December 15, 2004
PITTSBURGH – Dominion is encouraging and reminding customers to have their furnaces inspected to ensure safety and maximum efficiency.
An annual inspection by a qualified, reputable heating contractor can help to ensure that the natural gas furnace will provide comfortable, reliable natural gas heat when customers need it most, at the same time preventing any potential problems such as carbon monoxide.
During a furnace check, the contractor should make a visual inspection of all vents, heat exchangers and motors. A thorough furnace inspection should include:
- Lubricating the blower bearings and blower motor as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Visually inspecting all vents, the heat exchanger and filters.
- Checking the pilot light. (Most new furnaces feature pilot-less ignition).
- Clearing the furnace area of any dust or combustible materials.
- Cleaning dust from the blower compartment.
- Testing the thermostat to be sure the heating system works as it should.
- Checking the safety components on the heating equipment, such as limit controls and pilot safety.
- Checking the flue to make sure it is clean and open. Any fuel that does not burn completely can create harmful levels of carbon monoxide. The gas can collect in a home if a fuel-burning appliance is not working or venting properly.
A carbon monoxide (CO) detector installed near sleeping areas can offer an extra measure of safety but they should not be used as a substitute for an annual furnace inspection.
Low and No-Cost Conservation Tips
Natural gas still provides the greatest value for the home energy dollar. To help ensure customers get the most value, Dominion offers these low cost and no-cost conservation tips:
- Inspect and tune up the heating system on a annual basis to maintain efficiency and safety.
- Change furnace filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Caulk and weather strip windows and add door sweeps beneath doors for added insulation. A rolled-up throw rug or bath towel can be used to block off drafts at the bottom of doors.
- Avoid blocking radiators, heat registers and cold air returns.
- Install storm window and doors: they can reduce heat loss in these areas by 50 percent.
- Reduce cooking time and energy by covering pots, pans and casserole dishes.
- Don’t peek. Every time the oven door opens, consumers pay a penalty of 25 degrees from lost heat.
- If the gas flame on a cook top is visible on the sides of the pan, lower the setting to conserve fuel.
- Keep faucets turned off tightly and fix leaky faucets promptly. A leak of one drop per second wastes more than 250 gallons of water a month and the energy used to heat it.
- Cut shower times to three minutes.
- Make use of the dryer’s leftover heat by drying full loads of clothes back to back and cleaning the lint screen after each load for the quickest drying time.
Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers of energy with an energy portfolio of about 25,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion also serves about 5 million retail energy customers in nine states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s Web site at www.dom.com.
# # #