Can snow and ice cause a safety problem for gas appliances?
Yes. Most natural gas equipment vent from the roof but some vent from other parts of your home, such as the sidewall. Periodically check outside your home to make sure your furnace, water heater, dryer, or fireplace vents are not blocked by snow and/or ice.
What should I do if I suspect a Carbon Monoxide problem?
Go outside! Then, call 911 or your local fire department. Learn More.
Natural gas appliances have an excellent safety record, but you should know what carbon monoxide is and how it may affect you. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that is created by the incomplete combustion of all fossil fuels.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Effects can be lethal.
Carbon monoxide (CO) detector requirements became law in Massachusetts on March 31, 2006. Detectors are required on every level of your home and within 10 feet of each sleeping area. They may be battery-operated, plug-in or hard-wired.
Don’t use your range or oven to heat your home. These appliances are designed for cooking. Using them as space heaters can generate unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.
The utility areas around your gas appliances should be kept clear of clothing, paper, solvents, paint, trash or other Flammable materials that have the potential to ignite if located too close to gas equipment.
If you are planning to dig on your property, notify Dig Safe at least 72 hours (not including holidays) in advance of the scheduled dig date.
Dig Safe is a statewide program designed to help contractors safely locate all underground utility lines before digging. Damage to underground telephone, gas, electrical or cable TV lines is potentially hazardous and disruptive. State law requires that all such underground lines be located and marked before excavation can begin. Excavation near gas lines should be done with hand tools.
Please call DIG SAFE at 811. There is no charge for this service. Visit Digsafe.com for more information.
Don’t use a phone or cell phone from within your home
Call us from outside or from a neighbor’s phone
Do not assume someone else will report the condition
Provide the exact location, including cross streets
Let us know if sewer construction or digging activities are going on in the area
Use your senses to detect gas leaks. A natural gas leak is usually recognized by smell, sight, or sound.
Natural gas is colorless and odorless. For your safety, Mercaptan, a harmless chemical, is added to natural gas to give it a distinctive, pungent odor, similar to rotten eggs, is added so that you’ll recognize it quickly. Not all transmission lines are odorized. Do not ignore the odor of natural gas. Your safety is at stake!
You may see a white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water or blowing dust. You may also see vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason.
You may hear an unusual noise like roaring, hissing, or whistling.
Remember, if you smell natural gas, get up, get out and call us immediately from a neighbor’s phone. Berkshire Gas will respond quickly to ensure that you and your family are safe.
Can snow and ice create a safety problem for gas meter sets?
Snow and ice accumulation may interfere with the operation of natural gas meters and regulators, or may slow access in case of an emergency. Snow removal activities can also pose a hazard to gas meter assemblies or piping, and result in a dangerous leak.
Snow should not be pushed or piled around meters.
As well, care should be taken in the operation of snow blowers or plows around natural gas meters to avoid damage.
Natural gas meters and regulators should be kept clear of snow and ice by using a broom or by hand – not a shovel.
Keep air vents clear so your gas appliances can operate at their greatest efficiency. Sidewall vented equipment should be kept free of snow.
Should a natural gas meter become encased in ice, or begin to make an unusual noise, customers should contact Berkshire Gas at 800.292.5012.