With peak heating season upon us, Ameren Illinois is offering an important reminder when it comes to natural gas safety both at home and in the workplace.
We rely on natural gas to cook our food, heat our water, heat our homes and businesses and dry our clothes. Ameren Illinois delivers that safe and reliable natural gas to 816,000 residential and business customers via 18,300 miles of transmission/distribution pipeline. The company is investing in the natural gas system (e.g. replacing vintage steel pipes) across its 43,700 square-mile service territory but for a wide variety of reasons, gas leaks can occur. The most common causes, include: old brass stove connectors, piping connections and inadvertent contact with natural gas pipelines during outdoor excavating projects.
If you ever catch the rotten egg smell at home, at work or around town, evacuate the premises immediately and call Ameren Illinois at 800.755.5000. Crews will respond to your residence or place of business within the hour, but average response time is about 22 minutes.
“Even if you aren’t certain there is actually a leak, we prefer that you err on the side of caution and give us a call,” said Gina Meehan-Taylor, Public Awareness Supervisor for Ameren Illinois. “There is no charge for this service. Our crews are happy to respond 24/7/365 to ensure everything is safe.”
In an effort to continue generating awareness and promoting safety, Ameren Illinois offers the following seven natural gas safety tips:
- Make it a point to have the natural gas furnace and appliances inspected annually by a qualified contractor. If purchasing new natural gas appliances, ensure they are high quality and ENERGY STAR certified.
- Never use an oven or stove range for heating purposes.
- Avoid storing flammable products such as paint stripper, fabric softener or salt bags in close proximity to natural gas appliances.
- Always call 8-1-1 (J.U.L.I.E) before conducting any projects that require digging. This will help prevent underground facility damage and potentially dangerous situations.
- Don’t ignore the rotten egg smell. Natural gas is odorless and colorless in its purest form, but Ameren Illinois adds an odorant, mercaptan, to create that distinctive scent.
- If you smell gas, never take any action that could generate a spark on the way out of the building. This includes flipping light switches, plugging and unplugging or using electronics. In fact, don’t even call Ameren Illinois until you are clear of your home or workplace. Sparks may cause natural gas to ignite if in the range of 5-15 percent. You also want to avoid opening windows in an effort to vent the area.
- Never try and address a potential gas leak on your own. Always call Ameren Illinois at 800.755.5000.