Virginia Natural Gas provides tips to stay safe during winter storm

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
With a winter storm headed our way, Virginia Natural Gas is providing some tips to help keep you safe this weekend.  Here’s what you need to know:
Before the storm:
  • Customers are encouraged to know where their natural gas meter is located.
  • Virginia Natural Gas advises customers to leave their gas meter on to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within their homes or businesses and to prevent water from entering the lines should flooding occur. Most gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out.
  • Your natural gas service should operate uninterrupted throughout the storm. Only Virginia Natural Gas or emergency personnel should turn the valve off.
  • Customers are urged to report a natural gas emergency to the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342.
 During/Immediately after the storm:
  • Heavy snow and ice may weigh down power lines and tree limbs, causing them to fall. If a natural gas meter is damaged or underground gas line is exposed, immediately leave the area and call the 24-hour emergency response line, 1-877-572-3342, from a safe location.
  • To ensure the safe, proper operation of natural gas appliances, such as a furnace and water heater, and to prevent a potentially hazardous buildup of carbon monoxide within your home or business, ensure that outdoor vent openings and air intakes are not obstructed by snow or ice.
  • If you smell the rotten egg odor that is often associated with natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present, immediately leave the affected area and call the 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location. Never try to identify the source of a leak yourself.
  • Following a weather emergency, ensure the gas meter is visible and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage the meter if it is hidden.
  • Exercise caution removing snow or ice from your natural gas meter assembly. Use your hands or a broom, not a shovel, to brush away snow or ice from your meter and regulator. Never kick or hit your gas meter or its piping with a hammer or any hard object to break away built-up snow or ice.
  • If flooding occurs at a residence or business and the gas appliances are or have been submerged under water, do not try to operate the appliances until they have been inspected by a qualified plumber or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional.