Most homes use natural or propane gas for heating. These systems have round, pancake-shaped regulators to ensure the gas goes to the appliances at the correct pressure. As the weather turns cold, there could be a problem with the gas system and you may not know it. Here are photos of a natural and propane gas system:
Natural Gas System clear of snow
Natural Gas System
Propane Second Regular
All regulators have a vent which allows the device to breathe during normal operation; it also functions as a pressure relief opening in an over-pressure situation. For safety purposes, this vent should remain free of dirt, debris, insects, water, snow, and ice. If the regulator vent becomes blocked or the airflow restricted for any reason, the regulator may operate incorrectly which could potentially result in over-pressure an appliance, causing an explosion or fire.
It's important to determine what type of system you have, and to ensure the regulator vent is always clear. As the snow starts to fly, be sure to shovel it away so your regulator system can breathe. Doing so could save your life.