As the property owner, you’re responsible for maintenance and operation of all gas lines that flow from the meter to appliances or other structures such as pools or garages. Learn more about how to keep gas lines you own operating safely.
Carbon Monoxide is odorless, colorless, tasteless, and can be deadly. The best way to protect your family is with a carbon monoxide detector. Learn more about how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Gas and electric lines are often buried and out of sight. It’s important to call 811 before digging to have underground utility lines marked. You are responsible for marking lines that flow from the meter to garages, gas grills and yard lights.
Follow these tips to help use your electric and natural gas appliances safely.
Severe Weather Safety Tips
Identifying a Consumers Energy Employee
Maintaining Your Natural Gas Lines
As your natural gas provider, we maintain all natural gas underground facilities from the gas main up to and including the gas meter. As the property owner, you’re responsible for maintenance and operation of all gas lines that flow from the meter to all appliances. This includes gas lines to your yard lights, grills, pool and spa heaters, garages, workshops or other similar areas.
You should have a regular maintenance program for the underground lines you own. These lines must be checked for leaks and, if metallic, corrosion.
It is required to call Miss Dig at 811 at least three days prior to any digging projects around your yard. Miss Dig will have utility company’s mark their underground facilities. A mechanical contractor will need to mark appliance lines. If you have an outdoor sprinkler system, you will also need to mark those lines.
Never hang clothes or other items on indoor gas lines, which could lead to a gas leak. Have gas appliances regularly inspected by a qualified contractor and follow all other manufacturer instructions. Any time you smell gas, leave the area immediately and call1-800-477-5050. For more information, visit our Natural Gas Safety page.
Damaging a gas line is a serious safety concern. Report all gas leaks to Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 from a safe location.
Electric Safety in your Home
- Replace damaged or loose electrical cords.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
- In homes with small children, make sure to install tamper-resistant (TR) outlets.
- Follow manufacturer's instructions for plugging appliances into electric outlets.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- If you experience outlets or switches that feel warm, frequently blown fuses or tripped circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
- Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen, bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.
- Never plug a three prong appliance into a two prong outlet or extension cord.
- Have at least one working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher handy.
During the holidays:
- If you have a real Christmas tree, choose a fresh one and water it frequently. Place the tree in a stand that will not tip over and keep the tree away from heat sources and exits.
- Make sure the fireplace flue is open before starting a fire, and never burn wrappings or a Christmas tree in the fireplace.
- Keep burning candles away from decorations and other materials that can catch fire. Do not leave children unattended in a room with lighted candles.
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Severe Weather Safety Tips
Before a storm, be sure to prepare your home by following these easy tips.
- Take shelter in permanent, enclosed structures. Avoiding unsafe areas such as gazebos, picnic shelters, baseball dugouts and bleachers.
- If there are no reinforced buildings in sight, take shelter in a car, truck or other hard-topped vehicle. Keep the windows closed.
- Avoid trees, golf clubs, tractors, fishing rods, bicycles and camping equipment that can attract lightning.
- Power surges from lightning can cause costly damage to home appliances or electronics. Install surge protectors or unplug electronics before storms.
- Do not travel unless necessary.
- Check to make sure furnace vents and your meters are free of ice and snow.
- Help keep pipes from freezing during low temperatures by maintaining a constant drip on faucets.
- If you are in a flood prone area, consider elevating your utilities above the base flood level.
- If a flooded area is evacuated by emergency management personnel, electricity and natural gas service will likely be shut off for safety reasons. After flooding recedes, check for the odor of gas before entering any areas. If gas is detected leave the area immediately and call 1-800-477-5050.
- Never enter a flooded basement if there is a chance the power is still on. Flooded appliances should be considered unsafe to use until inspected by a mechanical contractor. Follow all manufacturer instructions.
- Downed power lines in standing water makes for an extremely dangerous situation. Assume all downed wires are "live" and stay at least 25 feet away from them and any wet areas they may be contacting. Call Consumers Energy immediately at 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency to report downed power lines.
- Seek shelter immediately! In a permanent structure, go to the designated severe weather shelter, safe room, basement, storm cellar, or interior room on the lowest floor possible, such as a bathroom or hallway.
- Never shelter in a mobile home or trailer.
- After the tornado has passed, be alert for possible downed wires or gas leaks. Stay a safe distance away and report them to 1-800-477-5050.
- See Do1Thing.com for more preparedness tips.
If the Power Goes Out
Report an outage and check for updates on our Outage Map or by calling 1-800-477-5050. We will work to get your power back on safely and quickly.
- Stay away from all downed and sagging wires. Assume all wires are energized and deadly. Immediately report downed wires at 1-800-477-5050or to 911.
- Before cleaning up damaged trees or branches, ensure no power lines are touching them. Don't attempt to remove limbs from power lines.
- When safe to do so, visually inspect the electric service mast or cable above the electric meter from a safe distance – DO NOT touch it. Utility crews will reconnect the wires to the mast, but only after a licensed electrician has made repairs or replaced the mast or cable, if necessary.
- Keep one light "on" so you'll know when your electricity has been restored.
- If safe to leave your home, check on neighbors who may need special assistance, especially those with infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
- If you are leaving the house, turn the main breaker off to reduce the chance of appliance damage.
- Please don't interfere with utility crews while they are working so they can safely restore power as quickly as possible.
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An improperly connected generator can pose a serious risk to you, your neighbors, first responders and utility crews working to restore your power.
- Never operate a generator in your home, garage, basement or any other enclosed area. A generator needs to be at least 3 feet to 4 feet from an enclosed area and well away from doors, windows and fresh air intakes where exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide can enter the home. Proper ventilation is critical.
- Never fuel a generator when it is running. Turn the generator off and let it cool before refueling. Follow all manufacturer instructions.
For more information about generators, please see our Home Generator Safety brochure.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide is odorless, colorless, tasteless and can be deadly. The best way to protect your family is with a Carbon Monoxide detector. Carbon Monoxide detectors or alarms can be purchased at hardware stores and many grocery stores. Be sure to test alarms regularly and replace batteries often.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide
- Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do install a battery operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
- Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.
- Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, garage or near a window.
- Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
- Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
- Don't heat your house with a gas oven.
If you suspect CO poisoning and you or anyone in your family are experiencing dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, vomiting, headache and confusion, you should immediately:
- Get everyone (pets, too!) out of the house and into the fresh air.
- Call 911 for immediate medical help.
- Do not re-enter the house under any circumstance until help has arrived, your house has been investigated and the problem corrected.
- Call a qualified contractor or your gas utility to have your appliances checked.
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Appliance Safety Tips
- Safe and Efficient Use of Your Appliances
- Keep your appliances clean and maintained. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for care and operation.
- Warn your children not to play near gas appliances, especially fireplaces, stoves and ovens.
- Because natural gas needs oxygen to burn properly, be sure to keep the area around your furnace and water heater clear of items that could block air circulation.
- Keep paint, varnish, turpentine, glue, gasoline, cleaning fluids and other chemicals away from gas appliances so their vapors aren't ignited by the gas flame.
- Do not store papers or anything flammable near an appliance or your furnace.
- A Red Tag Means Danger. If a Consumers Energy employee or an appliance repair contractor determines your gas furnace or other gas appliances are not operating safely, they will be turned off and marked with a red tag. The tag serves as a warning that an appliance is unsafe and could cause injury, property damage or even death.
- For your safety, don't use the appliance until you have it repaired by a qualified contractor.
Have your furnace inspected once a year by a qualified heating contractor.
If your furnace isn't providing heat, check to see if the circuit breaker is on. If a fuse blows after being replaced, call a licensed electrician. You could have a short in the wiring. Follow all manufacturer instructions.
Important maintenance checks:
- Check for rust and corrosion on the vent pipe connected to the chimney. Make sure it's secure at both ends.
- Make sure the chimney and vent pipe are free of obstructions such as leaves, nests, snow or ice.
- Replace vents and flue pipes that have weak spots, rust or cracks. Even small openings can allow dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to collect in your home.
- Check the filter once a month. A dirty filter blocks the flow of warm air and wastes energy.
