Your gas appliance vents and meter can take a beating during the winter months. While they’re designed to handle normal winter weather conditions, including heavy snow and freezing temperatures, large accumulations of ice and snow can cause detrimental effects.

Check your vents and meter regularly when New Jersey gets cold and snowy to prevent the following problems.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – The most serious problem occurs when your gas furnace vents prevent noxious gases from venting properly and fresh air intakes are unable to suck exterior air into the system. This causes an accumulation of CO, which decreases your indoor air quality and can lead to CO poisoning. Make sure you have properly functioning CO detectors installed on each level of your house, including the basement and in the hallways outside of sleeping areas.

Furnace and heat pump failures – When your furnace can’t vent properly, it can cause furnace malfunctions. Many of our winter services call for heat pumps and furnace issues can be traced to blocked vents. Keeping the vents clear improves your furnace’s energy efficiency and overall performance and prevents unnecessary service calls.

Meters should also be kept free of snow and ice. Your meter needs to be readily visible and available to local utility companies for routine meter readings, maintenance, or emergency service.

Additionally, falling icicles, hard-packed snow that drops from your eaves, or melting water that drops and freezes directly on your meter can cause serious damage. Never kick or knock the meter to clear it of snow and/or ice. Try to use your hands or a broom to clear snow and ice, rather than a shovel or scraper, to prevent further damage. Never use a plow or snow blower near your meter.

If you’re unable to clear your meter, call your local utility company and they’ll be happy to come out and take care of it for you free of charge.

If you’re unsure where your gas appliance vents and meter are located or need help keeping them free of snow and ice, contact Pipe Works Services. We’ve provided quality service to New Jersey residents since 1999. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chatham, NJ, and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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