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Utility Officials Remind Customers To Clear Meters Of Snow And Ice

By Staff | Jan 11, 2011

With winter’s snows and winds, the battle of keeping streets, sidewalks and driveways seems like a never-ending battle in our area. While keeping a driveway and sidewalks clear may take a lot of time, there is one other area of snow removal that is all too often overlooked by homeowners. Area utility providers are reminding their customers to make sure that gas and electric meters are cleared of snow and ice, along with furnace exhaust and sewer vents on homes.

Utility officials explain that natural gas meters on homes have a vent on the regulator units that allow gas to escape. If snow or ice blocks this vent, the flow of natural gas through the line into the home could become compromised. In order to clear a meter of snow or ice, homeowners should use their hands, instead of a shovel, to clear snow and ice from a meter. Never bang on the meter or pipes with a hammer or other objects. Officials also urge the removal of any icicles hanging above a meter.

As part of winter safety, all furnace and water heater exhaust pipes should also be checked. Any blockages caused by snow or ice could cause the appliance to malfunction or shut down entirely. Along with exhaust pipes, air intakes for furnaces should also be checked for blockages, and kept clear at the same time. Inadequate air intake for a furnace could lead to incomplete combustion, creating the opportunity for carbon monoxide poisoning to occur.

While checking vents, also pay attention to sewer stack vents on the roof, as blockages could cause backups of sewer gas, or methane, in a home. Methane is an explosive gas that could be set off by pilot lights if accumulations become high enough in a residence.

Finally, if a homeowner has a fire hydrant located on their property, take the time to make sure that snowdrifts of snow removal efforts do not bury the hydrant. In case of a fire, every second is crucial for firefighters, and being forced to dig out a fire hydrant buried in snow takes precious moments away from fighting a fire that could threaten more than just property and possessions.