Did you know...
• Over 50 percent of all American households rely on natural gas to meet their energy needs.
• About 13 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States is used by businesses and public facilities.
• Every day, Americans use nearly 62 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
With statistics like these, there's no doubt that natural gas is a crucial energy source for our country. Whether you use this clean-burning, cost-efficient fuel in your home or business—or both—it's important to learn as much as you can about its proper use. (For a general overview of natural gas, including its origins and environmental impact, click here.)
Here are some simple natural gas DOs and DON'Ts for your home and business:
• Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home and/or business inspected every year or two by qualified industry professionals.
• Keep the areas around all gas appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to permit proper airflow.
• Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.
• Look for the blue flame. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception; their flame is usually yellow.)
• Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home. Business owners should follow local fire code regulations.
• Review natural gas safety regularly with ALL family members and/or employees.
• Include your natural gas company's emergency contact information on your list of important phone numbers (e.g. fire, police, physicians, etc.) and/or in your company manual.
• Ever let children play with or near natural gas appliances or pipes, even the knobs on the oven or stovetop.
• Use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, to heat your home), under any circumstances.
• Move or install a gas appliance or change the connector in any way without professional assistance.
• Use a space heater UNTIL you are sure it has been vented properly. If using a vent-free heater, make sure the automatic cut-off switch is operational.
• Install a gas appliance yourself, unless you are a qualified contractor. Instead, you should always seek professional assistance.
• Ever store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.
Call before you dig
Unauthorized digging is one the leading causes of natural gas
leaks. By law, you must call Indiana811at 1-800-382-5544, at least two
working days before digging for any landscape or construction project
on your property. Keep in mind that lines have been hit digging fence
post holes, anchoring supports for decks and swing sets, planting trees,
removing tree roots and driving landscaping stakes into the ground. By
not calling, you are breaking the law and risking injury to yourself,
your family and your fellow community members.
If you ever suspect unauthorized digging, contact your
natural gas company
or 9-1-1. For more on Indiana811, click here.
Mind your meter
Before natural gas enters your home or business, it passes through a gas meter (located just outside your home or business). On its face, you'll find a row of four dials and two additional dials underneath those four. The pointers on the dials record the amount of energy you're using in hundreds of cubic feet. Your gas provider charges you for the "therms" you use, based on the cubic feet (cf) your meter is recording. "Therms" represent the amount of heat that the gas can produce, or its Btu (British thermal unit).
To assure uninterrupted service, check the meter on a regular basis and gently clear away any ice buildup or snow with a broom (do NOT use a shovel). If your gas meter becomes encased with ice, contact your local natural gas company for assistance.
When you're out and about...be aware
Even when you're strolling around town, it's helpful to remember the following signs of a natural gas leak:
SMELL — To help you SMELL a leak from a gas line or appliance, a familiar odor like rotten eggs is often added to natural gas.
SEE — Near a gas leak, you might SEE blowing dirt, bubbling water or an unusual area of dead vegetation.
HEAR — A leaking pipeline might make a hissing sound you can HEAR.
If you recognize even one of the above signs, walk away, right away. Don't try to stop or repair the leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark, such as a cell phone. When you're clear of the area, call your local natural gas company or 9-1-1 for emergency response.
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Call Before You Dig—Indiana811
Suspect a natural
gas leak right now?
Don’t touch or turn off your computer—walk away, right away. When clear of the area, call your local natural gas company or 9-1-1 for emergency response.