Natural gas is a naturally abundant, odorless, colorless gas found deep beneath the earth’s surface. It is considered the cleanest fossil fuel because it produces fewer emissions than other fossil fuels.

When used properly, natural gas is one of the safest and most reliable forms of energy available. However, as with all forms of energy, improper or careless use of natural gas may cause property damage, personal injury or even death.

We are committed to delivering natural gas to our customers in the safest manner possible. But you, the customer, must realize that it is your responsibility to properly maintain and safely operate natural gas appliances.

We encourage you to take the time right now to read this website thoroughly. We also advise you to consult the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings that are included with your natural gas appliances for more detailed safety information.

If You Smell Natural Gas

  • Leave your home immediately and call 911 or your local gas company from a neighbor’s home. Do this before notifying property management.
  • As you exit, do not ignite a flame or turn on or off an electrical device (lights, fixed or mobile phones, etc.).
  • Leave the door open as you leave.
  • Do not assume someone else has reported the leak.
  • Do not return until told that it is safe to do so by someone in authority (gas supplier employee, police, fireman, etc.).

Information for Emergency Officials

Take whatever steps necessary to protect the public during a pipeline emergency. The following suggestions are offered only as a guide.

    1. Secure the area around the leak. This could include:

  • Evacuating people from homes, businesses, schools and other locations.
  • Erecting a barricade to prevent access to the emergency site.
    2. Take steps to prevent ignition of a pipeline leak. This could include:

  • Rerouting traffic and turning off electricity and residential gas supply by qualified individuals.
  • Preventing ignition sources from entering the emergency site.
    3. Contact your local gas company as soon as possible.

  • They will dispatch personnel to help and aid the response to the emergency.
  • Their personnel will take the necessary actions, such as opening or closing valves and similar steps to minimize the impact of the situation.
  • Do not attempt to operate any valves; this action could escalate the emergency.

Basic Natural Gas Safety Tips for Your Home

  • When cooking over a flame, don’t wear loose clothing or spray cooking oil. Do not place flammable substances near the flame. These include anything that will burn–such as paper towels, fabric or food packaging– nearby.
  • Children should never attempt to light natural gas logs or space heaters.
  • Never play with the valves that turn gas logs on and off.
  • Always remove the gas log valve key and store it in a safe place, away from the reach of children.
  • Always open the chimney flue before lighting gas logs unless the logs are the ventless style.
  • Never wear loose clothing or place flammable materials of any kind near a natural gas space heater. Never dry clothing on a natural gas space heater.
  • Curtains/drapes should never be located near a natural gas flame (cooking range, space heater, etc.).
  • Never use natural gas cooking appliances for drying clothes or heating a room.

Space Heaters and Gas Logs

Installation & Location

Space heaters and gas logs should be installed in accordance with building codes and manufacturer instructions and specifications. Read all manufacturer instructions, warnings and warranties carefully. Only qualified, licensed service personnel should install and service space heater and gas logs.

If your current space heater does not have an oxygen depletion safety shut-off, you should replace it with a model that does have this safety feature, if possible. This feature automatically shuts off a space heater if oxygen levels become unsafe.

Space heaters installed on carpet, linoleum or tile may require installation of a metal plate or stoveboard underneath the unit. If so, the metal plate needs to meet manufacturer specifications for thickness and needs to extend the full width and depth of the heater.

Space heaters and gas logs must not be installed in the area where flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are used or stored. Vapors from these materials may migrate and be ignited by the pilot or burner flame.

Space heaters and gas logs are HOT during operation. People, clothing, furniture and other combustible items should be kept away from space heaters and gas logs at all times. Also, any guard installed or recommended by the manufacturer should ALWAYS remain in place during operation.

Combustion Air Requirements

Operating space heaters and gas logs without sufficient fresh air can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure there is adequate fresh air for these appliances to safely operate and meet the manufacturer installation requirements.

Always follow the manufacturer specifications and never cover any openings or alter the space heater’s cabinet in any way. Contact a qualified heating contractor or service technician for recommendations on how to maintain sufficient fresh air to space heater and gas logs.

Maintenance, Cleaning and Service

Space heaters and gas logs should be inspected annually by a qualified service technician before they are used.

Even in the cleanest homes, air moving through space heaters and gas logs carries lint and dust, which can clog the air intakes for the pilot light if it builds up. Lint buildup at the burner intake can cause improper combustion of natural gas and produce carbon monoxide. If you notice lint buildup, contact a qualified heating contractor or service technician to clean the equipment.

When properly adjusted, a space heater should burn with a blue flame. If the flame is orange or yellow, stop using the space heater and contact a qualified heating contractor or service technician immediately.

The color of the burner flame for gas logs can vary depending on the brand, style and use of gas logs. That’s why it’s important to have gas logs checked regularly by a qualified heating contractor or service technician. Follow the manufacturer guidelines for the proper maintenance, cleaning and service of these appliances.

Water Heaters & Other Gas Appliances


Installation & Location

Water heaters and other gas appliances should NEVER be installed near an area where flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are used or stored. Vapors from these materials may migrate and be ignited by the pilot or burner flame.

Codes may require water heaters and other gas appliances installed in residential garages to have all burners and ignition devices at least 18 inches from the floor. Manufacturer installation and instructions should be followed for all appliances. Only use qualified, licensed service personnel to install and service gas appliances.

Combustion Air Requirements

All gas appliances must be provided with a supply of fresh air. Operating a gas appliance without a sufficient supply of fresh air can produce carbon monoxide. Refer to manufacturer installation and operating instructions for more information.

Water Heater Thermostat Settings

Any water heater thermostat setting above 120˚F may cause severe burns or other injuries, particularly to children or disabled or elderly persons. Read the water heater instruction manual before setting the temperature.

Customer-Owned Piping

Your local gas company owns all gas piping up to the meter. The customer owns and is responsible for maintaining gas piping that is beyond the meter, whether the piping is above ground or underground.

Metallic lines may corrode if unprotected. If you own any underground or exposed, unprotected piping, it should be inspected periodically. If unsafe conditions or damage to a line is discovered, repairs should be made immediately. Plumbing contractors, heating contractors and your local gas company can assist in locating, inspecting and repairing buried lines. However, since these lines do belong to you, costs may be involved.
If you have any questions concerning the ownership of any piping, please contact your local gas company for more information.

Any excavation near buried gas and other utility lines should be done by hand following the location of those lines. To have utility-owned lines located at no cost to you, contact Alabama 811 at 811 or 1-800-292-8525 at least two working days before you dig.

Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing

Like all gas piping systems, corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) must be properly installed. If your home or business has corrugated stainless steel tubing, it is strongly recommended that you determine if it is properly bonded and grounded. A qualified professional should ground and bond your CSST in accordance with the manufacturer’s design and installation guide. Grounding and bonding reduce the chances of a natural gas leak or fire from electrical/ lightning energy.


Some gas equipment, such as unvented space heaters, logs and most residential gas ranges, is specifically designed and certified to operate safely without a vent. However, all central heating furnaces, many larger space heaters (floor and wall furnaces) and all water heaters must be

properly vented to operate safely so that the products of combustion are expelled outside the home.

The homeowner should periodically inspect the entire visible length of these vents for signs of corrosion severe enough to cause perforation or joint separation as well as any signs of vent blockage. Should any of these conditions exist, contact a qualified service technician for a more detailed inspection. A routine annual inspection should include an inspection of the venting system.

Sidewall vents also are common in new heating and water heating systems, especially high efficiency units. If a vent becomes buried in snow or obstructed by a shrub, it may shut down your equipment – or draw exhaust fumes into your home, which can produce high levels of CO inside your house.

To prevent these problems, clear obstructions around the vent approximately 48 inches in all directions so that your equipment can discharge exhaust. Also make sure vents are installed no less than 12 inches above the ground.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if a natural gas appliance is operated in an enclosed space with no access to fresh air. Because improper installation of gas appliances can lead to carbon monoxide build-up, it is important that only qualified, licensed service personnel install your gas appliances.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble flu symptoms and include headache, dizziness and/or nausea. If you have these symptoms, get fresh air immediately.