- Remove lint, dust and debris from air ducts and registers.
- Make sure the furnace door is closed when the furnace is operating.
Central Air Conditioning Tips
- Keep the area around the unit clear of leaves and debris that could block airflow.
- If you plant new shrubs, make sure they're not too close to the unit so they block airflow.
- Have your central air conditioner checked by a qualified contractor once a year.
Clothes Dryer Tips
- Always vent the dryer to the outside.
- Don't use your dryer for items made with foam rubber or plastic, or items cleaned with spot remover or other flammable products.
- If drying time seems longer than normal, call a qualified contractor to inspect your dryer.
- Repeated movement of your dryer can cause the flexible fuel line on the back to crack, resulting in a gas leak. At least once a year, check and replace rusty or damaged hoses and connectors. Be sure the fuel line valve is in the "off" position before replacing the tubing or call a qualified heating contractor.
Outdoor Grill Tips
- Shut off the gas before you clean, paint or perform maintenance work.
- Before using your gas grill, make sure all connections are secure and the hoses don't have any cracks or holes.
- Make sure the grill's burners and the tubes from the burner to the gas valve are clear. Spiders and other small insects that can get into your gas grill overnight could block the gas flow.
- Keep the lid open when you light your grill to prevent gas from collecting and causing a sudden flare-up.
- Empty the grease container often to prevent buildup on the bottom of the grill.
Supplemental Heating Tips
It is most economical to use a home’s furnace to heat large areas and multiple rooms; however an electric space heater can be a good way to heat a small area.
Electric space heater safety tips:
- When purchasing an electric space heater, make sure it has an Underwriters Laboratories
- Follow all manufacturer instructions.
- If the appliance has a three-prong plug, plug it directly into the wall outlet. The third prong
grounds the appliance and prevents shocks.
- Some extension cords may not be able to handle the amount of electricity
required to operate the appliance safely and could cause a fire.
- Keep the heater away from curtains, drapes and bedspreads or anything flammable.
- Keep the heater away from water and never touch the heater when you’re wet.
- Always unplug the heater before you go to bed or leave home.
- Don't use or store flammable paints, chemicals, gasoline and aerosol sprays near your heater. The vapors could ignite and cause a fire.
- Do not use the space heater if the cord is frayed or damaged.
- Never use a space heater in place of your home heating system.
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- Follow all manufacturer instructions.
- Be sure the manufacturer's anti-tip device is installed properly.
- Never use your stove or oven to heat your home.
- Movement of your gas stove or oven can cause the flexible fuel line on the back to crack, resulting in a gas leak. At least once a year, check and replace rusty or damaged hoses and connectors. Be sure the fuel line valve is in the "off" position before replacing the tubing or call a qualified heating contractor.
Water Heater Tips
- Set the temperature on your water heater at 120 degrees or lower. Water that's too hot can cause severe burns. Children and the elderly are most sensitive to hot water.
- Don't use or store flammable paints, chemicals, gasoline and aerosol sprays near your water heater. The vapors could ignite and cause a fire.
- When installing a water heater wrap, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Cut out access to the controls, thermostat, drain and pilot light.
- Make sure the water heater wrap doesn't block air supply areas, including the bottom of the heater and vent connections.
Identifying a Consumers Energy Employee
To help protect yourself and your home from scam artists or imposters, follow these precautions:
If someone comes to your door when you have not requested a specified service, such as a furnace inspection, ask for company picture identification
- Never open your door to a suspicious person.
- Do not give cash to anyone for work you have not requested.
- Call your local police if you feel threatened.
- Report any suspicious activity to local police.
- Note the description of the person(s) for police, but do so from a safe distance.
- Get a description of any vehicles that were used; again, do this from a safe distance.
For your safety:
- All of our employees carry photo identification.
- To verify an individual is a Consumers Energy employee, ask to see an ID or call 1-800-477-5050.
- Some employees use their own vehicles with a magnetic sign of the Consumers Energy logo.
- Meter readers use a small, handheld device to read meters and record usage.
- Contractors authorized to perform work for Consumers Energy also carry photo identification.
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