The New York State Electric and Gas Corp. is reminding 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. 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, and meters and regulators, and make sure they remain clear and accessible. After the storm passes, snow or debris should be removed gently by hand or with a broom to avoid damage. Customers should be alert to potential ice buildup on rooftops and gutters. Falling ice and snow can be dangerous, and damage utility meters and regulators.
“We want customers to stay comfortable and safe all winter,” said Dennis Bender, director of gas operations. “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.”
Call NYSEG at (800) 572-1121 to report gas leaks, odors or damaged gas equipment. If there is a suspected leak, leave the area or building and call from outside or a neighbor’s home. If there’s an immediate danger, call 911.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors need to be located on every level of the home, outside all sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. These should be tested monthly, with the batteries replaced at least twice a year.
Never use a 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. Residents can call 311 for resources if they are unable to keep their home safely and comfortably heated.
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. Residents adding a natural gas-fired generator need to consult their 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.