Losing natural gas service during severe weather and power outages is rare because pipe infrastructure is below ground. However, there are several safety precautions customers should take to keep you and your community safe.
Nicor Gas advises customers to leave their gas meter on to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within their homes or businesses and to prevent water from entering the lines should flooding occur. Most gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out. Your natural gas service should operate uninterrupted throughout the storm. Only Nicor Gas or emergency personnel should turn the valve off. In cases of severe lightning, customers might want to unplug natural gas appliances to avoid possible electrical damage.
Report a natural gas emergency to the Nicor Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 888.Nicor4U (642.6748). The damage assessment and restoration process begins once the storm has passed, and it’s safe for our crews to proceed with gathering information and determining the extent of the service needs in the affected area
If your gas service was interrupted as a result of a severe storm, restoration time depends on when water recedes in flooded areas and customers’ homes and businesses are free of standing water, and when Nicor Gas personnel can safely enter homes and businesses, and appliances are easily accessible by technicians.
The safety of our customers and communities is our highest priority. That’s why at all times, including when severe weather events occur, we strongly advise customers to adhere to the following guidelines associated with natural gas meters and appliances.
July is the peak month for grilling fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. A stationery natural gas grill can help avoid the safety worries associated with portable grills. When grilling this summer, take the following safety precautions.
Use a certified natural gas contractor to ensure your natural gas line and grill connection are installed properly and according to building codes. To locate a certified contractor, use our Find A Contractor tool.
All grills need proper venting and distancing from flammable objects. Position your grill at least 10 feet from flammable objects such as siding, eaves, ceilings, porch rails, overhanging branches or decorative objects.
When purchasing a grill, be sure to shop for the right type, since stationary natural gas and portable propane grills have different connection equipment.
Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
Keep your grill clean, removing grease buildup from the grills and the trays below.
Make sure your grill lid is open before lighting it.
Never leave a hot grill unattended, especially after you’ve finished cooking and you’ve turned up the grill to burn off any remnants.
When a grill is not being used, turn off all the burner control knobs including the side burner, then if using a natural gas grill, turn off the shut-off valve on your natural gas supply line.
Hurricane season runs from June to November, increasing the likelihood of power outages, especially in southern and eastern coastal states, while tornadoes or other summer severe weather can strike anywhere in the U.S. The safest way to supply backup power to your property during an electrical outage is with a natural gas standby generator. Different from portable generators that run on gasoline, natural gas standby or stationary generators operate automatically and can run indefinitely.
Have your standby generator installed by a qualified contractor to ensure all building codes are followed. To locate a contractor, use our Find A Contractor tool.
Work with your contractor or dealer to size the standby generator correctly to avoid overloads or inadequate power supply. Most dealers have online calculators on their websites.
Read through the owner’s manual to be familiar with your product’s warnings and directions.
Stationary standby generators have weatherproof housing to operate safely outdoors, while portable generators can pose risks of electric shock or fire, especially when operated in wet conditions.
Make sure your hands are dry before touching a generator. Keep children and pets away from generators. NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a portable generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.”
Generators should run only outdoors in an area with plenty of ventilation, away from windows, doors and vents, never inside a home or garage.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
Keep your home safe by installing a CO detector on each level of your home, near bedrooms.
If you smell natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home or business, immediately leave the area and call 911 or Nicor Gas' emergency number, 888.Nicor4U (888.642.6748), from a safe location.
Seek medical attention immediately if anyone in your home or business experiences possible symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.