May 2009
Test Your Natural Gas Smarts

True or False:

You don't need to call before you dig if you're just planting a few trees.
FALSE. Before you begin any digging or excavating project, it is important that you make a toll-free call to 8-1-1 to get underground utility lines marked. The law requires that you notify utilities at least 48 hours prior to digging (excluding weekends, holidays and the day you call). However, it's best to call about a week before you wish to begin a project.

If there is CO present in your home, you will be able to smell it or taste it.
FALSE. CO is called the "silent killer" because it is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas. The only way to know if it could be a danger to you is to have a UL listed CO detector in your home. They are designed to sound an alarm before the CO level is high enough to present a hazard.

You should never use your gas oven or range to heat your home.
TRUE. Leaving an oven on and open can pose a risk for burns, as well as other potential problems.

You don't need a CO detector in your house if you don't have gas heat.
FALSE. CO can come from several gas appliances, including dryers, ranges, water heaters and furnaces. It can also come from clogged chimney flues, or from leaving your vehicle running in an attached garage. If there is any potential for CO poisoning in your home, you should have a CO detector.

Furnaces should be inspected twice a year.
TRUE. Have a licensed contractor inspect your furnace to ensure that it is functioning efficiently and safely.

Insulating a gas water heater is the same as insulating an electric one.
FALSE. Keep the water heater jacket away from the flue and the drain. Do not insulate the top of a gas water heater, as insulation is combustible, and keep pipe insulation at least six inches away from the flue.

Yellow or orange gas flames can be a sign of a problem.
TRUE. Flames should be blue (with the exception of some gas logs). If flames appear yellow or orange, have a licensed contractor look at the appliance.

If a grease fire occurs in your kitchen, you should use water to extinguish the flame.
FALSE. Water will only make a grease fire worse. Cover the pan with a lid if you can do so safely or douse the area with baking soda. Always keep your gas range clean to avoid buildup, which can cause grease fires.

If you smell gas, you should not turn on any appliances.
TRUE. If you smell gas or believe that you may have a gas leak, do not turn on any appliances or anything that could cause a spark, like a light. Doing so is extremely dangerous. Instead, get out of the house and call the Atlanta Gas Light hotline at 770/907-4231 (outside metro Atlanta dial 877/427-4321) or call 911.