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News Release

Alliant Energy reminds customers: Keep snow and ice off meters and vents
Heavy snow and ice can affect natural gas meters and power lines and poles

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – January 16, 2014 – As this winter storm moves through the area, Alliant Energy’s gas utility reminds customers not to forget about clearing snow and ice from their gas meter as well as their furnace vents and other vents around their home.

It’s important heavy snow accumulation can cover natural gas meters as well as other vents around your home. Natural gas meters have regulators and a vent to allow gas to escape. If the vent is blocked, your gas system could malfunction

New energy-efficient furnaces and water heaters vent out the side of a home, instead of the top. If either the side wall vent or the roof top vent becomes blocked, the appliances could stop working and create a build-up of carbon monoxide.

Customers should also be aware of the dangers and risks of carbon monoxide (CO). The risk of illness or death from carbon monoxide increases in the winter. Every home should have at least one working CO monitor in the home.

Important safety tips:

  • Don’t pile snow on or near the meter when shoveling or using a snow blower
  • Use your hands or a brush, not a shovel, to clear snow and ice from the meter
  • Never bang on the meter or pipes
  • Don’t let dripping water or freezing rain build up on the meter. The vent can become plugged when ice and snow melt during the day and refreeze at night
  • Carefully remove icicles hanging above the meter
  • Check furnace and water heater exhaust pipes. If an exhaust pipe is blocked, the furnace or water heater could malfunction or stop working