DEC Urges Homeowners to Prioritize Safety in Winter Heating

(WNY News Now) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a safety advisory for homeowners and landlords in preparation for the upcoming winter season. They emphasize the importance of avoiding connections to natural gas wells, inspecting fuel storage tanks for potential leaks, and taking measures to save energy and reduce costs.

Albany – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging homeowners and landlords in the state to prioritize safety as they prepare for the upcoming fall and winter heating season. DEC’s Commissioner, Basil Seggos, emphasized the importance of safety measures, warning of potential dangers associated with connecting occupied buildings to wells producing natural gas.

Natural gas from such wells is odorless and can contain additional gases like propane and butane, which can result in improper combustion in appliances. The risk of an explosion due to natural gas build-up is significantly higher when the gas source is not provided by a utility. DEC advises homeowners to contact a licensed plumber to consider switching to utility natural gas or another fuel source. They also recommend installing methane detection alarms in spaces where methane may accumulate and adding the odorant mercaptan to natural gas from home-use wells for easier detection.

DEC also emphasizes the importance of inspecting heating fuel oil storage tanks for leaks or spills before receiving fuel oil shipments. Annual inspections can prevent environmental contamination and health hazards. Homeowners are urged to be vigilant for signs of tank damage, leaks, and other concerns, both for above-ground and underground storage tanks.

In addition to promoting safety measures, DEC encourages New Yorkers to take advantage of programs designed to save energy and reduce costs. Homeowners can apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program, start on November 1st, to help with heating costs. They can also explore energy-efficient practices, receive a customized list of energy-related assistance, join Community Solar programs, get free energy audits, and participate in Clean Heating and Cooling Campaigns. DEC advises residents to know their rights and protections regarding utility services and explore various bill payment options.

DEC provides resources and assistance for homeowners to ensure a safe and energy-efficient winter heating season. They emphasize that early planning and precautions can help protect both people and the environment.

For further information or questions regarding “home-use wells” and heating oil tank safety, homeowners can contact DEC at (518) 402-8056 or Additional details can be found on DEC’s website. Fuel oil spills or leaks should be reported to the DEC Spills Hotline at 1-800-457-7362. More information on home heating oil tank stewardship is available on DEC’s website.

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