With inclement winter weather conditions looming across the province this week, Enbridge Gas and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) strongly advise Ontario homeowners to check their gas meters and the external exhaust outlets for furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters and all fuel-burning devices to ensure no snow or ice builds up. A forecast of rain for some parts of Ontario makes this important safety task time sensitive in areas where snowfall has begun, as rain has the potential to cause further freezing of accumulated precipitation buildup on gas meters and venting pipes.
“Clearing snow and ice away from the gas meter and the external exhaust outlets for your natural gas burning equipment helps ensure that both the meter and your appliances function safely,” said Neil MacNeil, Director Toronto Region Operations, Enbridge Gas. “It also allows us to access the meter in the case of an emergency.”
A gas meter covered in snow or ice can impede its function of controlling the pressure of the gas supplied to a home, which could lead to serious risks. In addition, blocked external exhaust vents can cause the carbon monoxide (CO) emitted by fuel-burning appliances to build up in a home, which is also a significant safety hazard.
“Exhaust vents, in particular, often extend out of the side of a home as low as one foot above ground, so they have the potential to get covered and blocked fairly easily without a homeowner’s knowledge, especially when a homeowner is shoveling snow or using a snowblower or when there is a severe snow fall,” said Sam Sadeghi, Director, Fuels Safety, TSSA. “We have seen CO poisoning incidents from snow-blocked vents in the past, and these incidents can be fatal, so it’s essential that homeowners are vigilant about keeping their exhaust vents clear.”
Upon noticing a gas meter or external appliance vent pipe is covered with snow, please remove the snow carefully with a car brush or broom. Do not scrape the meter or vent pipe with a sharp instrument, as this may cause unintended damage.
Enbridge Gas reminds Ontarians of these additional safety precautions:
Visit the Enbridge Gas website for more information on keeping gas meters clear.
“We also encourage homeowners to install and test certified CO alarms, which will warn them of rising CO levels in their homes and give them and their families time to take potentially life-saving action,” said Sadeghi. “It is also important for homeowners to be able to recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning, which can occur once a fuel-burning appliance exhaust vent has been blocked.”
To report a meter icing problem or for any other natural gas emergency, call 1-866-763-5427.
About Enbridge Gas
Enbridge Gas is Canada's largest natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario, with over 170 years of service to customers. The distribution business provides safe, affordable, reliable energy to about 3.8 million customers and is leading the transition to a clean energy future through net-zero emissions targets and investments in innovative low-carbon energy solutions. The storage and transmission business offers a variety of storage and transportation services to customers at the Dawn Hub, the largest integrated underground storage facility in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Enbridge Gas is owned by Enbridge (ENB), a Canadian-based leader in energy transportation and distribution. Learn more at www.enbridgegas.com.
About the Technical Standards and Safety Authority
Throughout Ontario, TSSA enforces provincial safety regulations and enhances public safety. TSSA regulates the safety of amusement devices, boilers and pressure vessels, elevating devices, fuels, operating engineers, and ski lifts. Its range of safety services includes public education, certification, licensing and registration, engineering design review, inspections, investigations, safety management consultation, compliance support, enforcement and prosecution activities. For more information, visit www.tssa.org.
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