Following last weekend's heavy snowfall across the majority of the state, Consumers Energy is asking residents 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.

Scott Bartholomew, manager of customer home and commercial services for Consumers, says "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 the furnace pilot lights to go out."

Consumers Energy offers these safety tips:

  • Mobile 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.
  • High Efficiency Furnace customers: Make sure the fresh air intake pipes (typically two white plastic pipes that come out of the side of the home) are free from drifting snow to prevent obstructions and improper operation.

 

 

 

  • Keep 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 the proper operation. Snow should be removed by hand and never with a shovel or power equipment.

Bartholomew also warns that removal of snow and ice around chimneys and intake valves can help prevent possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide - colorless and odorless - can be produced when the appliances aren't operating or venting properly. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can often mimic the flu and cause headaches, nausea, fatigue and dizziness.