Admit it; knowing that your family is safe and warm in your home is one of the best feelings you can have as a homeowner, and natural gas appliances are a big part of what makes life so convenient and comfortable.

While natural gas is a safe and reliable way to power your stove and heat your home, regularly inspecting your appliances and staying on top of minor maintenance will ensure that no unforeseen issues crop up. Gas appliances like your furnace, water heater, stove and fireplace should be checked annually by a qualified professional.

It goes without saying that in the rare event you ever detect gas odour in your home, you should immediately get out without touching any electrical equipment or light switches, leave the door open behind you and alert your natural gas supplier.

Okay, now that we’ve said that, here are a few things you can do to ensure your home and gas appliances are working just as they should be.

Inspect your home for uncapped gas lines

When you move into a new home, check to see if an appliance may have been removed without having the gas line properly capped; any steel line that isn’t connected to an appliance should end with a valve and a black steel cap. If you find an uncapped line, contact a gas fitter immediately. Remember – only a qualified gas fitter should install, repair or move natural gas appliances. Learn more.

Understanding your hot water tank

Natural gas-powered water heaters are common here; in most Alberta homes, they’re vertical glass or metal-lined tanks with a gas valve, thermostat and burner at the base. The thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature of your hot water; keeping it at a lower setting helps ensure that children aren’t accidentally scalded by hot water.

The burner heats the water in the tank and is connected to a small, continuously-burning pilot light (although some tanks may have an electronic ignition system). When the tank senses a need for hot water, the burner turns on.

Many tanks also have reset buttons or adjustable temperature settings behind a cover plate. If you’re making adjustments to these settings, do not make contact with the adjacent wire ends on terminals located near the temperature setting screw, as they can cause electric shock.

If your hot water tank stops working, check the instructions for how to relight it safely (these are frequently located on the hot water tank itself). Also check your fuse or breaker panel before calling for service; you could save yourself money and headaches if it’s just switched itself off. Learn more.

Know your fireplace

Natural gas fireplaces are also common in Alberta, and share some similar features with water heaters, including a pilot light. Remember to never leave an open flame unattended in your home, and also be aware that it’s not uncommon for a sensor called a thermocouple to fail after several years.

While you can replace the sensor on your own, read your owner’s manual carefully, and if you’re not comfortable making the repairs, call a service technician.

Taking a few moments to familiarize yourself with the gas appliances in your home can save you time, worries and money. Now you’re cooking with gas!

Want to learn more about fireplace maintenance? Check out our Care & Maintenance tips.