Columbia Gas Reminds Customers to Clear Natural Gas Meters of Snow and Ice

Jan 26, 2015

Pay attention to snow drifts that block exhaust vents or cover gas meters

Westborough, MA – January, 2015 – With the forecast of a severe winter storm,  Columbia Gas is reminding customers to keep their natural gas meter free from snow and ice.  Also, clear snow and ice around the fresh air and exhaust vents for gas appliances to prevent equipment malfunction, and a possible carbon monoxide situation.   

Use caution when clearing snow off flat roofs, particularly in commercial or industrial buildings. There may be roof-top heating or cooling equipment, as well as electric or fuel lines on the roof.  These facilities may not be easily visible under a couple feet of snow.

Natural gas meters may be located either inside or outside the building.  Inside gas meters are vented to the outside.  Although the gas meter and equipment are designed to withstand winter weather conditions, heavy or hard-packed snow and ice, icicles falling from building eaves, or water dripping from a roof and freezing on the natural gas meter venting, could  create a potential safety hazard.  

To help avoid these types of problems, customers are urged to follow some basic tips:

  • Keep your gas meter clear of ice and snow.Where possible, use a broom instead of a shovel.If your gas meter is completely encased in ice, call Columbia Gas to assist you.
  • Make sure your gas meter is visible at all times and accessible for maintenance by Columbia Gas personnel, and if necessary, emergency responders.

Keep Natural Gas Meters and Exhaust Vents Clear

  • Keep gas vents unobstructed and free of debris:
    • Some direct vent and high efficiency appliances have side wall vents and air intakes that could become obstructed during heavy snow fall
    • NEVER kick or hit your gas meter or its piping with a hammer to break away built-up snow or ice. Remove the snow or ice with your hands.
    • If you smell the odor of natural gas inside, leave immediately and
      • Call 911 and Columbia Gas at 1-800-525-8222, from a nearby safe location. Stay nearby until a gas company representative arrives, or leave a note on your door stating where you can be reached.
      • Do not use matches, electric switches or operate any appliances.
      • If you smell natural gas outside your home or business, immediately leave the area and from a safe distance call 911 and Columbia Gas at 1-800-525-8222.
      • Any other non-gas odor questions can be answered at 1-800-688-6160.

      About Columbia Gas of Massachusetts:

      Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is an energy services company serving nearly 300,000 natural gas customers in Massachusetts. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NiSource Inc., based in Merrillville, Ind. NiSource Inc. is a Fortune 500 holding company whose core operating companies engage in natural gas transmission, storage and distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution. NiSource operating companies deliver energy to 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England.  Visit Columbia Gas at