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Unitil and Red Cross Warn of Blocked Vents

In a worst-case scenario, your home could fill with deadly carbon monoxide.

In light of additional snow forecasted through the rest of the week, the American Red Cross and Unitil, (, a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, are urging residents to make sure vents and meters remain clear of snow and ice around your home or business.

"One of the dangers brought by all the snow is the potential to block the vents of heating units," Larry French, a disaster program manager for the American Red Cross said. "This could cause the system to shut down, or in a worst-case scenario, your home could fill with deadly carbon monoxide."

As snow accumulates, Unitil and the Red Cross advise customers to take the following steps:
• Remove snow and ice carefully from a meter or outdoor appliance vent carefully with a broom. Do not use a shovel as it can damage the meter.  
• Avoid shoveling or plowing snow up against or covering the meter or pipe.
• Remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters to assure dripping water does not freeze the meter or vent pipe. Contact a qualified roofing vendor if you cannot reach icicles yourself.
• Do not kick your gas meter in an attempt to break ice off, as this too can cause damage.

“With snow totals over the last 10 days approaching four feet in some locations, it becomes a challenge to figure out where to put all the snow, and customers might not understand the importance of making sure one’s vent does not become blocked,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “Know where the vent is at your home, and check it regularly to assure it remains clear.”

For additional advice on preparing for severe winter weather, visit or

About Unitil Corporation
Unitil Corporation provides energy for life by safely and reliably delivering natural gas and electricity in New England. We are committed to the communities we serve and to developing people, business practices, and technologies that lead to dependable, more efficient energy. Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company with operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Together, Unitil’s operating utilities serve approximately 102,700 electric customers and 77,900 natural gas customers. Other subsidiaries include Usource, Unitil’s non-regulated business segment. For more information about our people, technologies, and community involvement, please visit

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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