What do a gas meter and a windshield have in common?

Dec. 27, 2018

A gas meter with snow on it

If you’ve lived in Minnesota for at least one winter, you know that snow and ice affect pretty much every aspect of our lives in the winter months. If you’re not scraping it off your car, you’re shoveling it off your sidewalks or making a snowman from it or simply hiding indoors where it’s warm and cozy.

But there’s one more thing affected by snow and ice that you may not think of: your natural gas meter. If gas is what makes your home warm and cozy (or at least runs some of your appliances), you’ll need to give it a little love when it snows.

Gas meters have a vent that regulates the pressure – but it has to be unobstructed to work properly. This isn’t a problem in warmer months, but when the snow begins to pile up, it’s important to keep the pressure regulator vent clear. If it’s blocked with snow or ice, the consequences aren’t fun. At best, it could lead to a service interruption, which is pretty much the last thing you need when you’re trying to stay warm inside; and at worst, it could lead to a gas leak, which could cause a fire or even an explosion.

How do you avoid these consequences? After it snows (say, when you’re already outside clearing your sidewalks), take a broom, your hands, or the brush for your car windows and gently brush the snow off your gas meter. While you’re at it, don’t forget to look up: The icicles, snow drifts, and ice dams on your roof need to go too. You don’t want them falling on the meter.

If there is ice on your gas meter that won’t come off with a brush or your hands, call your utility company. You might be tempted to try to kick the ice off the meter, or chop away at it with a snow shovel – but this could damage the meter. Your utility company can send a professional who has the proper training and tools to clear the vent safely.

With heavy snow predicted for much of Minnesota over the next couple of days, you’ll definitely want to keep warm inside. You and your family can stay warm and safe if you take a few moments to clear the snow and ice off your natural gas meter.