By Cassie McClure
Since we’re at the edges of the colder season, it might be time to dust off the neglected old furnace. If you’re feeling squeamish about lighting your furnace and want to make sure there aren’t any gas leaks, Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) will come out for free to relight it, check for leaks, check that your air conditioning is winterized – all for free.
Scheduling is easy: Call Customer Central 575/541-2111 and representatives will schedule an LCU field service technician to be dispatched to your home at a time convenient for you. An adult at least 18 years old must be present when the technician arrives. Last year alone, LCU serviced more than 350 customers.
“It’s a courtesy we extend to our customers, especially since it gives a peace of mind that there are no dangerous gas leaks in the home and a confidence that it’s done correctly,” Jose F. Provencio, LCU deputy director Business Services said. Technicians will check for gas leaks, the safety of the furnace enclosure, and ensure that the furnace filter is ready for operation. Residents will be instructed on the purchase of a new filter if it is needed.
“When we relight the furnace pilot, we will also complete a cycle operation, and check for proper combustion with the carbon monoxide test,” Provencio said. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be very dangerous, and even deadly, with symptoms that include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
While natural gas keeps a furnace and other appliances running, in its natural state, the gas is odorless and colorless. However, for safety measures, LCU Gas includes the addition of the chemical mercaptan to create a recognizable sulfur smell that alerts customers to a gas leak.
If you ever smell an unfamiliar sulfur rotten egg smell, or just a strong smell around your gas meter or near your natural gas appliances, give Utilities Emergency Dispatch a call day or night, at 575/526-0500. A gas service associate will be dispatched, regardless of the time.
Las Cruces Utilities can be reached at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
LCU Field Services Technician Jessie Vargas may be the one to help you relight your furnace this season and check for gas leaks. Gas relights are free to residential customers and include a check for gas and carbon monoxide leaks.
Note: This story was recently published in the Las Cruces Bulletin.