Check Home Vents to Prevent Equipment Failure, Fire, Injury or Worse

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Provided by Prince William Fire & Rescue

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Due to the large amount of snow received over the past few days, homeowners are experiencing problems with appliances properly venting, especially gas equipment. PWL Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee urges residents to check the following around their homes to prevent injury, fire or worse:

  • Keep your natural gas meter clear of snow and ice.
    • Make sure your natural gas meter is visible at all times and accessible for maintenance and emergency responders including gas service personnel, meter readers and firefighters.
    • Never let snow completely cover your meter.
    • Don’t shovel snow up against your natural gas meter.
    • Where possible, use a broom instead of a shovel to clear snow away from
    • Don’t use a snow blower or plow near your natural gas meter.
    • Never kick or hit the gas meter or its piping to break away built-up snow or ice. Remove the snow or ice with your hands.
  • Why is it so important to keep your meter clear?


    • Accumulated snow places stress on your natural gas meter piping, and damage to the piping can cause a gas leak.
    • In case of emergency, emergency response crews need clear access to your meter.
    • Blocked vents might create abnormal pressure, affect appliance operation, and interrupt service.
  • Keep air supply ducts and vents clear.
    • Keep vents unobstructed and free of debris. Some direct-vent and high-efficiency appliances have side wall vents and air intakes that could become obstructed during heavy snowfall.
    • Gas equipment requires air for safe combustion and venting of appliances.
      • Vents for gas appliances must be clear to enable proper venting and prevent carbon monoxide accumulation.
    • Know where your air supply ducts are and keep them free of snow and ice.
    • Check that your chimney or roof vent is clear.
  • Keep your eaves and gutters clear.
    • Remove icicles from eaves or gutters.
    • Protect your natural gas meter from dripping water that could freeze on the meter and piping.

If you smell gas, vacate your home immediately and call 911!

For more information, contact your local gas company.


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