Natural gas is efficient and versatile, and used to heat more homes nationwide than all other heating fuels combined. Although accidents with natural gas are rare, Central Hudson urges you to learn all you can about safety guidelines when using natural gas.
If You Smell Natural Gas ...
Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so an odorant called mercaptan, which has a rotten egg smell, is added for easier detection in the event of a gas leak.
If you suspect a natural gas leak, STOP. GO. LET US KNOW.
- STOP what you are doing. Do not light or use a match. Don’t turn lights on or off or use a flashlight, cell phone or telephone. Don’t turn on any other appliance or electric/electronic device and please do not flush or run water.
- GO outside immediately and
- LET US KNOW by calling the gas odor hotline at 800-942-8274. Or, call 9-1-1. A representative will come to your location and check for potential leaks or faulty appliances.
This 800 number can only be used to report gas leaks.
Remember: STOP. GO. LET US KNOW.
General Natural Gas Safety Tips ...
Natural gas is delivered to homes and businesses through a network of underground pipes and lines. The pipes delivering natural gas from its source to large regions are called transmission lines, and often run along rights-of-way through rural and suburban areas. Branches off these transmission lines terminate at natural gas gate stations, where the pressure is reduced and the gas is diverted into local distribution mains. These mains usually run along streets and roadways, providing gas service to neighborhoods and commercial districts. Service lines from these mains bring natural gas to individual homes and businesses. A gas meter separates the service line from the home, and the natural gas is distributed to the individual appliances by indoor piping. Be sure your piping has been tested and meets all local and utility codes. Learn more about Central Hudson's natural gas pipeline safety program below, and/or visit the Northeast Gas Association or see our brochure, Natural Gas Pipeline Safety - What You Need to Know.
Remember that snow and ice must be cleared from exhaust and combustion air vents and chimneys to prevent a potentially lethal buildup of carbon monoxide. Also, for your safety, be sure to clear snow and ice from natural gas meters, regulators and other natural gas equipment. Read this advisory from the Northeast Gas Association for additional safety reminders about clearing snow and ice.
Natural gas is is lighter than air, and when outdoors can dissipate quickly. However, when indoors, escaping natural gas can collect in an area within the home and create a hazard.
Natural gas requires a specific amount of oxygen in order to burn – and is combustible only when there is 5 to 15 percent ratio of natural gas to air (more or less air results in no combustion).
Natural gas also has a higher combustion temperature than most fuels. When adjusted properly, natural gas appliances produce flames which are mostly blue, indicating that the fuel is burning efficiently and has the correct fuel-to-air ratio.
- Planning an addition or pool? Installing a fence or new mailbox? Before digging or excavating, call the Dig Safely New York hotline at 1-800-962-7962, or dial 811, at least two but no more than 10 full working days in advance, so the location of all nearby utility services – gas, electric, and communications lines – can be made.
- Buried natural gas lines require inspection, maintenance, and repair. In New York State, the gas utility is also responsible for performing a leak survey for all known buried gas lines past the meter and owned by the customer. If you have buried gas lines on your property beyond the meter, it is your responsibility to let Central Hudson Gas & Electric know that these lines exist. If leaks are discovered on these lines, it is your responsibility to have them repaired.
- Teach children never to light or play with natural gas appliances, and to stay away from natural gas meters. Also, children should not pull or hang on natural gas piping (nor should adults hang anything on these pipes).
- Don't use a gas oven or range for space heating or for any other purpose than that for which it was designed.
- For safety and for efficiency, gas appliances, such as kitchen stoves and gas fireplaces, should be inspected and cleanedperiodically, and their gas connections should be inspected as well.
- Keep paints, thinners, gasoline, oils, aerosol sprays, boxes, papers and other flammable or combustible materials away from natural gas appliances, including water heaters, furnaces/boilers and other natural gas appliances. Vapors from flammable liquids are typically heavier than air, and can ignite when exposed to an open flame – such as pilot lights or operating heating appliances. Keep flammable solvents and liquids in fireproof cabinets, even if you do not consider them to be in a location near your natural gas appliance.
- Do not refuel lawnmowers or other power tools with gasoline, and do not clean brushes or tools with solvents, when near a heating appliance or any source of flame. Spills can spread and vapors can ignite quickly.
- When purchasing natural gas appliances, look for the seal of a national testing agency, such as the American Gas Association (AGA) or the Underwriters' Laboratory (UL).
- When moving appliances - particularly natural gas - use safety and common sense to guard against disruption of the connection to the gas supply line.
