AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) and its natural gas companies in Connecticut and Massachusetts remind customers to keep exhaust vents, gas meters and regulators clear of snow and ice as they clean up after winter storms.
Snow, ice, and other debris can block exhaust vents for furnaces, water heaters and similar appliances, potentially causing toxic fumes and poisonous carbon monoxide to build up indoors. Furthermore, snow and ice accumulated around natural gas meters and regulators can prevent gas company personnel and first-responders from locating and accessing them during an emergency.
Customers should note the location of outdoor vents, including sidewall vents, as well as meters and regulators, and make sure they remain clear and accessible. After the storm has safely passed, snow or debris should be removed gently by hand or with a broom to avoid damage. Customers should also be alert to potential ice build-up on rooftops and gutters. Falling ice and snow can damage utility meters and regulators.
“We want customers to stay comfortable and safe all winter. Taking the simple, but important step of keeping gas equipment free of snow and ice can help prevent serious safety hazards, and ensure that emergency responders have the access they need,” said Robert Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks, the parent company of Berkshire Gas of Massachusetts, Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas.
Here are some additional safety tips:
Call your natural gas company to report gas leaks, odors or damaged gas equipment. If you suspect a leak, leave the area or building and call from outdoors or a neighbor’s home. If there’s an immediate danger, call 911.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be located on every level of your home, outside all sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Test them monthly and replace the batteries at least twice a year.
Never use your stove or oven to stay warm. Only space heaters intended for indoor use should be operated indoors or in enclosed spaces, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are unable to keep your home safely and comfortably heated, call 211 for resources that can help you and your family.
Any generator that plugs into a home’s wiring should be connected via a transfer switch by a licensed electrician. This ensures that when the generator is in use, house wiring is isolated from utility lines. Improper installation can damage the generator, or create hazards for utility employees working on poles, or even the general public. If adding a natural gas-fired generator, consult your gas company to ensure there is adequate pressure. Generators should be placed outdoors and away from doors and windows to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.