DEC offers home heating tips – Oneida Dispatch

NEW YORK — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has advised homeowners and proprietors to put safety first when preparing for home heating needs this fall and winter.

DEC reminded property owners to avoid connecting occupied buildings to wells producing natural gas, as it can be dangerous and potentially fatal. In addition, DEC has encouraged landowners, who use fuel oil for heating, to inspect fuel storage tanks for any leaks or spills before receiving fuel oil shipments for the next heating season.

“Putting safety first this heating season is critically important to protecting yourself, your loved ones, your property and our environment,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a recent press release. “Heating costs are expected to rise this winter and supply interruptions are possible, but the potential costs of tempting fate through risky and dangerous fuel connections, and neglecting the maintenance of heating units, are incalculably higher. DEC urges homeowners and owners to use safe practices to protect themselves and others.

Natural Gas Safety

The DEC issued today’s warning in the wake of a fatal home explosion last October in Allegany County, where natural gas from a disconnected “domestic well” caused an explosion and destroyed the house. Domestic wells are often located on or near private property and may be connected by homeowners via pipes to appliances, furnaces or other ignition sources.

“Heating equipment, including those powered by natural gas or oil, is among the leading causes of home fires nationally and in New York State,” said the fire administrator of the ‘State, James Cable. “Now is the time of year to have natural gas, oil or wood furnaces and fireplaces inspected before the colder months arrive.”

The danger is that the natural gas produced by a gas or oil well is odorless and difficult or impossible for a person to detect. Although the main component of natural gas is methane, other gases such as propane and butane can also be present in addition to water, as the gas is raw and unprocessed.

This can cause improper and erratic combustion in appliances. The risk of explosion due to the accumulation of natural gas in a house is considerably higher if this gas is not supplied by a utility.

“Remember to keep all combustible materials such as curtains, blankets, clothing and furniture away from portable heaters and be sure to turn off such heaters before leaving a room or going to your home. sleep,” Cable said. “Above all, make sure you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.”

If a domestic well is connected to a house or other structure:

– Contact a plumber licensed to work on gas lines and change the fuel source to utility natural gas or consider another fuel or heater;

-Natural gas coming directly from a well is odorless and colorless, meaning it can build up to explosive levels undetected. Install methane detection alarms in any enclosed space where methane can accumulate;

-Commercial gas suppliers always add the odorous mercaptan to natural gas before it is delivered for use.

Consider adding mercaptan to natural gas from a domestic well so it can be more easily detected; and
Contact DEC if the well is not registered in the DEC database.

Owning and operating an oil or gas well comes with regulatory responsibilities to protect the environment. New York is actively plugging oil and gas wells across the state for which there is no registered operator.

For questions and additional information about “domestic wells,” contact DEC at 518-402-8056 or [email protected] Also visit the DEC website for additional photos and details.

Heating oil safety

The DEC also reminds home and building owners to inspect heating oil storage tanks for leaks or spills before ordering and receiving oil.

More than two million homes in New York are heated with oil. Each year, the DEC Spills Hotline receives hundreds of reports of fuel oil spills from home fuel oil tanks. These spills lead to basement contamination, damage to basement contents, contamination of groundwater, wells and floors, and costly cleanups rarely covered by home insurance.

Annual inspections can prevent leaks and spills and protect property, public health and the environment. Homeowners are advised to research the following issues and contact their fuel oil service provider if they see any of the items listed below.

For above ground heating oil storage tanks, search for:

-Bent, rusted or wobbly tank legs or tank located on an unstable foundation;

-Signs of rust, seeps, wet spots or numerous dents on the surface of the tank;

– Drops or any sign of leaks around the oil filter or valves;

– Oil pipes not covered with a protective sheath – even if under concrete;

-Overhanging eaves where snow and ice could fall on the reservoir;

– Stains on the floor or strong smell of oil around the tank;

– Browning, dieback or loss of vegetation around the reservoir;

– Silent overflow whistle while filling tank – ask the fuel delivery person;

– Reservoir vent completely or partially blocked by snow, ice or insect nests;

– Signs of spills around fill pipe or vent pipe;

– Incorrectly sized vent pipes – ask the fuel delivery person; and

– Cracked, stuck or frozen fuel level gauges or signs of fuel around them.

For underground heating oil storage tanks, look for:

– Water in the tank – ask the fuel delivery person to check;

-Oil or oil shine in your basement sump or French drain;

– Silent overflow whistle while filling tank – ask the fuel delivery person;

– Reservoir vent completely or partially blocked by snow, ice or insect nests;

– Signs of spills around fill pipe or vent pipe;

– Well water tastes or smells strange;

– Complaints from neighbors of oil odors; and

-Using more fuel than normal.

Fuel oil spills or leaks should be reported to the DEC Spill Hotline at 1-800-457-7362. For more information on home heating oil tank stewardship, visit the Underground Heating Oil Tanks: Homeowner’s Guide web page on the DEC website.

More help for owners
Last month, Governor Hochul announced state actions to prepare New Yorkers for rising global energy costs and supply challenges expected this winter. Additionally, New Yorkers can take the following steps in their homes to help protect against higher energy costs, including:

-enroll in the Home Energy Assistance Program, with applications beginning November 1;

-be more energy efficient to reduce energy consumption;

-receive a personalized list of energy-related aids in the state;

– sign up for Community Solar;

-obtain a free energy audit;

– join a clean heating and cooling campaign;

-know your rights and protections regarding public services; and

-Consider bill payment options, among other steps.