WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published January 28, 2014, 09:59 AM

Keep gas meters clear of ice and snow, Xcel urges

GRAND FORKS - With winter weather affecting the Upper Midwest, Xcel Energy urges natural gas customers to keep their gas meters free of ice and snow to prevent the potential for a dangerous natural gas pressure buildup in their homes.

GRAND FORKS - With winter weather affecting the Upper Midwest, Xcel Energy urges natural gas customers to keep their gas meters free of ice and snow to prevent the potential for a dangerous natural gas pressure buildup in their homes.

The accumulation of ice and snow on or around natural gas meters can lead to a hazardous natural gas buildup inside a house or other buildings. Melting snow and ice on roofs and in trees can drip on meters, then refreeze, increasing the potential for a meter malfunction. Xcel Energy also recommends that appliance vents, often located on a home's roof, be kept clear in order to operate properly.

The natural gas meter's regulator vent is especially vulnerable to plugging any time there is a combination of snow and ice buildup and fluctuating temperatures. A plugged vent can adversely affect the operation of the gas pressure regulator, resulting in a potentially hazardous condition by preventing the flow of natural gas.

Xcel Energy strongly recommends that customers very gently remove snow or ice from the gas meter and any associated piping and the roofline above the meter. Also check to ensure that melting snow or ice is not dripping on the meter from the roof or nearby trees, which can plug the vent if it refreezes.

It is also recommended that customers maintain a clean path to and from the meter to allow easy access in the event of an emergency. Carefully shovel around the meter and clear the meter itself by hand. Avoid using any sharp tool, shovels or snow blowers on or near the meter and piping.

Xcel Energy reminds snowplow operators to not plow snow into or around outside gas meters as this could damage the meters or piping, and possibly cause a dangerous situation.

Xcel Energy encourages annual inspections of natural gas appliances and venting systems as a key defense against carbon monoxide poisoning. With heavy snowfall, it's possible that your home's venting systems, such as an outdoor air intake vent to a fuel-burning appliance, can become packed with snow or ice.

It's also important to make sure that these vents are not clogged with debris such as leaves and birds' nests.

Tags: