Wednesday, April 23, 2014  
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Blocked Meters Can Cause Natural Gas Emergencies

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Cold weather and snow could cause a dangerous problem inside Minnesota homes heated with natural gas.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) officials are urging Minnesota residents to check gas meters on their homes and other buildings to be sure they stay free of ice and snow that can block the regulator vent and cause it to malfunction.

Gas meters have a pressure regulator vent that must be unobstructed to work properly. Two things could happen if that vent is sealed and the gas regulator doesn’t work:
A possible gas leak, which could lead to a fire or explosion
Service interruptions
West advises people to brush the snow off and not shovel it away from the meter. Residents should call their gas company if the meter is covered in ice; professionals have the proper training and tools to safely open up the vent.

Gas meters that ice up regularly are usually below the drip line of a roof, and catch moisture when snow melts and drips. If the meter ices over, plan to clean gutters and set them up in the spring so the meter stays safe year-round.
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