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CenterPoint Energy teams up with Minneapolis Fire Department to deliver fire safety messages
October is National Fire Prevention Month; help prevent house fires by cleaning dryer vents
Minneapolis Fire Marshal Perry Ebner and Tim Boettcher, master service technician for HSP team-up to bring fire safety education to the public.

MINNEAPOLIS – October 16, 2012 – In recognition of National Fire Prevention Month, CenterPoint Energy’s Home Service Plus® is teaming up with the Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD) to put safety first in reminding homeowners to clean dryer vents and maintain appliances to prevent house fires. 

“Dryer vent fires are one of the top six causes for home fires,” said Chief Perry Ebner, Minneapolis Fire Marshal.  “Thousands of dryer vent fires occur each year and can completely destroy a home within minutes. CenterPoint Energy’s Home Service Plus® recognizes this hazard and recommends a professionally performed dryer vent cleaning annually.”

"As committed advocates for safety related issues, we want our customers to know how to be safe in their homes and ways to operate natural gas appliances safely and efficiently,” said Tim Boettcher, master service technician for CenterPoint Energy.  “When a dryer becomes clogged with lint the heat is trapped, causing the equipment to overheat and increasing the probability for the lint to catch fire. A well maintained appliance can operate more safely, will work more efficiently by reducing drying time and has less risk of failure.”

CenterPoint Energy and MFD also offer the following important safety tips about how to recognize the signs of clogged traps and vents and avoid fires in the home.

• Have fuel-burning equipment regularly checked by a qualified technician (most manufacturers recommend annual check-ups).
• Watch for increased clothes drying time and clothes or the dryer hot to the touch after the complete dry cycle.
• Watch for an unusually hot or humid laundry room while the dryer is running.
• Be certain fuel-burning equipment properly vents to the outdoors and keep vents and fresh air intakes clear of debris or other obstructions.
• Never attempt to heat a room with a natural gas range, oven or clothes dryer.
• Replace batteries in smoke and CO detection devices at least once a year. Test each alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
• For more information about natural gas safety, visit www.centerpointenergy.com/besafe or call 612-372-4727 or 1-800-245-2377.

Customers can schedule a dryer vent cleaning any time of year and pay at the time of service. Additionally, Home Service Plus offers a Maintenance Plan that includes the annual dryer vent cleaning. During two seasonal visits, HSP technicians will perform six important home maintenance activities including:  a furnace tune-up, water heater safety check, central air tune-up, cleaning of two bath vent fans, cleaning of the refrigerator coil, and the dryer vent cleaning.

Home Service Plus® is CenterPoint Energy’s non-regulated business providing repair plans, repair and maintenance services and new product sales and installation in the categories of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and home appliances. HSP serves the Minneapolis / St. Paul Twin Cities metro area and Greater Minnesota. Visit www.HSPtoday.com or call 877-HSP-1664 to learn more about Home Service Plus and schedule your dryer vent cleaning.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total more than $22 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is the state’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serving about 800,000 customers in 260 communities. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.