Fall’s first real cold front is forecast this week for Northern California and it’s expected to cause temperatures to drop by 15 to 20 degrees and perhaps bring showers and snow to some locations by Friday, so Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is urging customers to be cautious when heating their homes.
Electric heating devices, such as space heaters, are a fire hazard when not properly used or monitored. Fuel-burning appliances, such as gas furnaces, stoves and water heaters, can increase the risk of carbon monoxide when they are not working properly. High levels of carbon monoxide, a toxic gas, can be generated by appliances that are defective or improperly installed or maintained. It’s also a good time of year to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
According to PG&E meteorologists, a weather system will move into the region out of the Pacific Northwest Thursday night into Friday, and it will bring precipitation and significantly cooler temperatures with it.
PG&E urges customers to focus on safely heating their homes as temperatures drop and offers the following tips:
Place space heaters on level, hard, nonflammable surfaces, not on rugs or carpets.
Don’t put objects on space heaters or use them to dry clothes or shoes.
Keep all flammable materials at least three feet away from heating sources and supervise children and pets when a space heater or fireplace is being used.
Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Never use cooking devices such as ovens or stoves to heat your home, and never use products inside the home that generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, such as generators, barbecues, propane heaters and charcoal.
Install carbon monoxide detectors to warn you if concentration levels are high. As of 2011, all California single-family homes are required to have carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure they are installed near sleeping areas and replace the batteries at least twice a year.
When using the fireplace to stay warm, make sure the flue is open so that the byproducts of combustion can vent safely through the chimney.