Heavy snow may damage gas meters
DENVER ” Xcel Energy customers are being encouraged to clear snow away from natural gas meters to help maintain the proper flow of natural gas to their homes and appliances. The company also recommends that appliance vents, often located on a home’s roof, be kept clear in order to operate properly.
Heavy snows have damaged some meters, creating the potential for natural gas leaks. If your home has an outside natural gas meter, check it routinely for any accumulation of ice or snow.
A plugged regulator vent on a natural gas meter can lead to a dangerous buildup of natural gas inside a building andr prevent the meter from operating properly, stopping the flow of natural gas.
Customers must gently remove snow or ice from the natural gas meter and any associated piping. Carefully shovel around a meter and move snow away from it. Avoid using a snow blower near a meter. A covered meter, in addition to being potentially dangerous, can also lead to a loss of service and freezing of inside pipes as a result of lost heat.
If you smell a strong and persistent odor similar to sulfur, you may have a natural gas leak. If you suspect a leak, leave your home immediately. Do not use any electric appliances such as light switches and garage door openers and never use a phone, including a cell phone.
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When you are a safe distance away, call Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-2999 or 911 in an emergency to report the concern.
Xcel Energy also strongly recommends annual inspections of your natural gas appliances and venting systems as a key defense against carbon monoxide poisoning.