As with any type of energy, the key to safety is common sense, but there are a few special rules to keep in mind around natural gas appliances:
The right way:
DO leave at least 18 inches of clearance around your gas furnace and water heater, and at least one inch around gas stoves and clothes dryers.
DO keep paints, papers, aerosol sprays and other flammables away from gas appliances.
DO make sure the vent hood, pipes and flues aren’t blocked, cracked or corroded.
DO have gas appliances professionally installed. This will ensure that all the connections are secure, all vent pipes and flues are clean and undamaged, and that the appliance is adjusted properly.
The wrong way:
DON’T store or stack boxes, laundry or other materials around the base of a gas appliance.
DON’T let kids play on or around gas equipment, including meters and pipes.
DON’T wear long sleeves around a gas stove, and keep towels and potholders away from the open flame. DON’T try to use a gas oven or range to heat a room – the appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, causing asphyxiation or deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.