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With Colder Weather Approaching, PECO Advises Homeowners to Test Heaters Soon.

October 5-11 Is National Fire Prevention Month

PHILADELPHIA -- Before overnight temperatures dip into the 30s for the first time, PECO advises area homeowners to turn on their heaters and test the system to avoid any operating issues when it's really needed.

PECO said the utility and HVAC contractors experience a spike in emergency calls during the fall season's first colder weather. As customers turn their home heating systems on, many report indoor gas odors or appliance malfunction. PECO also encourages customers to schedule a service call for their heater if the system hasn't been inspected and cleaned by an service technician in the past two years. Regular service will ensure the heating system will operate safely and efficiently for the heating system ahead.

Brian Focht, senior training specialist at PECO's fire school, said the foremost line of defense against carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a properly functioning and well-maintained house heater and water heater, a clean heater flue or chimney clear of obstructions, and a properly ventilated home. Typically, CO exposure is most dangerous in the wintertime when homes are tightly sealed and symptoms are oftentimes unrecognized or confused with the flu or other illnesses. More information about indoor home safety and carbon monoxide can be found at

PECO calls October the prime time to prepare for the impending heating season. With higher fuel costs than last year, homeowners should get service for their home heater and add a fresh heater air filter to save costs. They also can take advantage of nice autumn days to weatherize their home: cleaning air vents around the house, install storm windows and door jams, check and freshen caulking around windows and doors, and install sealers behind electrical outlets. At, PECO offers its customers more energy efficiency tips and an online store that provides 20 percent discounts on weatherization and other energy-saving products like compact fluorescent light bulbs and programmable thermostats.

PECO also notes Oct. 5-11 is National Fire Prevention Week. The U.S. has one of the highest fire death and injury rates, and fires occur most often during colder weather. The National Fire Prevention Association creates campaign materials as well as a Web site providing fire departments, families, kids and educators with information. For more information, visit PECO is particularly concerned with consumers who are concerned about higher heating costs and who may turn to alternative heating sources. Portable electric and kerosene space heaters and candles lead to many fires during winter. Additionally, fire officials urge all homeowners to have smoke alarms and CO detectors, as well as a home escape plan in case of fires.

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which began Oct. 8 in 1971 and killed 250 people, left more than 100,000 homeless, and destroyed 17,400 structures. Fire Prevention Week isn't just about fire safety. It's a tribute to the men and women who keep our communities safe from fire all year long. Each year, hundreds of area emergency responders train at PECO's Fire School in West Conshohocken, learning about electrical and natural gas safety, firefighting techniques and fire investigation techniques.

Based in Philadelphia, PECO is an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC). PECO serves 1.6 million electric and 480,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and employs about 2,500 people in the region. PECO delivered 78.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 39.9 billion kilowatt-hours-hours of electricity in 2007. Founded in 1881, PECO is one of the Greater Philadelphia Region's most active corporate citizens, providing leadership, volunteer and financial support to numerous arts and culture, education, environmental, economic development and community programs and organizations.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 3, 2008
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