Winter has officially begun! People are staying inside to escape the cold, and furnaces, heaters and other fuel-burning appliances are running more often.

Here are SaskEnergy’s top three natural gas safety tips to keep you and your family safe from Old Man Winter.

1. Sometimes you just need to vent: Keep outdoor vent openings free of frost, ice, and snow.

Saskatchewan winters can be windy, causing snow and ice to build up in nooks and crannies. Your home’s exterior appliance vents are no exception.

Blocked vents can cause appliances to malfunction, but they can also have much more deadly consequences.

When these external openings are obstructed, it can cause a dangerous buildup of the silent killer—carbon monoxide.

Odourless, colourless, and tasteless, carbon monoxide can go undetected until it’s too late. Low exposure can cause flu-like symptoms. Continued exposure can lead to unconsciousness, loss of muscle control, brain damage or even death.

Any appliance that burns fuel can cause carbon monoxide to build up—including furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters and gas stoves. To avoid tragedy, ensure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home and that vents are clear.

2. Break the ice: Keep your meter clear of snow and ice.

Once the snow starts to fly, that means months of scraping vehicle windows and shovelling driveways. But have you ever thought about keeping ice and snow off and away from your gas meter?

Take caution when removing snow and ice from meters. Don’t use shovels or other tools, never hit or kick your meter and keep hot water or chemical de-icers away. These methods could damage your meter.

Avoid using a snowblower around your meter and maintain a clear path for accurate meter readings and emergency situations.

If your meter is covered in snow, safely remove it using a soft-bristle brush or broom. You can also gently sweep it away by hand. 

By following these simple steps, you can help ensure your natural gas equipment runs smoothly when you and your family need it most.

3. The heat is on: Have your furnace inspected every year.

Don’t wait until there’s an issue to get your furnace checked—schedule an annual inspection by a qualified professional. Annual furnace maintenance helps keep your home cozy and safe all winter long and can save you money on your heating bill.

You can book a Home Heating Tune-Up with a qualified SaskEnergy Network Member online on SaskEnergy’s website. As a bonus, customers who book a Home Heating Tune-Up will receive a free carbon monoxide alarm at their appointment.

Finally, don’t forget to change your furnace filter every couple of months.

Visit saskenergy.com for more safety and energy-saving tips.

-Submitted by SaskEnergy