SDG&E says now is the time for furnace maintenance

Media Contact:
April Bolduc

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, Oct. 10, 2006 - With the arrival of fall, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is advising customers to inspect their home-heating appliances and perform any needed maintenance rather than waiting for the first major cold snap.

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

        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 lower than last year.  Since home heating accounts for more than half of a customer’s winter monthly gas consumption, by ensuring gas appliances are operating efficiently and safely, customers can also help reduce winter gas costs, Mueller said.

        SDG&E 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 a licensed heating contractor or plumber or SDG&E.
        • 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 SDG&E and the condition corrected to ensure safety.

        For more information on furnace safety, please visit SDG&E¡¦s Web site at

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 825,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.