Michigan winters can be brutal.  That’s why Michigan Gas Utilities (MGU) is sharing simple steps for customers to keep safe and warm.

Space heater safety: Only use newer models with safety features like automatic shut-off. Keep it at least 6 feet away from flammable materials like drapes or blankets. Plug heaters directly into the wall, not into extension cords or power strips. Place the heater on a flat surface away from children and pets.

Prevent carbon monoxide dangers: Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and learn the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Keep it clear: Remove snow or ice from your home’s natural gas meters and appliance vents with your hands or a broom. A buildup can clog vents, trapping carbon monoxide indoors, or damage the meter’s piping.

Oven safety: Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Not only is it inefficient, it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

A woman looking out of a window during winter.

Let the sun in: Open curtains or blinds when the sun is out to help warm your home. Close them at night to help retain heat and cut down on drafts.

Bundle up: Add a layer instead of turning up the thermostat. A sweater, blanket or long underwear will help keep you warm without adding to your energy use.

Be prepared: MGU works tirelessly to deliver safe, reliable service to its customers, but natural gas outages can occur in extreme weather. Be prepared by assembling an emergency kit with blankets, flashlights and battery-powered chargers for your cellphones.

Energy assistance: MGU offers numerous resources for customers — including budget billing, payment plans and heating assistance.