ERIE, Pa. (WKBN) – National Fuel advises homeowners to be prepared and safe this winter and pay attention to outdoor gas meters, furnaces, and vents.

Snow, ice, and extremely cold temperatures can pose a variety of issues for heating systems. You can ensure outdoor gas meter safety and proper service by:

  • Keeping the gas meter and area around the meter free of snow
  • Clearing paths to the meter
  • Informing those working, shoveling, plowing, or snow blowing of the meter location
  • Not letting children play or climb on the meter
  • Exercising caution when removing icicles from the meter or the area above it
  • Calling National Fuel, 1-800-365-3234, if a meter becomes encased in ice.

Natural gas furnace exhaust vents can become easily clogged by debris, ice, or snow, causing the furnace to shut off or operate inefficiently. Blocked vents also can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide (CO) gas inside a residence. CO poisoning symptoms include fatigue, coughing, headache, irregular breathing, dizziness, overall paleness, nausea, and cherry red lips and ears. Open windows and doors, move outside, and call 911 immediately if experiencing symptoms.

Avoid a CO emergency by:

  • Having a professional inspect and test chimney and heating equipment annually
  • Install at least one CO detector
  • Never use a gas oven or stovetop for heating
  • Never run a gasoline engine, generator, or automobile in an enclosed space
  • Never use a portable charcoal or propane grill indoors.

If you smell gas, leave fast! If a rotten-egg natural gas odor is present, leave the premises immediately and call National Fuel’s emergency line, 1-800-444-3130, from a different location. If you smell gas outdoors, call National Fuel’s emergency number and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor. Customers should be aware that similar to smoke and CO detectors, natural gas detectors are available to detect gas leaks and will sound an audible alarm or voice alert when natural gas is detected. Customers should leave the premises immediately and call National Fuel’s emergency line, 1-800-444-3130, from a different location when gas is detected. Natural gas detectors are available at home improvement stores and online.

Customers can save money this winter and help the environment by becoming more energy
efficient.

Small, inexpensive adjustments include:

  • Using caulk or weather-stripping to reduce leaks and save up to 10% on monthly energy
    bills
  • Buying a programmable thermostat or setting thermostats between 65° and 70° during
    the winter and at 58° when away from the house
  • Closing vents and doors in unused rooms, closing dampers on unused fireplaces, and
    using registers to direct warm airflow across the floor
  • Setting water heaters to 120° or the medium temperature setting, and draining a quart of water from the bottom of the heating tank every three months to remove sediment.

National Fuel customers who are having trouble paying their bills are encouraged to call 1-800-365-3234.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is open. Eligibility is based on income guidelines and household size. For more information, visit www.LIHEAPhelps.com or call 1-877-443-2743.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program remains open for eligible tenant households. ERAP helps renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic receive assistance with paying rent and utility bills. ERAP has higher income eligibility than LIHEAP. Visit www.dhs.pa.gov/coronavirus or call 211 for more information.

For more information, visit www.nationalfuel.com.