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Home heating safety important as flooding approaches

Throughout Winter Storm Knife, Western New York residents have been urged to monitor their home utilities. With the snowfall finally over, rising temperatures and rain are expected to give way to flooding, and other necessary precautions. WBFO’s Avery Schneider spoke with National Fuel to find out what residents need to do…

It’s just as important going forward that people keep their home heating vents clear of snow, ice and debris. National Fuel Spokesperson, Karen Merkel says once that’s taken care of, this is rule number one for customers…

“They should not attempt to re-light the pilot lights on their home heating equipment which would be furnaces, hot water tanks,” Merkel said.

Merkel says flood water could damage the safe operation of the equipment, so it needs to be inspected by a qualified contractor. Once that’s taken care of, she says customers should contact National Fuel, and they will test and restore service at no charge. Customers are also instructed not to turn on or off any gas valves.  If they smell a leak - that’s the odor of rotten eggs - Merkel has this instruction…

“Open a window for ventilation, leave the premise, and then call us at our emergency number, 1-800-444-3130,” said Merkel.

Last but not least, keep gas meters clear. In order for them to function, they, too, have to ventilate; so Merkel says clearing the meters should be done carefully, with a broom or snow brush to avoid damage.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.