JACKSON, Mich., Nov. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As colder weather moves in and furnaces heat up around Michigan, Consumers Energy is offering simple tips to help ensure warmth and safety.
"At Consumers Energy safety is our most important priority, for our customers, our communities and our employees. We want to help ensure everyone stays warm and remains safe, no matter what kind of weather Mother Nature brings this winter," said Mary Palkovich, vice president of energy delivery.
The first tip Palkovich shared is how to identify a possible natural gas leak. Signs can include a distinctive "rotten egg" smell, a blowing or hissing sound, bubbling in wet areas, dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area, or flames if a leak has ignited.
If you suspect a natural gas leak:
- Leave the area immediately, go to a safe location and call Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 or dial 9-1-1. Consumers Energy will respond at no charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Do not try to locate the source of the leak. Do not use anything that could cause a spark including electrical devices, light switches, cell phones or garage door openers.
- Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters. Do not start vehicles parked near the area.
- Do not re-enter the building until a Consumers Energy employee says it is safe.
Other winter safety tips include:
- Have furnaces or boilers inspected once a year using a qualified service/heating and cooling professional.
- Change furnace air filters at least once every other month (more often with pets in the home) during the heating season.
- Weather permitting, visually inspect the chimney and vent pipes to make sure they are free of obstructions such as leaves and nests.
- Do not leave supplemental heaters or a fireplace unattended. Keep clothing, papers and other flammable items away from furnaces, appliances and supplemental heaters.
- Never use gas stoves or charcoal grills to heat homes. These appliances can produce dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) when used improperly.
- Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm that will sound if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are present in a home or building. CO is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas caused by incomplete combustion of fuels including natural gas, propane, kerosene, wood, oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and charcoal.
- Operate generators with adequate ventilation. Never use a generator in a basement, enclosed garage or near air intakes.
- Keep gas and electric meters clear of snow and ice. A build up can become compacted and freeze, causing damage that interferes with proper operation of meters. Remove snow and ice by hand, never with power equipment.
- To help keep meter readers and other field employees safe, customers are asked to keep a path free of snow and ice to their meter. This also helps reduce the need for estimating energy use.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
LEARN MORE: Learn about natural gas and electric safety: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/safety
Media Contacts: Debra Dodd, 586-918-0597, or Terry DeDoes, 517-374-2159
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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SOURCE Consumers Energy