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Ameren Issues Space Heater Safety Advice
Ovens Must Never be Used for Heating

While portable space heaters can provide supplemental heat, Ameren warns that these heaters are not designed to be a home’s primary source of heat and kitchen ovens must never be used for heating.

Sometimes people will use an oven for heating when a furnace malfunctions. This is an extremely dangerous practice that can cause ovens to overheat, resulting in a fire. This practice also can cause carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Central heating systems should be inspected by a professional every year. Inspections will help assure a furnace is operating safely and economically.

When using space heaters, Ameren recommends following these safety tips:

• Electric heaters: Keep heaters away from water and damp surfaces. Never use a heater in a bathroom or laundry room. Never touch a heater if you are wet. Do not place a cord under a rug or where someone may trip over it. If you must use an extension cord, make certain it is marked as a #14 gauge or larger.

• Ventless natural gas and propane fireplaces: These types of heaters are exceptionally efficient, but they do pose safety concerns. These heaters can deplete oxygen and increase the carbon monoxide level of a room. These heaters also create a buildup of humidity, which may promote mold and mildew growth. Canada, California, Massachusetts and some local jurisdictions have banned these heaters. If you use this type of heater, make certain it has a working oxygen depletion sensor.

• Safety rules for all types of heaters: Never leave an operating heater unattended or in use when sleeping. Keep heaters away from children or where someone may trip over it. Only use heaters approved by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Follow manufacturer directions and keep heaters in proper working condition. Always have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

If you believe there is a natural gas leak, you should leave the house. Illinois customers should call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 and Ameren Missouri customers should call 1-800-552-7583. There is never a charge to report and respond to a suspected natural gas leak call.

If you suspect a natural gas leak, do not turn electric lights on or off or activate any electrical device, including land lines and cell phones.

Additional safety information is available at AmerenMissouri.com and AmerenIllinois.com.

Contacts: Mike Cleary, 573-681-7137, mcleary@ameren.com; Tim Fox, 314-554-4335, tfox@ameren.com; Neal Johnson, 309-677-5516, njohnson@ameren.com; Leigh Morris, 217-535-5228, lmorris@ameren.com; Victoria Busch, 618-346-1286, vbusch@ameren.com 
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With assets of more than $24 billion, St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation owns a diverse mix of electric generating plants strategically located in our Midwest market, with a generating capacity of more than 16,300 megawatts. Through our Missouri and Illinois subsidiaries, we serve 2.4 million electric customers and nearly 1 million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area. Our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. For more information, visit Ameren.com.