For Iowa and Minnesota customers
Vol 18, Issue 1
- Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
- Using gas space heaters safely
- Is that smell natural gas?
- Be aware of corrugated stainless steel tubing
- Keep your meter clear
- Did you know?
- Flammable liquids basics
- Where's that fuel line going?
- Keeping everyone safe
- Hot water shouldn't scald
Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. When a natural gas appliance malfunctions, it can produce CO. CO is a deadly, odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. CO can also come from leaving a vehicle running in an attached garage.
The warning signs or symptoms of CO poisoning can occur immediately or gradually and include dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, confusion, nausea and fainting.
If you have these symptoms after being in an enclosed area, get fresh air immediately and seek medical attention. Be sure to tell your doctor that you may have carbon monoxide poisoning.
Before the heating season, have a professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances, and all heating and venting equipment.
Using gas space heaters safely
What common mistake do people make when installing a gas space heater – installing a used unit. Gas space heaters are a safe way to heat a space if used and maintained correctly. Always have your gas heater and venting system professionally installed and inspected according to local codes. Do not install a used space heater because you can’t be sure if it was properly maintained by the previous owners. Keep combustible materials or flammable liquids away from appliances or other sources of ignition.
Is that smell natural gas?
To make natural gas leaks easier to detect, Alliant Energy adds a harmless odorant to give it the distinctive rotten egg smell.
Additional warning signs include:
- Hearing an unusual hissing, whistling or roaring noise.
- Seeing dead grass or vegetation where the surrounding area is green, blowing dirt, and water bubbles in a puddle, river, pond or creek.
If you suspect a natural gas leak:
- Do not look for the leak or open windows.
- Immediately evacuate the building, leave the area and keep others away.
- Do not operate anything that could create a spark like electrical switches, lights, garage door openers or telephones.
- Call Alliant Energy from a remote location. If you hear blowing gas, a more serious problem, call 911 immediately.
Although rare, natural gas leaks can be dangerous and result in an explosion. Alliant Energy does not charge to investigate a possible leak.
Be aware of corrugated stainless steel tubing
If your home or business was built after 1990, or you’ve had work done to the natural gas system, it is likely that corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) was installed. The risk involved with improperly installed CSST is if lightning strikes a structure containing CSST, the lightning will travel along the structure’s natural gas piping and could cause a leak or fire.
Have a professional inspect your building or home for CSST if you cannot do it yourself. If you find CSST, Alliant Energy recommends having a licensed electrician make sure it’s bonded and grounded properly.
Keep your meter clear
Snow and ice can damage or block natural gas meters and sidewall vents for appliances, especially following a major storm. Chimneys and side vents must be clear to allow proper venting, which prevents accumulation of carbon monoxide, or equipment malfunction.
Carefully remove snow or debris using your hands or a broom. Kicking or using a shovel could cause damage. Safely remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters so dripping water does not splash and freeze on the meter or vent pipe. If you need help, contact a professional.
Did you know?
- Gas pipes should be properly maintained and never used for unintended uses, like hanging clothes.
- If you are no longer using a natural gas line, remove the gas connector and cap the line.
- Natural gas connectors, like those used on ranges, water heaters and clothes dryers must be inspected regularly and replaced as needed. Only a qualified professional should check for and replace your connectors. Certain flexible connectors manufactured between 1970 and 1980 may fail over time and need to be replaced.
Flammable liquids basics
Do not use gasoline and other flammable liquids indoors or near a gas appliance or other ignition source. Tightly seal gas in an approved container, not plastic jugs or glass containers. Do not use gas for cleaning.
When pouring flammable liquids, allow room for vapor expansion and do not fill to the top. Also be sure to store gasoline and other flammable liquids in secured cabinets and away from children. It is extremely important to explain to children the dangers of flammable liquid products.
Where’s that fuel line going?
Some homes and businesses have privately buried fuel lines that run to an unattached garage, grill or pool. Customers, not Alliant Energy, are responsible for natural gas lines after the meter. Customers must maintain, operate and know the location of buried lines.
A qualified technician should regularly inspect it for leaks. If the piping is metallic, inspect it for corrosion. Repair it if it is unsafe, or shut off the flow of gas. Locate the piping when planning to excavate nearby and dig by hand.
Keeping everyone safe
Natural disasters can occur anytime and anywhere. You can protect yourself, your family and coworkers by being prepared for such disasters. Make sure you know what to do and what not to do now, before a disaster happens, to minimize risks and damage:
- Prepare and practice a disaster plan.
- Have a professional inspect and repair any gas connections.
- Know how to turn off gas service at the meter – if instructed to do so.
After a disaster:
- Never turn gas service back on yourself, call Alliant Energy.
- Check for gas leaks when returning. Evacuate and call Alliant Energy if a leak is suspected.
- Replace any appliance that has been submerged in water.
To obtain additional information on pipeline safety, visit alliantenergy.com/pipelinesafety or call 1-800-257-3645.
Para solicitar una version en español de este folleto, llame at 1-800-257-3645 o visite alliantenergy.com/español.
Hot water shouldn’t scald
Make sure your water heater is set to a safe temperature. Do not set the temperature above 120 degrees. Always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub and never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.