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Utility customers urged to follow safety tips for home heating systems

National Fuel

Western New Yorkers have plenty of experience coping with winter storms. But one risk that can be overlooked as we deal with snow-clogged sidewalks and icy roads involves heating our homes.

Experts encourage utility customers to pay close attention to furnaces, vents and gas meters during the winter season.

Heavy snowfalls and extreme temperatures can put stress on home heating systems, said Emily Ciraolo, assistant director of corporate communications at National Fuel. She referred to some of the problems that occurred three years during the infamous ‘Snowvember storm.

“A lot of people experienced blocked heating vents and their furnaces shut off. This can also lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide gas inside of the residence.”

Carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas, has been branded by the “silent killer.”

“Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include fatigue, coughing, headache, irregular breathing, dizziness,” Ciralo told WBFO. “You might experience paleness, nausea,  and cherry- red lips and ears.”

National Fuel encourages people to have at least one properly-installed carbon monoxide detector in a home.

The utility also encourages utility customers to take other safety precautions during the winter months.

“Make sure your [gas] meter is always cleared,” Ciraolo said. “When you’re shoveling or snow blowing or plowing make sure maybe you have sticks around the meter letting the person know  who’s doing it that that’s where you gas meter is.”

If gas meter becomes encased in ice, do not attempt to break or melt the ice. Instead, call National Fuel at 1-800-365-3234.

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