SoCalGas Offers Safety Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The recent cold weather in Southern California has caused people to turn up their furnaces and, for some, be exposed to potential carbon monoxide poisoning. Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is urging customers to ensure home heating equipment is operating safely by having their appliances checked by a licensed, qualified professional.

"While carbon monoxide poisoning incidents are rare, we usually see a rise in the number of occurrences when the weather gets really cold," said Bret Lane, vice president of field services for SoCalGas. "Often, the cause of carbon monoxide in a home is due to a faulty furnace, so we're urging customers to be safe and have their furnaces inspected if they have not yet done so."

The utility also warns against using ovens, ranges or outdoor barbecues for home heating. These appliances are not designed for such use and pose a severe and potentially fatal risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if used for space heating.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is formed when carbon-based fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal or wood, are burned with inadequate amounts of oxygen, creating a condition known as incomplete combustion. When incomplete combustion occurs, carbon monoxide is produced, and this can potentially lead to carbon monoxide poisoning to a family.

The early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning produce unexplained flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion.  Since carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in the blood, prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to death.

Signs that may indicate the presence of carbon monoxide:

  • A yellow, large and unsteady gas appliance burner flame.
  • An unusual pungent odor when the appliance is operating. This may indicate the creation of aldehydes, a by-product of incomplete combustion.
  • Unexplained nausea, drowsiness and flu-like symptoms.


What to do if someone suspects carbon monoxide is present in their home:

  • If safe to do so, immediately turn off the suspected gas appliance.
  • Evacuate the premises and call 911.
  • Seek medical attention if anyone in the home experiences possible carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.
  • Contact SoCalGas or a licensed, qualified professional immediately to have the appliance inspected.
  • Don't use the suspected gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined to be safe by SoCalGas or a licensed, qualified professional.


SoCalGas offers furnace safety checks at no cost to customers, or customers can call a licensed, qualified professional to ensure their appliances are operating properly. To schedule an appointment for a furnace inspection by SoCalGas, visit or call toll-free at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish.

About Southern California Gas Co.

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 service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).


SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

For further information: Raul Gordillo of Southern California Gas Co., 1-877-643-2331,