UNDATED -- The recent heavy snowfall is prompting Xcel Energy to remind customers to keep your natural gas meter free of snow and ice this winter.

The gas meter's regulator vent is vulnerable to plugging from snow and ice buildup. A plugged regulator can cause malfunctions and a potential buildup of natural gas in your home.

Some tips include, gently removing snow and ice from the gas meter, piping and roof line. Never use sharp tools, shovels or snow blowers on or near the meter and pipes, and make sure melting snow or ice isn't dripping onto the meter.

It's also a good idea to clear your roof vents of snow and ice to ensure proper ventilation.

If you smell natural gas in your home, leave immediately and call 911.