GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The coldest weather of the season is settling upon West Michigan and Consumers Energy is offering tips to homeowners to keep their family safe and warm.
Residents are encouraged to have an audible carbon monoxide alarm in their home. Poisonings from this colorless, odorless toxic gas are most prevalent in the winter when furnaces are operating and doors and windows are shut.
Make sure furnaces are operating efficiently and safely by having them inspected and tuned annually. Also make sure to replace furnace filters monthly during cold weather, especially if pets are in the home.
You should also keep flammable materials such as clothing and boxes away from the furnace and keep space heaters away from curtains, furniture, clothing and other flammable materials. Unplug space heaters before leaving the room or going to sleep.
Officials advise people should never use a stove top or oven or charcoal grill to heat your home or use a generator inside a home, basement or garage. Keep them outdoors at least 25 feet from the home.
If you or someone you know is facing hardships with their energy bills, call 211- a free resource serving people in need of resources in all Michigan counties.
Consumers Energy has a variety of programs for those in need. Customers should call 800-477-5050 for payment options and assistance programs.