- When moving gas appliances for any reason, be sure that the natural gas connection has been properly shut off, and capped or disconnected.
- Prevent scalding by checking the temperature setting on water heaters and making an adjustment if set too high. A temperature setting of 120-125° F is usually recommended. Scalding hot water can cause harm, especially to infants and the elderly.
- Recognize that the burning of any fuel can create carbon monoxide. Heating systems and chimney flues should be serviced by professionals to ensure their safe and proper operation, and as an added measure, homeowners should install carbon monoxide detectors, which are required by New York State in newly constructed dwellings or existing buildings offered for sale.
Notice About Gas Appliances with Flexible Brass Connector Tubes
Gas connectors are corrugated metal tubes used to connect gas appliances in your home to fuel gas supply pipes. Some older brass connectors have a serious flaw in how their tubing was joined to their end pieces. Over time, the end pieces can separate from the tubing, and cause a serious gas leak, explosion, or fire. To our knowledge, these dangerous uncoated brass connectors have not been made for more than 20 years, but many of them are still in use. The older these connectors get the greater the possibility of failure.
Although not all uncoated connectors have this flaw, it is very difficult to tell which ones do. Therefore, any uncoated brass connector should be replaced immediately with a new stainless steel connector. Connectors can wear out from too much moving, bending or corrosion. Connectors should always be replaced whenever the appliance is replaced or moved from its location.
Moving the appliance, even slightly, whether to clean behind it or to inspect its gas connector can cause the complete failure of one of these older weakened connectors.
Code requires that a new gas appliance connector must be used for a new appliance, when moving an appliance to a new location, or as a result of damage. Again, we highly recommend that you immediately replace any uncoated brass connectors with a quality stainless steel or brand new, coated connector.
Central Hudson’s Gas Transmission Pipeline Integrity Management Plan was developed by experts from both within Central Hudson and outside industry organizations, and meets or exceeds all federal requirements. The goal of our plan is to continuously improve pipeline safety through a proactive program that includes regular inspections and maintenance of pipelines using the best technology available, and communications with our customers and local officials.
Central Hudson’s Plan is multifaceted, and includes:
- Ongoing inspections, periodic reassessments, and active participation in statewide and regional prevention programs;
- Use of the latest testing techniques, gas pipelines and corrosion prevention systems are continually inspected and regularly monitored;
- Aerial inspections of natural gas transmission line rights-of-way each quarter;
- Regular communications with local public officials and emergency responders to ensure that established safety procedures are updated and followed; and
- Periodic communications with our natural gas customers to keep them educated and informed on gas safety.
We know that the best safety plan begins with preparation, prevention and communication. We work closely with local municipalities, and offer training to emergency responders; and communications plans have been developed to so that Central Hudson and local officials can respond quickly and effectively.
Remember, there are several ways we can all contribute to pipeline safety:
- Call before you dig – New York state law requires excavators and contractors to notify Dig Safely New York by dialing 811 or 1-800-962-7962 two to 10 days before work begins on public or private property so that the location of underground facilities can be marked.
- Be familiar with pipeline locations – Since natural gas lines are underground, they are sometimes identified with markers to indicate their locations. However, markers are not used in all locations, so be sure to have lines marked before performing any excavation.
- Be knowledgeable on how to respond to a natural gas emergency – Natural gas has an odorant added so it can be easily detected in the event of a leak (the distinctive smell is similar to rotten eggs). If there is a natural gas smell, or if a white cloud, hissing sound or bubbles near water is noticed, leave the area immediately. Do no turn lights or appliances off or on, nor attempt to locate the leak. Find a remote and safe location, and call Central Hudson at (800) 942-8274. This is a dedicated line that should only be called to report gas odors. Or, you can call 9-1-1. It is important that the call is made; do not assume that someone else will report the condition.
See our brochure Natural Gas Pipeline Safety - What You Need to Know.
A note about natural gas pipeline security: The natural gas industry works very closely with governmental security agencies, and stays abreast of new security methods and technologies to ensure the highest standards. Central Hudson also evaluates its security procedures on a regular basis, and continually enhances security programs as necessary and appropriate.
Working together, we can keep our communities safe.
Safety is our first priority, and it is important that utility personnel be provided access to meters when necessary. Inspections of natural gas meters are conducted periodically for your safety and the safety of the general public, so it is important that Central Hudson be provided access to the metering equipment in your home. Regulations mandate a fine of $100 if access is not provided in a timely manner.