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Why you're being asked to clear ice and snow from your home gas meter

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A health hazard is lurking in the snow and ice outside many Minnesota homes.

The Associated Press reports that homeowners who heat with natural gas are being asked to clear their meters of the winter piles. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Pipeline Safety says ice or snow could lead to a possible gas leak, fire or explosion, or interruptions in service.

The Park Rapids Enterprise explained that residential natural gas meters have a pressure regulator vents that must be unobstructed to work properly. Gas meters that ice up regularly are usually below the drip line of a roof and catch moisture when snow melts.

Authorities advise people to brush the snow off and not shovel it away from the meter. Residents should call their gas company if the meter is covered in ice; professionals have the proper training and tools to safely open up the vent. Homeowners are also advised to maintain a clear path to and from the meter.

KVRR in Fargo-Moorhead adds that appliance vents on roofs should also be kept clear in order to work properly and safely.

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