The most important tip Crews 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 and 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.
About 42 percent of a typical home's annual energy use is attributed to space heating, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Crews also offered these tips to enhance home comfort:
- If your heating system is 10 years old or older, consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR qualified model. If installed correctly these high-efficiency units can reduce heating costs by up to 20 percent. Consumers Energy offers rebates from $200 to $1,000 on a natural gas furnace or boiler.
- Change furnace air filters once every month during the heating season. A dirty filter restricts airflow and wastes energy.
- Check for air leaks in doors, windows, exterior plumbing and electrical accesses as well as attic joists. Seal with expandable foam, insulation strips, caulking or weather stripping.
- Set your thermostat to a lower temperature at night or when you are away from home. Install a programmable thermostat to add convenience and increase savings. You'll typically save 1 to 3 percent on your heating costs for every degree you dial down. Consumers Energy offers rebates from $10 to $50 on programmable thermostats and Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats.
- Hire a qualified professional to perform a home energy audit. An auditor will help you target the most effective opportunities to make your home more energy efficient.
Consumers Energy has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year for Sustained Excellence for efforts to reduce Michigan residents' energy use.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 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
LEARN MORE: Find out about available energy efficiency rebates: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/save
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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SOURCE Consumers Energy