiler and supply pipes.
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Safe and Efficient Use of Your Appliances
To get the most enjoyment out of your electric and natural gas appliances, operate them with these safety tips in mind.
To help avoid fires and severe burns:
- Keep your appliances clean. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for care and operation.
In case of a grease fire, use a dry chemical fire extinguisher.
- Warn your children not to play near gas appliances, especially fireplaces, stoves and ovens.
- Because natural gas needs oxygen to burn properly, be sure to keep the area around your furnace and water heater clear of items that could block air circulation.
- Keep paint, varnish, turpentine, glue, gasoline, cleaning fluids and other chemicals away from gas appliances so their vapors aren't ignited by the gas flame.
- Do not store papers or anything flammable near an appliance or your furnace.
More safe operating ideas for your gas appliances:
- Your natural gas appliances should have a clear, steady, blue flame. If the flame is mostly yellow, call a qualified contractor to adjust the gas.
- If the burners or controls aren't working properly, or if they've been under water, don't relight the appliance yourself. Call a qualified contractor to relight them.
- If the burner flame or pilot light goes out, turn off the gas. Wait five minutes to let the gas escape before relighting it. Follow relighting procedures on the appliance rating plate.
- If gas continues to collect around the pilot light or burner, or if you have any doubt, don't relight it. Call a qualified contractor.
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A Red Tag Means Danger
If we or an appliance repair service determine that your gas furnace or other gas appliances are not operating safely, they will be turned off and marked with a red tag. The tag serves as a warning that an appliance is unsafe and could cause injury, property damage or even death.
For your safety, please don't use the appliance until you have it repaired by a qualified contractor.
Central Air Conditioning Tips
- Keep the area around the unit clear of leaves and debris that could block airflow.
- If you plant new shrubs, make sure they're not too close to the unit so they block airflow.
- Have your central air conditioner checked by a qualified contractor once a year.
Clothes Dryer Tips
- Caution children never to climb inside or play with the dryer.
- Always vent the dryer to the outside.
- For greatest economy and to avoid a fire hazard, clean the lint filter before every load.
- Don't use your dryer for items made with foam rubber or plastic, or items cleaned with spot remover or other flammable products.
- If drying time seems longer than normal, call a qualified contractor to inspect your dryer.
- Repeated movement of your dryer can cause the flexible fuel line on the back to crack, resulting in a gas leak. At least once a year, check and replace rusty or damaged hoses and connectors. Be sure the fuel line valve is in the "off" position before replacing the tubing.
Gas Fireplace Log Tips
- Turn off the fireplace logs before you leave the house or go to bed.
- When using gas fireplace logs, never burn papers, boxes, or other flammable objects in your fireplace. The ashes could block the flow of gas and overheat the gas valves.
- Always leave the damper open when using your gas fireplace logs.
- Although gas logs don't produce sparks or flying embers, it's a good idea to install glass doors, especially if there are young children in your home.
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Outdoor Grill Tips
- Shut off the gas before you clean, paint or perform similar maintenance work.
- Before using your gas grill, make sure all connections are secure and the hoses don't have any cracks or holes.
- Make sure the grill's burners and the tubes from the burner to the gas valve are clear. Spiders and other small insects that can get into your gas grill overnight could block the gas flow.
- Keep the lid open when you light your grill to prevent gas from collecting and causing a sudden flare-up.
- Empty the grease container often to prevent buildup on the bottom of the grill. We recommend cleaning gas burners with a stiff bristle brush.
- Ask your dealer to help you select a heater that's the right size for your pool or spa.
- Don't use or store flammable paints, chemicals, gasoline and aerosol sprays near your pool or Jacuzzi heater. The vapors could ignite and cause a fire.
Supplemental Heating Tips
It still is most economical to use a home’s furnace to heat large areas and multiple rooms. An electric space heater can be a good way to heat a small area.
If using an electric space heater, Consumers Energy offers the following safety tips:
- When purchasing an electric space heater, make sure it has an Underwriters Laboratories
- If the appliance has a three-prong plug, plug it directly into the wall outlet. The third prong
grounds the appliance and prevents shocks
- Some extension cords may not be able to handle the amount of electricity
required to operate the appliance safely and could cause a fire
- Keep the heater away from curtains, drapes and bedspreads or anything flammable
- Keep the heater away from water and never touch the heater when you’re wet
- Always unplug the heater before you go to bed or leave home
- Do not use the space heater if the cord is frayed or damaged
- Never use a space heater in place of your home heating system
Gas Space Heater Tips
- A space heater should never be used if the ceramic pieces behind the flame are cracked or broken, if you smell fumes or if your eyes sting when the heater is on.
- Keep a window open slightly to replace oxygen used when a natural gas, kerosene or propane room heater is operating.
- Always turn the heater off when you leave home.
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- Keep pot holders, towels or other flammable objects away from stove-top burners. They could ignite and cause a fire.
- When cooking with a natural gas stove, lower the flame on the burner so it covers only the bottom of the pan.
- After cleaning, install oven racks properly. If they don't tip when you pull them out and push down gently, they're safe.
- Don't store snacks, breads or other items with flammable packaging in your oven. Check the oven before turning it on.
- Be sure the manufacturer's anti tip device is installed properly.
- Never use your stove or oven to heat your home.
Water Heater Tips
- Set the temperature on your water heater at 120 degrees or lower. Water that's too hot can cause severe burns. Children and the elderly are most sensitive to hot water.
- Don't use or store flammable paints, chemicals, gasoline and aerosol sprays near your water heater. The vapors could ignite and cause a fire.
- When installing a water heater wrap, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Cut out access to the controls, thermostat, drain and pilot light.
- Make sure the water heater wrap doesn't block air supply areas, including the bottom of the heater and vent connections.
Yard Light Tips
- A yard light can deter vandals and burglars. It also can help prevent slips, trips and similar accidents after dark.
- Shut off the gas or electricity before you clean, paint or perform similar maintenance work.
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