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Natural gas storm safety
natural gas storm safety

Snow and ice buildup on your natural gas meter can create a safety hazard and even cut off the flow of natural gas to your heating equipment and other appliances. To avoid trouble, gently remove snow and ice from on and around the meter with your hands or a broom.

Gas meters and regulators are durable and designed with the weather in mind, but a coating of ice or snow could cause a loss of service and become a critical safety issue. When possible, remove the snow before it has a chance to freeze.

    Tips to help you during and after the storm

    • Gently clear snow away by hand or with a broom. Do not use a shovel, ice pick or other sharp tools, damage could result and make the situation worse.
    • Keep snow blowers and shovels away from gas meters and other above-ground equipment.
    • Carefully clear snow away from the outdoor vent on high-efficiency furnaces. The furnace won’t run safely and efficiently if the vent is blocked.
    • Safely remove ice buildup from overhead eaves that could fall and damage gas meters below.
    • Point out the meter and any other above-ground utility structures to anyone you hire for snow removal. 

    More ways to stay safe

    • Natural gas smells like rotten eggs for a reason. If your nose picks up this scent, immediately leave the area, and call 911 once you’re away from the site.
    • Wait for Black Hills Energy or emergency personnel to arrive before re-entering the building. Emergency personnel will let you know when it’s safe to return.
    • Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or use anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
    • Ensure your home is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, and never use gas ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home

    What can I do to stay warm if I lose power?

    • With the extreme cold temperatures causing widespread power outages, you may also experience a disruption in your natural gas service. Here are ways to stay warm and safe in your home if your gas service is interrupted:
    • Preserve the heat inside - avoid opening doors and close blinds and drapes to keep your house from cooling down.
    • A temporary loss of electricity will prevent your furnace from running. Once service is restored, your furnace should automatically restore operation. You’re encouraged to call an HVAC professional if that is not the case.
    • Dress in layers - wear multiple layers of clothing along with a hat and gloves.
    • In extreme cold, avoid wood fireplaces because they require extra ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
    • Never use outdoor barbecue grills, kerosene heaters or camping heaters inside your home because they emit carbon monoxide.
    • If you are having trouble keeping your home warm during a natural gas service outage, do not stay overnight. Consider spending the night with family or friends or at a hotel if that’s an option.
    • Also, to minimize frozen pipes, Black Hills Energy recommends leaving a small stream of water running from all indoor faucets (a few drops from both the hot and cold faucets). 
    • Keep garage doors closed and minimize opening of doors to keep cold air out.

     

    What should I do as the storm clears?

    Stay up to date on potential outages by visiting our Facebook or Twitter pages. We also share information with local media.