Gas Equipment and Appliance Safety
Gas equipment and appliances can pose safety risks when they malfunction or are used improperly. Follow these tips for proper maintenance.
Annual maintenance is the best way to ensure you will have power when you need it. If you bought a generator several years ago and have not used it since it may not work in an emergency. Don’t wait until a storm hits to find that out. More tips are available below and in our Operating Generators for Standby Power brochure.
- If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure always to operate it outdoors.
- In addition to keeping these devices outdoors, keep them away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- Before operating generators, disconnect from Rhode Island Energy’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
- Avoid fire or explosion by refueling the generator in a well-ventilated area, and avoid spilling fuel on hot engine parts.
- Change the oil periodically or after several hours of operation.
- To prevent clogs, drain the fuel completely or treat it with a fuel stabilizer if the engine is going to be idle for an extended period of time.
- Periodically start the generator to make sure that the unit starts easily and that all components are working
- Check that your electrical cords are clean, neatly coiled, and regularly inspected for damaged insulation and connectors.
- Store surplus gasoline in approved containers. Keep in mind that a generator that is capable of supplying the electrical needs of a household can consume up to 25 gallons of fuel in a 24-hour period.
- Consult a professional before purchasing a generator. A licensed electrician can determine your home’s power requirements, address safety concerns, and perform installations for you.
Although we’ve automated the meter reading process for most of our customers, it’s still important to keep your meters unobstructed.
- Keep your meter’s valve and vent clear of dirt, debris, ice, and snow. Use a broom to brush any snow or icicles off without damaging the pipes or valves.
- Do not shovel snow up against the meter or vent pipe.
- Remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters to ensure that dripping water does not splash and freeze on the meter or vent pipe.
- Mark the location of natural gas equipment for snow plow operators to avoid contact with meters, or outside gas risers, and to warn against piling snow around vents mounted on the outside of buildings.
- Be cautious with the placement of landscaping and outdoor structures. During an emergency, having access to your meter can help significantly.
- Be sure your meter is not touching the wall of the building and has at least six inches of clearance below.
Keep obstructions away from indoor meters and do not hang anything on your gas pipes. Having easy access to your meter is important during an emergency.
Gas space heaters are a safe way to produce heat if they are used properly, installed by a qualified professional, and maintained well. Be sure to do the following:
- Have your gas heater and venting system professionally installed and inspected according to local codes.
- Do not reinstall used space heaters.
- Keep gasoline and other flammable liquids and combustible materials away from appliances and other ignition sources.
- Make sure space heaters are in good condition, have proper ventilation, and are used in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from the heat source. NEVER drape clothes over a space heater to dry.
- Always keep an eye on heating equipment. Never leave children or pets alone in the room where a space heater is running. Turn it off when you are unable to closely monitor it.
- Don’t overload electrical circuits.
- Make sure you have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector on every home floor. Check and change batteries often.
- Heaters are intended to sit on the floor, not on tables, stands, or shelving. Place on a hard, level, non-flammable surface and away from water.
- Purchase a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
- Plug the heater directly into a wall outlet. Never use extension cords or power strips.
- Make sure your water heater is set to a safe temperature.
- Check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub; never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.
- Be sure to have your water heater inspected by a plumbing or heating/cooling contractor.
Connectors should be inspected periodically by a qualified professional and replaced as needed. Keep the following in mind:
- Hard pipe connectors should be used on all stationary appliances (house heating boilers/furnaces and water heaters).
- Flexible gas pipe connectors should be used only on moveable appliances (ranges and dryers).
- No more than one flexible connector should be used per appliance. Multiple flexible connectors should never be piped together.
- No connector should exceed six feet (1829 mm) in length. Connectors should also never be concealed within, or extended through, walls, floors, partitions, ceilings, or appliance housings.
- Be sure to have a licensed professional install an AGA/CSA-approved flex pipe connection (this approval should be indicated on the ring of the connector) to the manufacturer’s standards and per the demand for the appliance.
- Uncoated brass connectors are dangerous and unacceptable. If your appliance is more than 20 years old, there is a good chance that it has an uncoated brass connector. The only safe way to tell is to have a qualified contractor check it and replace any uncoated brass connectors.
- After disconnecting gas appliances, gas connectors should always be removed and the fuel line must be plugged and capped.
We recommend installing detectors to keep you safe. It's important to familiarize yourself with the different types of detectors available. Smoke alarms sense smoke, which indicates a fire. Carbon monoxide detectors sound when CO is present. Residential methane detectors (RMD) alert you of possible gas leaks by sounding when methane is in the air. In all cases, we recommend following the manufacturer's instructions for installation and proper placement.