JACKSON, Mich., Dec. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Now that winter weather with snow, ice and freezing temperatures has arrived across Michigan, Consumers Energy is offering tips to help residents stay safe and save energy while staying warm throughout the heating season.
"During this holiday season and throughout the winter our wish at Consumers Energy is that Michigan residents stay safe. Safety is always our top priority, so we offer some simple yet important energy tips," said Aaron Kantor, Consumers Energy's director of emergency management and public safety.
REMOVE SNOW AND ICE
One of the most important tips is to keep natural gas and electric meters and gas furnace intake pipes free of ice and snow. If snow 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 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 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 piled or drifting snow to prevent possible obstructions that could interfere with safe operation.
- Those living in mobile/manufactured homes should safely clear away snow from rooftop chimneys, fresh air intakes and furnace exhaust pipes.
- Safely removing snow and ice around meters, intake valves and chimneys can also help prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Often called the "silent killer," carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless toxic gas that can be produced when appliances are not operating or venting properly. Keep chimneys and vent pipes free of obstructions like leaves and nests.
- Installing a UL listed audible carbon monoxide alarm is the only way to be warned if this dangerous gas is produced. Most carbon monoxide problems occur in the winter when doors and windows are closed and furnaces are operating.
- Never use a generator inside of your home, basement, garage or near a window.
- Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
- Do not store paper and other flammable materials near your furnace or appliances.
- When using space heaters, keep the heater away from curtains, drapes, bedspreads and other flammable materials. Always unplug the heater before you leave the home or go to bed.
WAYS TO REDUCE ENERGY
- Change your thermostat settings -- Save energy by setting your heat to a lower temperature. Use your programmable thermostat to set your heat at 68 degrees when you are home and 65 degrees when you are away for less than 5 hours. If you're going to be away for more than five hours, set the thermostat to 58 degrees.
- Maintain your furnace: Have a professional inspect your furnace every year to be certain it is running as efficiently as possible. Also, change your furnace filter regularly.
- Prep your windows and doors: Check for leaks in your windows and doors by feeling around for cool air. Caulk, fill, or weather-strip if necessary.
- Pay attention to your water heater: In most homes, the water heater is the second highest energy user. Set your water heater to the lowest setting, or 120 degrees. For more savings, put a manufacturer's recommended insulation blanket around your water heater.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or 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.
LEARN MORE: Check out winter safety tips and ways to use less energy during cold weather: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/coldweather
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SOURCE Consumers Energy