Preparing for Winter: Safeguarding Natural Gas Meters in Snowy Regions

By Southwest Gas

As another winter season approaches, the lessons learned from the heavy snowfall of last year are still fresh in our minds. The weight of snow and ice accumulation puts undue stress on meters and piping, potentially causing leaks and other hazards. Our community’s safety is paramount, and Southwest Gas has some helpful safety tips and precautions for customers.

Southwest Gas Behind the Meter Reno-LakeTahoe Area Corporate Photography by Mark Skalny 1-888-658-3686
Southwest Gas Behind the MeterCorporate Photography Services by Mark Skalny

Southwest Gas urges customers in heavy snowfall areas to proactively install a snow shelter to protect the natural gas meter and surrounding piping. Once the first snowfall hits, it is too late to install a snow shelter. Installing a structurally engineered snow shelter prevents snow and ice accumulation on the meter and lessens the chances of damage to natural gas infrastructure, which reduces the potential of customers being without natural gas to heat their homes and businesses, cook, access hot water, and use clothes dryers for extended periods of time.

For the safety of the customer and the community, Southwest Gas will immediately suspend service to a home or business when damage from snow and ice is discovered at a natural gas meter or surrounding piping. Gas service will only be restored when snow and ice are cleared, adequate meter protection is installed, and requirements imposed by the local jurisdiction have been observed by the customer.

For additional information about snow shelters, including tips to help protect against potential snow damage, snow shelter design drawings, and contractor referrals,  visit or call 877-860-6020.

While a snow shelter is the preferred method to keep meters safe, there are other practical ways to keep infrastructure safe during the winter months:

  1. Use a Broom: Instead of a shovel, use a broom to clear snow or ice off the natural gas meter and outdoor appliances, including regulators and associated piping. Using a broom is gentler and less likely to damage the equipment.
  2. Avoid Piling Snow: When shoveling, plowing, or using a snow blower, make sure not to pile snow on or near the gas meter or outdoor appliances. Keep these areas clear to prevent potential damage.
  3. Gutter Maintenance: Ensure that all outside gutters, especially those above or near the natural gas meter and outdoor appliances, are free of leaves and debris. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage and obstruct ventilation.
  4. Ventilation Checks: Natural gas appliances require proper exhaust and ventilation. It’s crucial to know the location of air supply and exhaust ducts and keep them free of snow, ice, leaves, or debris. Clearing vents prevents operational issues and the accumulation of harmful carbon monoxide in buildings.

In preparation for the colder months, it’s also a good time to get natural gas appliances inspected. While Southwest Gas doesn’t perform inspections on natural gas appliances, such as gas fireplaces or stoves, customers are encouraged to visit for a comprehensive list of approved contractors who can help ensure the safety and efficiency of these appliances.

As winter approaches and the memory of last year’s heavy snow season lingers, safeguarding the natural gas meter and appliances isn’t a matter to be taken lightly. Remember, the key to winter readiness is early preparation.

Southwest Gas is dedicated to safely and reliably delivering an energy source that helps sustain and support quality of life in our communities. Customers are welcome to contact the company if they have questions about natural gas safety or their gas service.

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