National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) advises homeowners to be vigilant and pay attention to outdoor gas meters, furnaces, and vents throughout the winter season. With this week’s predicted weather, snow, ice, and extreme temperatures can pose a variety of safety and performance issues for heating systems.
Ensure outdoor gas meter safety and proper service by:
- Keeping the gas meter, and the area around the meter, free of snow
- Clearing paths to the meter
- Exercising caution when working, shoveling, plowing, or snow blowing around your meter
- Calling National Fuel, 1-800-365-3234, if a meter becomes encased in ice; do not attempt to break or melt the ice
- Exercising caution when removing icicles from a meter or any area of the roof above the meter
- Not letting children play or climb on the meter
Natural gas furnaces and fireplaces have a vent pipe or flue that sends exhaust and gaseous byproducts outdoors through a chimney or pipe. Furnace exhaust vents can become easily clogged by debris, ice, or snow, causing the furnace to shut off or operate inefficiently. Blocked vents also can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide gas inside a residence.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and dangerous gas produced when fuel (heating oil, propane, kerosene, charcoal, gasoline, wood, or natural gas) is burned without enough air for complete combustion. When inhaled, carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness, brain damage, and death. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include fatigue, coughing, headache, irregular breathing, dizziness, overall paleness, nausea, and cherry red lips and/or ears. Those experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately open windows and doors, move outside, and call 911.
Avoid a carbon monoxide emergency by:
- Having a qualified professional inspect and test chimney, appliances, and heating equipment annually
- Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home
- Never use a gas oven or stovetop for heating your home
- Never run a gasoline engine (such as a generator) or an automobile in an enclosed space
- Never use a portable charcoal or propane grill indoors
As always, if you Smell Gas, Leave Fast: If a rotten-egg natural gas odor is present, leave the premises immediately and call National Fuel’s emergency line, 1-800-444-3130, from a different location. If you smell an odor of gas outdoors, please call National Fuel’s emergency number and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.nationalfuel.com/utility/gas-safety.
Finally, National Fuel’s energy-efficiency rebate program offers residential customers in Western New York several money-saving rebates for replacing specified appliances with new, energy-efficient models as well as rebates for furnace and boiler tune-up services. For more information, please visit www.fuelingtomorrowtoday.com.