As cold weather continues and snow is forecast in many parts of our service territory, Columbia Gas wants to remind people about simple tips that can keep you and your home safe during the winter.
- Make sure all appliances and heating equipment—such as a furnace, water heater or stove—are inspected and operating properly, and operate all pieces of equipment according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Keep natural gas meters and exterior vents clear of snow and ice to prevent damage and provide easy access should maintenance be needed. Remove snow from the meter with hands or a broom. Never use a shovel, or kick or hit the meter to break away snow or ice. If the meter is encased in ice, contact Columbia Gas for assistance.
- Check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors to ensure they are operating properly. Carbon monoxide can accumulate in enclosed spaces due to faulty equipment or with improper venting.
- Never use stoves, ovens, or outdoor grills as a source of heat.
- Provide adequate ventilation when using fireplaces or unvented space heaters.
- If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away from things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
- Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. Using secondary heating sources, such as space heaters, can increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
- If you smell the “rotten egg” odor of natural gas, whether inside your home or outside, leave the area immediately and call 911 and Columbia Gas at 1-888-460-4332 from a safe location.
- Do not operate anything that could cause a spark, including lights, cell phones, flashlights, or appliances. Don't open the windows and doors in an attempt to ventilate. Don't try to find the leak yourself or operate pipeline valves.
- Stay nearby until a gas company representative arrives, or leave a note on you door stating where you can be reached. Don't return until you receive an all-clear indication that the situation is safe.
For more information about staying safe, visit our Stay Safe section.