Get the Word Out About Safe Use of Supplemental Heat

With the snow and cold outside, now’s the time to remind people to take precautions when using supplemental heat inside their homes. Help us get the word out by using the following short messages as a safety reminder in social media or community newsletters:

  • Never use a cooking stove as your main heat source as it may be a safety hazard or cause a fire.
  • Gas-fired or kerosene-fired space heaters should not be used in small, enclosed areas due to the potential of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The home’s furnace continues to be the most economical way to heat large areas and multiple rooms. If your residents choose to use an electric space heater to provide supplemental heat to a small area, remind them of these safety tips:

  • When purchasing an electric space heater, make sure it has an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Heating ducts and water pipes in unheated areas should be wrapped with insulation.

Here are some additional cold weather tips, in a 140 characters or less, that you can share with your residents:

  • If water pipes become frozen, never use electric appliances (such as hair dryers) to remedy the situation.
  • To maximize the warmth in your home, open curtains on sunny days, and close doors of unused rooms like the attic or basement.
  • Get an online energy analysis of your home & detailed recommendations to reduce energy costs at http://www.consumersenergy.com/eeprograms