If you purchase a carbon monoxide detector, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission recommends choosing a model that meets the Underwriters Laboratory Standard 2034. Under no circumstances should a carbon monoxide detector be used as a substitute for regular inspections by qualified service personnel.


According to the National Transportation Safety Board, natural gas pipelines and mains are among the safest methods of transporting energy products. Pipelines are an essential component of our nation’s infrastructure. Each company has an integrity management plan, and you may contact them directly for more information.

Pipeline companies communicate regularly with emergency officials and work with local police and fire departments in emergency situations. It is extremely unlikely that a hazardous leak will occur, but you should always be prepared. These safety guidelines will provide you with important information if you suspect a problem.

Pipeline Markers

Written agreements or easements between landowners and pipeline companies allow pipeline companies to construct and maintain pipeline rights-of-way across privately owned property.

If you are not aware of pipelines on or near your property, check for pipeline markers posted on your property, along your property and elsewhere in your neighborhood. You may also check your property record at your county clerk’s office.

Pipeline markers are an important safety precaution since pipelines are underground. Markers are found where a pipeline intersects a street, highway or railway. Be aware of any pipeline markers in your neighborhood. While markers are helpful, they provide very limited information.

Markers DO NOT show:

The depth of the pipelines
The number of pipelines
The exact location of the pipelines

Markers DO show:

The approximate location of the pipelines
The product transported
The natural gas operator
The natural gas operator’s emergency phone number

Recognizing a Pipeline Leak

  • Look for a dense fog, mist or white cloud, discolored vegetation, bubbling in water or blowing dust.
  • Natural gas is naturally odorless. However, a distinctive smell is added, similar to rotten eggs, so that you can smell a potential leak.
  • You may hear a hissing, whistling or roaring noise.

Your local gas company regularly conducts walking and vehicle leak surveys of its facilities. If you suspect a leak:

  • DO NOT touch, breathe or make contact with the leak.
  • DO NOT light a match, start an engine, turn light switches on or off, use a cell or home phone or do anything to create a spark.
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish any fire.
  • DO NOT attempt to operate valves.
  • DO leave the home, building and area of the suspected leak, and get to a safe area. Call 911 to notify police and fire officials and warn others to stay out of the area.

Call 811 Before You Dig!

811: Know What's below. Call before you dig. Third-party excavation is the leading cause of underground pipeline damage. This damage is frequently caused by the excavator’s failure to request the location of utility facilities within construction limits. State law requires anyone performing excavation activity to call Alabama 811 at least 48 hours before digging or excavating. Before you start any excavation activity on your property, contact Alabama 811 at 811 or 1-800-292-8525. Natural gas operators will mark the location of their lines at no cost to you.

Examples of excavation activities include planting trees or landscaping, building a fence, installing a swimming pool or any other major construction project. Be safe and remember to contact Alabama 811 before beginning any excavation activities on your property.

What to do if you dig and disturb or damage a pipeline or natural gas line?

Even if you cause what appears to be only minor damage to the pipeline, immediately notify the pipeline company. A gouge, scrape, dent or crease to the pipe or coating may cause a future rupture or leak. It is imperative that the pipeline owner inspects and repairs any damage to the line or related apparatus. Many states have laws requiring damages to be reported to the facility owner. Do not attempt to make repairs to the line yourself.

Can I build or dig on a right-of-way?

Pipeline rights-of-way must be kept free from structures and other obstructions to provide access to the pipeline for maintenance, as well as in the event of an emergency. If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or high shrubs on the right-of-way. Do not dig, build, store or place anything on or near the rights-of-way without first having the pipeline company’s personnel mark the pipeline or stake the rights-of-way and explain the company’s construction guidelines to you.

High Consequence Areas

In accordance with federal regulations, some areas near pipelines have been designated as High Consequence Areas. For these areas, supplemental hazard assessment and prevention programs known as Integrity Management Programs have been developed. If a pipeline operator has High Consequence Areas, information about these plans is available by contacting the operator’s corporate offices.

We need your help

The nation’s infrastructures, including pipelines, are a matter of national security. If you witness suspicious activity on a pipeline right-of-way, please report it to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible or you may call the numbers listed on this website. Threat advisories may be found at the Department of Homeland Security’s website at