October 22, 2008

Before Chilly Nights Set in, The Gas Company Says Now Is the Time to Check the Furnace

With the arrival of fall, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is advising customers to inspect their home-heating appliances and perform any needed maintenance rather than wait for the first major cold front.

"Now is the time to perform maintenance on home-heating appliances to ensure safe operation," said Richard Morrow, vice president of customer service at The Gas Company. "If customers think their heating appliances are not functioning properly, they should call a licensed heating contractor, plumber or The Gas Company."

Failure to perform annual maintenance on gas appliances may result in exposure to carbon monoxide, which can cause nausea, drowsiness, flu-like symptoms, and even death.

This winter's home-heating bills are expected to be about the same as last year, or slightly lower. Since home heating typically accounts for more than half of the monthly winter gas bill, the best way to keep winter gas bills lower -- and ensure appliances are operating safely -- is to get gas appliances serviced, Morrow said.

The Gas Company offers customers the following tips to ensure the safe and efficient operation of their natural gas furnace:

 --  Have gas furnaces checked at least once a year by The Gas Company, a     licensed heating contractor or plumber. --  Vacuum and clean regularly around the furnace, particularly around the     burner compartment to prevent a build-up of dust and lint. --  Never store items in, on or around the appliance that can obstruct     airflow. --  Most forced-air units have a filter that cleans the air before heating     and circulating it throughout the home.  The filter should be checked     monthly for lint build-up during periods of furnace use and cleaned or     replaced, if necessary. --  When installing a new or cleaned filter, be sure to re-install the     front panel door of the furnace properly so it fits snugly.  Never operate     the furnace without the front-panel door properly in place because doing so     may create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. --  Check the appearance of the flame.  If the flame is yellow, large and     unsteady, the furnace needs to be inspected immediately by a licensed     heating contractor or plumber or The Gas Company and the condition     corrected to ensure safety.      

For more information on furnace safety, please visit The Gas Company's Web site at www.socalgas.com.

Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.1 million consumers through 5.6 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. To learn more, go to www.socalgas.com.

 Contact: Raul Alberto Gordillo The Gas Company (877) 866-2066 www.socalgas.com

SOURCE: Southern California Gas Company