COLUMBIA GAS REMINDS CUSTOMERS TO CLEAR NATURAL GAS METERS OF SNOW AND ICE
February 2, 2011– With record snowfall in the Northeast this winter, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is reminding customers to keep their natural gas meter free from snow and ice. Additionally, snow and ice build-up around the fresh air and exhaust vents for gas appliances may result in equipment malfunction, and could possibly create a hazardous situation with carbon monoxide.
Natural gas meters may be located either inside or outside the building. Inside gas meters are vented to the outside. The gas meter and equipment are designed to withstand winter weather conditions. The concern is that heavy or hard-packed snow and ice, icicles falling from building eaves, or water dripping from a roof and freezing on the natural gas meter venting, could possibly create a potential safety hazard.
To help avoid these types of problems, customers are urged to follow some basic tips:
· Keep your gas meter clear of ice and snow. Where possible, use a broom instead of a shovel. If your gas meter is completely encased in ice, call Columbia Gas to assist you.
· Make sure your gas meter is visible at all times and accessible for maintenance by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts service personnel, and if necessary, emergency responders.
· Keep gas vents unobstructed and free of debris:
o Some direct vent and high efficiency appliances have side wall vents and air intakes that could become obstructed during heavy snow fall
· NEVER kick or hit your gas meter or its piping with a hammer to break away built-up snow or ice. Remove the snow or ice with your hands.
· If you smell the odor of natural gas inside, leave immediately
o Call Columbia Gas of Massachusetts at 1-800-525-8222, from a nearby safe location.
o Stay nearby until a gas company representative arrives, or leave a note on your door stating where you can be reached.
o If you suspect natural gas, do not use matches, electric switches or operate any appliances.
· If you should smell natural gas outside your home or business, please immediately leave the area and from a safe distance dial 911 and Columbia Gas of Massachusetts at 1-800-525-8222.
· Do not dig around a natural gas line without first calling Dig Safe at 811 to have your underground utilities located.