Consumers Energy Customers Urged To Keep Furnace Vents, Meters Free Of Snow And Ice For Safety

 Consumers Energy Customers Urged To Keep Furnace Vents, Meters Free Of Snow
                              And Ice For Safety

PR Newswire

ROYAL OAK, Mich., Jan. 6, 2014

ROYAL OAK, Mich., Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Following last weekend's heavy
snowfall across much of Michigan, Consumers Energy is asking customers to keep
safety in mind by making sure their gas furnace fresh air intake pipes and
gas/electric meters are free of snow and ice.

"With the large amount of snow that fell over the past two days, we have
received numerous no-heat calls from customers, particularly those who live in
mobile homes where chimneys are located on top of flat roofs. Snow has piled
up around and blocked many of these chimneys, which causes furnace pilot
lights to go out," said Scott Bartholomew, manager of customer home and
commercial services for Consumers Energy. 

Bartholomew offered these safety tips:

  oMobile Home customers: Safely clear snow away from mobile home rooftop
    chimneys, preferably by using a snow rake. The furnace can then be
    recycled and should operate properly.
  oHigh Efficiency Furnace customers: Make sure the fresh air intake pipes
    (typically two white plastic pipes that come out the side of the home) are
    free from drifting snow to prevent obstructions and improper operation.
  oKeep gas and electric meters clear of snow and ice. When snow and ice is
    allowed to build up it can become compacted and freeze, causing damage
    that interferes with proper operation of meters and related appliances.
    Snow should only be removed by hand, never with a shovel or power snow
    removal equipment.

Bartholomew also warned customers that safe removal of snow and ice around
chimneys, intake valves and meters can help prevent possible carbon monoxide
(CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is colorless, odorless,
tasteless and can be produced when appliances aren't operating or venting

  oSymptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often mimic the flu and include
    headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and stinging
    or burning of the eyes.
  oIf any of these symptoms are experienced, leave the area immediately and
    call 911 or your local fire department for immediate help.
  oThe best defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is to install an
    audible alarm that will sound if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are

To help ensure the safety of meter readers, customers are also asked to keep
their sidewalks, stairways and gate areas free of snow and ice buildup. A
clear path to the meter and a meter that is clearly visible without a build-up
of snow and ice will help make meters easier to read and 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.

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SOURCE Consumers Energy

Contact: Debra Dodd, 586-918-0597, or Brian Wheeler, 517-788-2394
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