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Cold Weather Tips for Your Home

Immediate energy-conserving measures customers can take to reduce their natural gas usage include:
  • Set the thermostat in your home lower – while everyone has their own level of comfort, setting the thermostat lower by even a few degrees for a period of time, can help reduce the amount of energy consumed in your home
  • Avoid using natural gas appliances such as natural gas logs and grills that are not typically the primary source of heating or cooking in a home
Additional cold weather tips for your home:
  1. Disconnect all exterior water hoses
  2. If you have a tankless water heater located outside:
    • Run at least one faucet throughout the night and as long as temperatures are below 15 degrees
    • Run a cold water faucet so it puts out a steady stream of water. A cold water faucet will keep the water flowing in the pipes below the heater
  3. If you have any plumbing along an exterior wall, run the fixture throughout the night:
    • If it is a two-handle faucet, run both the hot and cold water
    • If it is a single handle faucet, put it in the middle
    • Open the doors on all sink cabinets to let warm air in from the house
    • If you have a toilet or washing machine on an outside wall, turn the connection to the off position when it is not in use
  4. If you have a vented crawlspace, close the vents at night
  5. Make sure you know where your main water valve is located in case you need to shut off the water
  6. Learn more about protecting your home's water pipes during the winter

Protecting your natural gas meter in winter

While heavy snow and ice storms are infrequent in our area, excessive snowfall and abnormal icy weather has the potential to damage natural gas meters, regulators and pipes located on the outside of homes and businesses.

Damage can occur from:

  • Additional loading of heavy ice and snow
  • Clearing of snow from around natural gas facilities
  • Snow and ice falling from roofs, either from melting or someone shoveling snow off the roof 
  • Ice forming in or on natural gas meters

In addition, exterior vents for natural gas appliances can become blocked with heavy snow and ice.  This could shut down heating equipment or draw exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide back into the home.

Keep your family safe and warm during the winter by taking some protective measures:

  • Conduct regular visual checks of your natural gas meter to see that it’s free of ice and snow, especially if the meter is exposed to melting precipitation
  • If your natural gas meter is completely encased in snow or ice, or if you think there may be a problem, call Piedmont Natural Gas at 1-800-752-7504
  • Always keep a clear path to your natural gas meter to allow quick access in an emergency
  • Vents for natural gas appliances should be cleared following a major snow or ice storm to allow for proper venting and to prevent carbon monoxide accumulation
  • Do not pile snow against your natural gas meter, gas piping or the venting pipes from gas appliances when shoveling driveways or walkways
  • If possible to do so safely, remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters so dripping water does not splash and freeze on your meter
  • Never kick, hit or apply any type of heat source to your natural gas meter to break or clear ice

Important reminders

  • If your natural gas meter is completely encased in snow or ice, or if you think there may be a problem, call Piedmont Natural Gas at 1-800-752-7504
  • If you smell a natural gas odor, leave the area immediately and from a safe location, call 911 and Piedmont Natural Gas at 1-800-752-7504. Wait until a Piedmont Natural Gas representative arrives before returning to the area
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