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Yankee Gas Reminds Customers to Be Safe With Your Natural Gas Furnace During an Electric Power Outage

MEDIA CONTACT: Yankee Gas Communications, Yankee Gas
Office: 860-665-5670
After Hours: 800-789-2290

BERLIN, Conn. - November 02, 2011 - 

Yankee Gas puts safety first.  The company advises customers to use extreme caution in heating their homes during the current power outages caused by this unprecedented October snow storm.  

Most natural gas central heating system boilers and furnaces use electricity to power their ancillary systems (such as their circulator pump) and will not operate during an electric outage. Please do not bypass any devices on your natural gas furnace or boiler or try to "rig" it during an outage -- several potentially unsafe and even life threatening conditions can be created from improper use.

You may choose to connect a portable generator to get electricity flowing to run your natural gas furnace -- but it must be wired properly.  Have an electrician or a qualified heating contractor verify the wiring.  

In addition, if a generator is installed incorrectly to a home's wiring, it can cause power to "backfeed," or flow back into the power lines, creating a dangerous situation for the public and for electric company line crews who may be working nearby.  To avoid this situation, have a qualified electrician connect the generator with a transfer switch, so that it is not connected directly to your home’s wiring.  

To avoid the accumulation of deadly carbon monoxide, only use a generator outdoors.  Never use a generator indoors, in an attached garage, a basement, or a crawl space. Avoid using a generator in a partially enclosed inhabited space, even if it is ventilated; opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up.  If placing it outdoors, make sure the generator is far from a home's doors, windows and vents.

If you use any fuel-burning device in your home, be sure to have an operating battery-powered carbon monoxide alarm to alert you to any dangerous situation.  If the alarm sounds, evacuate the building immediately.  After an alarm has indicated a problem, do not use the fuel-burning device until it is checked by a licensed technician.

This storm has certainly caused inconvenience and disruption to daily lives.  Please do not make the situation worse by creating any unsafe conditions with your natural gas furnace or generator.

Yankee Gas is Connecticut's largest natural gas distribution company, delivering clean, efficient, safe and reliable natural gas to more than 205,000 customers in 71 cities and towns. Yankee Gas is a Northeast Utilities company (NYSE: NU). For more information, please visit www.yankeegas.com.

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