Be sure gas meters and exhaust pipes are clear of snow

MASON CITY — Our heating systems are facing their biggest test of the winter season right now.

Alliant Energy spokesman, Justin Foss, says there are a couple of things you can do to help your home heating system make it through. Foss says make sure your gas meters are not covered up by drifted snow.

He says there is usually a round disc on the outside of the gas meter that is a vent regulator and that needs to be cleared off.  Foss says don’t use a shovel to clear it, as you might break it, but it needs to be cleared of snow to be able to breathe.

Foss says older homes vent their furnaces and water heaters through the roof, but for newer homes, it’s different. He says the newer models vent to the side of the house and need to be clear of snow to breathe and operate properly.

Foss says there’s no magic answer on where to set your thermostat when it’s this cold outside. “Maybe don’t set it back to 60 degrees or so — but understand that your furnace is going to be running all the time — no matter what you set it at,” Foss explains. Foss adds that carbon monoxide detectors need to be used in your home to detect any malfunction of the water heater or furnace.