By C.T. Barnes
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News 6.19.22
Have you ever noticed the flames on your gas stove turning orange? Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Natural Gas and Energy Office Manager, Deborah Hurst noticed a sudden change in flame color one weekend. That Monday she brought up her concern with an LCU natural gas supervisor.
Not because she is an employee, but as a LCU customer Hurst was able to quickly get a technician out for a free inspection of her natural gas line and appliances. The natural gas technician had seen similar issues from other LCU customers calling the dispatch line because they had noticed an orange flame appearing on their stove.
Through research, the LCU technician was able to determine that the common contributing factor was too much humidity in the air, which creates these irregular orange flames on natural gas appliances. The technician then opened all windows and doors inside the house to see if that would make a difference. Within five minutes of doing so the humidity in the house dropped 20% and the flame was completely blue.
After finding the solution of the sudden flame change, the LCU natural gas technician then took the time to re-light the pilot and checked all gas utilities and gas pressure in the home. Hurst was extremely pleased with the customer service she received and the extra steps that were taken to make sure there were no further issues in her home. “In addition to providing natural gas to our customers, we also make house calls to our customers and check appliances to make sure everything is on and running as it should,” stated LCU Natural Gas and Energy Deputy Director Lucio Garcia.
One major find from this customer success story is the fact that not a lot of people know what the color of their flames mean. LCU pointed out that a blue flame, the hottest and best flame to have, indicates that there are no combustibles around the flame or in the air to burn off. An orange flame means the gas is not burning correctly, there may be combustibles around or in the air, it could show signs of high humidity in the home, or there is carbon in the air that is being burned in the flame. An orange flame is a warning sign that you should call LCU to get a professional out to assess the situation.
Like Hurst, a lot of LCU customers were pleasantly surprised with the quick response, and the complimentary services provided by the City-owned utility. Going above and beyond to meet customer satisfaction is one of the top goals and missions for LCU and their service crews. LCU wants to make sure that anyone who needs assistance knows they can call Utilities Dispatch and get assistance. Not only are they there to solve gas issues in the home, but they can also do pre-checks, pilot re-lighting, check all gas appliances, and check for carbon monoxide.
Today is the day to call LCU to get your complimentary home “checkup” and make sure all your gas appliances are running to the most efficient capacity as possible.
LCU – Your Utility Connection. Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities
For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500.
PHOTO 1: Orange flame on natural gas stove-Courtesy LCU