What's shiny, new and perfect for a middle school classroom?

Say hello to the brand-new alliantenergykids.com

The new website offers awesome energy resources for teachers and middle school students – all designed to meet core standards:

  • Information on renewable energy and the latest and greatest in energy innovations
  • Activities and experiments demonstrating energy concepts
  • Animated glossary of energy terms
  • “Ask the expert” articles with kid-friendly answers to important energy questions
  • Plus, best of all – five teaching modules to fill a whole unit on energy, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, home conservation and safety 

Find it all at alliantenergykids.com


Using natural gas appliances

As with any type of energy, the key to safety is common sense, but there are a few special rules to keep in mind with natural gas.

  • Keep gasoline, flammable liquids, and other combustible materials away from appliances and other sources of ignition. 
  • Gas pipes should be properly maintained and never used for unintended purposes like hanging clothes.
  • After disconnecting gas appliances, remove the connector and cap the lines.

Don’t set the water heater thermostat above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub. Never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.

Don’t rely on your nose alone: Get a natural gas detector

Important natural gas odorant information

Although Alliant Energy adds a distinctive odor to natural gas as a safety precaution to assist in the detection of leaks, your sense of smell might not be enough to detect a leak.

  • Strong smells in the area, like cooking or chemical odors, can mask the smell of natural gas.
  • Prolonged exposure to the same smell can desensitize you to it (called olfactory fatigue).
  • Certain conditions in the soil or pipes can cause the natural gas odor to fade or be stripped out of the gas, so that it is not readily detectable.

Your safety is important to us. We recommend homes and business have natural gas detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for operation, placement and maintenance. In addition, before the heating season, we recommend you have a professional inspect your fuel-burning appliances and all heating and venting equipment.

Using space heaters safely 

Gas space heaters are a safe way to heat an area, if used and maintained correctly. Do not install a used space heater.

Always have your gas appliances, heating and venting system professionally installed. This ensures that all connections are secure, all vent pipes and flues are clean and undamaged, and that the appliance is adjusted properly and inspected according to local codes.

Know what kind of gas piping you have in your home or building

If your home or business was built after 1990, or you’ve had work done to your natural gas system, corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) may have been installed. 

If lightning strikes a structure containing CSST, there is a risk it could travel along the structure’s natural gas piping system and cause a leak or, in some cases, a fire. 

If you can’t do it yourself, have a professional inspect your building or home. If you find CSST, Alliant Energy recommends having a licensed electrician make sure it’s bonded and grounded properly. 

Suspect a gas leak?

What to do:

  • Make sure gas appliances are turned all the way off.
  • Turn off and abandon machinery.
  • Leave the area immediately, evacuating everyone from the home or building.
  • Call 1-800-ALLIANT from a remote location.
  • If you hear blowing gas, which is a more serious issue, evacuate everyone to a remote location and call 911.

What not to do:

  • Don’t try to find, repair or extinguish a burning leak.
  • Don’t move appliances or machinery.
  • Don’t use anything that might create a spark such as a cell phone, light switch or garage door opener. These can ignite gases or vapors.

Although rare, natural gas leaks can be dangerous and result in an explosion.

How to detect a gas leak

Because natural gas is colorless and has no scent, a strong odorant that smells like rotten eggs is added to help you detect a possible gas leak.

Here are three ways you can detect a leak:

  1. Smell the odor of rotten eggs. If you don’t know the scent, contact us for a free scratch-and-sniff card.
  2. Hear hissing or whistling sounds near a gas appliance, meter or pipeline.
  3. See blowing dirt, discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area or bubbling water in a puddle, river or creek.

Keep your meters clear

To operate efficiently, natural gas equipment requires air for safe combustion and venting of household appliances. Do not place these vents directly above your gas meter. Snow and ice can damage or block natural gas meters and exhaust vents for appliances, especially after a major storm. Chimneys and vents on the roof or side of a building must be clear to allow proper venting, which prevents equipment malfunction or accumulation of carbon monoxide.

Post-storm precautions:

  • 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. 
  • Don’t pile snow on or near the meter when shoveling or using a snow blower.

Sewer plugged? It might not be a simple clog

Sewer lines can get damaged when new power lines or natural gas pipes are installed underground. Sometimes the two lines can intersect. This is call a cross bore.  
The problem can go undetected for years. You could be injured trying to clear a clog from a cross bore. 

If a cross bore is discovered: 

  • Do not operate any equipment. 
  • Evacuate yourself and others.
  • Call 911 and the natural gas company from a remote location. 
  • Eliminate any ignition source.