Natural gas is one of the safest energy sources available to homeowners and businesses alike. By itself, natural gas will not ignite. For ignition to occur, a mixture of gas between four and 14 percent must combine with air. Also, gas must have an ignition source with a temperature of 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit or more before it will ignite.
Natural gas has no odor. We add a harmless chemical with a distinctive, rotten egg odor to gas to make it easily identifiable. Sure, it smells bad! But in case of a leak, you'll know to call MichCon for service. Our response time to gas leaks is among the best in the industry.
While natural gas is not toxic (like any other fossil fuel), it can produce carbon monoxide (CO) if it does not burn completely. That's why all flues and chimneys should be clear of debris and all natural gas appliances should be in good operating condition. We recommend an annual appliance inspection and installing at least one CO detector in the home.
Every year, MichCon personnel survey 12, 800 miles of distribution pipeline – about two-thirds of the entire system. In addition to verifying overall system integrity these surveys help us identify small leaks so we can assess their potential impact and take appropriate measures to manage, repair or eliminate them as necessary. All mains and service lines are surveyed at least every three years. Cast iron mains and all lines in areas classified as business districts are surveyed once every year.
Natural gas service lines which supply gas to homes and businesses are often buried in easements and on private property. The use of sharp tools can damage these lines, causing injury or loss of service. Before doing any digging, call MISS DIG at 811.
Your safety is our priority. We operate and maintain more than 2,400 miles of high-pressure natural gas transmission lines in Michigan. Read our brochure, Sharing Responsibility for Natural Gas Pipeline Safety*, for tips on identifying a natural gas pipeline and what to do if a pipeline is damaged, a leak occurs or if you must dig in the vicinity of a gas line
Here are a few rules to follow to help keep you and your family safe:
- Follow manufacturer's instructions in the care and operation of gas-fired appliances.
- Have qualified contractors handle natural gas-related repair and installation jobs.
- Use appliances for their intended purpose; don't use your gas oven to heat your kitchen, for example.
- Keep all combustible materials away from the flame of your gas appliances.
- Keep burners and surrounding surfaces clean.
- Make sure the flues of automatically controlled appliances are corrosion-free, securely attached, and correctly vented.
- Don't use gas fuel lines as clotheslines.
- Don't block furnace room air vents. Gas appliances require air to burn fuel completely and operate efficiently. A yellowish flame can signal improper operation.
- Teach children never to turn on or light gas appliances.
- If the pilot flame on a gas appliance goes out, shut off the gas supply at the appliance's valve and allow time for accumulated gas to escape. Follow the relight procedure posted on the appliance. If you have any doubts about the relighting procedure, call us at 800.477.4747.
- Never operate grills, lawn mowers, or vehicles in a closed garage.