Ameren, MO offers safety tips to gas customers on staying warm in winter

Ameren, MO offers safety tips to gas customers on staying warm in winter
Ameren worker with gas heating system (Source: Ameren Missouri)

MISSOURI (KFVS) - With the temps going down, furnace season is heating up. But do you know how to safely get back into the heating habit?

Ameren Missouri officials are reminding gas customers of a few safety tips before they turn up the heat.

“Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so use your senses. For your safety, a distinctive, pungent odor – similar to rotten eggs – is added so you can recognize it quickly. A customer should never smell natural gas in or around their home or business,” said Pam Harrison, director of gas operations for Ameren Missouri. “If you suspect a gas leak, leave immediately and alert Ameren Missouri after you are out of the building. Our crews will respond immediately, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and there is absolutely no charge to the customer for a legitimate concern about a gas leak.”

Here are a few important top about natural gas from Ameren:

  • You can hear and smell gas. It has that distinctive “rotten egg” odor  and you could hear a hissing or roaring sound or have an unusual area of dead vegetation, blowing dirt or bubbling water that can all indicate a gas leak.
  • If you have to evacuate, take your pets and do not use light switches, cell phones, garage door openers or any electrical device that could generate a spark.
  • Once you are safe, call Ameren Missouri at 1.800.552.7583 to report the suspected leak. The company responds to gas leak calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week – free of charge.
  • When  someone calls Ameren Missouri Customer Care to report a gas leak, their  call is escalated and an Ameren first responder is immediately  dispatched to the area. Upon arrival to the premise, the first responder  will perform a leak investigation to determine if a leak exists and the  appropriate remedial action. 
  • In some instances when a leak is confirmed, service must be shut off until a qualified HVAC contractor can make repairs. 

Harrison also offered these tips to keep gas appliances operating safely:

  • Have  a qualified heating contractor inspect your furnace annually. 
  • Check the flue to make sure it is clean and open. Any fuel that does not burn completely can create harmful levels of carbon monoxide. 
  • Keep forced-air furnace filters clean. 
  • Avoid using or storing these products near the furnace: paint stripper, fabric or water softener, bleach, adhesives, or salt for melting ice. The chlorine or fluorine in these items can lead to furnace corrosion.
  • Keep your heat registers and cold-air returns clean so the air can flow properly. Also, arrange your furniture and drapes so they don’t block  the air flow.
  • Have your gas fireplace routinely serviced by a professional to ensure proper working order.
  • In the event of a power outage, do not use natural gas stove burners or the oven to heat your home.

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