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Appliance safety

Ron Herrington, BC Safety Authority gas safety officer, and FortisBC Safety Partners Program member

You wouldn’t expect to be able to drive your car without having the oil changed on a regular basis. The same goes for your natural gas appliances. Regular cleaning and annual servicing will help keep them safe and well-maintained, providing you with years of comfort. Just ask Ron Herrington, safety officer with the BC Safety Authority and FortisBC Safety Partners Program member. In his 20-plus years of inspecting natural gas appliance installations, Ron’s seen his share of potential hazards. Herrington says, “If you want your appliances to last, have them installed and regularly maintained by a professional.”

Find a contractor

Use the FortisBC Trade Ally Network directory to find a licensed gas contractor in your community. When selecting a contractor, make sure personnel are certified gas fitters and experienced at inspecting all types of gas appliances for safe operation. Get more tips for choosing a contractor.

Safety tips

As well as annual maintenance servicing performed by a natural gas contractor, you can play a role in keeping your natural gas appliances and the ancillary ventilation and air supply piping and gas line well-maintained and safe. Here are some helpful tips to follow:

  • Keep the appliances owners’ manuals. They are the best source of information on maintenance and operation of your natural gas appliances.
  • Make sure the areas around your natural gas appliances and vent pipes are kept clear of combustible materials like laundry, cardboard boxes, paper, paints, solvents and propane cylinders.
  • Don’t store lawnmowers, motorcycles and other gasoline-powered equipment or vehicles indoors or near natural gas appliances.
  • Natural gas appliances have open flames and can be a source of ignition, so don’t use combustible products such as solvents and glues in the area.
  • Make sure there’s an adequate supply of air to your natural gas appliances. This means ensuring the fresh air pipe to your furnace, boiler or water heater is not blocked. Also, if you plan to enclose your water heater or furnace, check with a licensed gas contractor first.
  • Check and, if necessary, change your furnace filter every three to six months.
  • Know where to find the shut-off valve for each appliance and how to use it. The gas is "off" when the valve handle is at a right angle to the gas pipe.
  • Have your gas contractor inspect your buried gas piping periodically to check for corrosion and repair if necessary. This can be done during appliance servicing.

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Maintaining heating systems

Get more tips for keeping your natural gas furnace or fireplace working safely and efficiently.