The Gas Company says now is the time for furnace maintenance

Media Contact:
Denise King

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066


        LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10, 2006 - 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 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 The Gas Company.  "If customers think their heating appliances are not functioning properly, they should call a licensed heating contractor or 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 lower than last year.  However, 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 your appliances are operating safely - is to get your gas appliances serviced, Mueller 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 a licensed heating contractor or plumber or The Gas Company.
           • 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

        The Gas Company is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 19.8 million consumers through 5.6 million meters.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in most of central and Southern California.  The Gas Company strives to provide exceptional customer service to enhance the quality of life in the community.  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.