JACKSON, Mich., Dec. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With continued freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall expected across Michigan, Consumers Energy is urging residents to keep safety top of mind and make sure gas and electric meters and gas furnace fresh air intakes pipes are free from snow and ice.
"At Consumers Energy, our wish is that Michigan residents enjoy the holidays and stay safe all winter long. Taking the simple yet important safety step of keeping meters free of ice and snow can help ensure that safety remains a top priority for all," said Charles Crews, Consumers Energy's vice president of gas operations.
Crews offered these four important safety tips:
- Remove snow and ice from around natural gas and electric meters. If snow and ice is allowed to build up, it can become compacted and freeze around the meter, causing damage that can interfere with its proper operation, and can also affect appliances served by that meter.
- Snow should always be removed by hand, never with a shovel, metal/wood tools or power snow removal equipment.
- Residents living in mobile/manufactured homes should safely clear away snow from rooftop chimneys, fresh air intakes and furnace exhaust pipes. The furnace can then be re-cycled and should operate properly.
- Residents with high-efficiency furnaces should make sure the intake pipes (typically two white plastic pipes coming out from the side of the home) are free from drifting snow to prevent possible obstructions that could interfere with safe operation.
Safely removing snow and ice around meters, intake valves and chimneys can also help prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is called the "silent killer" because it is a colorless, odorless and tasteless toxic gas that can be produced when appliances are not operating or venting properly.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often mimic the flu and include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and stinging or burning of the eyes. If any of these symptoms are experienced, leave the area immediately and call 911 or your local fire department for immediate help.
"Installing an audible carbon monoxide alarm can literally be a lifesaver because it is the only way to be warned if this dangerous gas is ever produced. During the winter months when doors and windows are closed and furnaces are operating more carbon monoxide problems tend to occur," Crews said.
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.
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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SOURCE Consumers Energy