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Columbia Gas of Virginia provides winter weather natural gas meter protection tips

columbia gasThe projected low temperatures, snow and ice have prompted the need to raise awareness on how to protect outside natural gas meters.

Natural gas meters and equipment are designed to withstand winter weather conditions; however, hard-packed snow, icicles falling from your eaves, or water dripping from your roof and freezing on your meter can create a safety hazard. Also, excessive snow and ice build-up around the fresh-air and exhaust vents for your natural gas appliances can cause them to malfunction and could create a carbon monoxide hazard.

The following safety tips can support the continued safe, reliable delivery of natural gas.

1. Keep your natural gas meter clear of excessive snow and ice.

  • Make sure your meter is visible at all times and accessible for maintenance and emergency responders, including Columbia Gas personnel and firefighters.
  • Never let excessive snow cover your meter.
  • Don’t shovel snow up against your meter.
  • Where possible, use a broom instead of a shovel to clear snow away from the meter.
  • Take care using a snow blower or plow near your meter.
  • Never kick or hit the gas meter or its piping to break away built-up snow or ice. Remove the snow or ice with your hands.
  • If your gas meter is completely encased in ice, or if you think there’s a potential problem with the piping or equipment, call our 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-544-5606.

2. Keep your eaves and gutters clear.

  • Remove icicles hanging from your eaves or gutters.
  • Protect your meter from dripping water that could freeze on the meter and piping.

3. Keep air supply ducts and vents clear.

  • Keep vents unobstructed and free of debris. Some direct-vent and high-efficiency appliances have side wall vents and air intakes that could become obstructed during heavy snow fall.
  • Gas equipment requires air for safe combustion and venting of appliances.
  • Know where your air supply ducts are and keep them free of snow and ice.
  • Check that your chimney or roof vent is clear.

Why is it so important to keep your meter clear?

  • Accumulated snow places stress on your meter piping and damage to the piping can cause a natural gas leak.
  • In case of emergency, emergency response crews need clear access to your meter.
  • Blocked vents might create abnormal pressure, affect appliance operation, and interrupt service.

About Columbia Gas of Virginia

Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to more than 264,000 customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, Central Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, Lynchburg region and Western Virginia. With headquarters in Chesterfield County, the company is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource, Inc. (NYSE: NI) serving 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers. Always call 811 before you dig and Dig with CARE.

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