With more than two feet of snow accumulation across parts of Western New York and another big storm set to hit tonight and tomorrow, National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. reminds homeowners snow and ice pose a variety of safety and performance issues to their heating systems. National Fuel advises all homeowners to be extra vigilant and pay careful attention to their furnaces and vents before, during and after any snowstorm.
Natural gas furnaces and fireplaces each have a vent pipe or flue that sends out exhaust and gaseous byproducts to the outdoors. Depending on the type of furnace, venting takes place through a pipe on the outside of the house or through the chimney. These furnace exhaust vents can easily become clogged with debris, ice or snow. When snow piles up and blocks furnace vents, your furnace could shut off as a safety measure. Other times, it can cause furnaces to operate inefficiently or stop running altogether and break down. Blocked vents can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide gas. Homeowners should make sure their furnace vents are clear of snow, ice, debris or other obstructions. The same applies to your dryer vent; if it is blocked, your dryer may not operate as efficiently as it should.
Keep the area around and above the outdoor gas meter free of snow and ice. Remember to use caution when shoveling, plowing or snow blowing around the meter. Use a broom to remove snow from the meter itself. To avoid accidental damage by a third party, inform anyone who works near your meter (such as a snow removal service) of its location.
If you are experiencing an emergency due to the extreme cold weather, call the emergency number at 1-800-444-3130. This line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Due to severe winter driving conditions, National Fuel is experiencing delays in its service calls in certain affected areas. In those areas affected by the severe snow accumulations, all non-essential, non-emergency calls or prescheduled work is on hold to focus strictly on emergencies.
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. is the utility segment of National Fuel Gas Co., a diversified energy company that is engaged in a number of natural gas-related activities. The utility provides natural gas service to approximately 730,000 customers in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.NationalFuelGas.com.