Natural Gas Safety

Maintaining a Safe and Reliable Gas Infrastructure

DTE Energy maintains a safe and reliable natural gas delivery system. To keep it that way, we are investing in communities throughout Michigan to modernize our gas infrastructure to ensure safety and reliability for many years to come.

Natural Gas Leaks

Natural gas leaks are dangerous. It’s important that you know how to recognize and report a gas emergency.

Natural gas is odorless and colorless. We add a harmless substance to it so that it smells like rotten eggs, thereby making it easier to detect a natural gas leak.

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Natural Gas Pipeline Safety
DTE Energy’s Pipeline Integrity management program, in conjunction with federal and state regulations, ensures that our natural gas network is regularly inspected and maintenance work is performed, such as leak surveys and corrosion control. This program enhances our existing initiatives to maintain a safe, reliable transmission pipeline system.

In 2016, we will inspect nearly 10,000 miles of pipeline and upgrade almost 100 miles to further ensure safety and reliability. All mains and service lines are surveyed at least every three years and cast iron mains are surveyed once every year.

To learn even more, download one of the following brochures:

How to Identify a Pipeline
DTE Energy has a network of underground natural gas pipelines throughout Michigan that safely and reliably delivers natural gas to 1.2 million homes and businesses. Since buried pipelines are out of sight, it’s easy to forget about them. Sometimes, pipelines are indicated by ground markers (shown above), but often they are not. DTE Energy uses these markers to indicate approximate, but not exact, locations of pipelines. To help keep you safe, contact MISS DIG at 811 or missdig811.org prior to digging or excavation.

Possible Signs of a Natural Gas Leak

  • A blowing or hissing sound.
  • Dust blowing from a hole in the ground.
  • Continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas.
  • An odor similar to the smell of rotten eggs.
  • Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area.
  • Abnormally dry or hardened soil.
  • Flames, if a leak has ignited.

If a Pipeline Leak or Emergency Occurs

  • Do not start up or shut down any machinery, vehicles or equipment in or near the area.
  • Do not smoke, light matches or use a lighter. Avoid the use of all open flames.
  • Do not use any telephones (including cell phones), doorbells, light switches, pagers or any other electrical equipment.
  • Evacuate occupants from the building and/or area.
  • Immediately call DTE Energy’s pipeline emergency hotline at 800.363.9541.* Be sure to use an outside phone that is a good distance away from the leak area.
  • Keep people at a safe distance from the area.
  • Remember, upwind of a leak is the safest place to be.
  • Do not attempt to stop the leak. If the gas is burning, let it burn. Do not attempt to extinguish the flame. Burning gas will not explode.

*If you are a DTE Energy customer experiencing a non-pipeline gas emergency (such as a gas leak inside your home or business) call 800.947.5000.

Do Your Part to Increase Natural Gas Safety

Here are a few rules to follow to help keep you and your family safe when using natural gas.

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions in the care and operation of gas-fired appliances.
  • Have qualified contractors handle natural gas-related repair and installation jobs.
  • Keep all combustible materials away from the flame of your gas appliances.
  • Keep burners and surrounding surfaces clean.
  • Make sure the flues of automatically controlled appliances are corrosion-free, securely attached, and correctly vented.
  • Don’t use gas fuel lines as clotheslines.
  • Don’t block furnace room air vents. Gas appliances require air to burn fuel completely and operate efficiently. A yellowish flame can signal improper operation.
  • Teach children never to turn on or light gas appliances.

If the pilot flame on a natural gas appliance goes out, shut off the gas supply at the appliance’s valve and allow time for accumulated gas to escape. Follow the relight procedure posted on the appliance. If you have any doubts about the relighting procedure, call us at 800.477.4747.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness

Natural gas is safe, reliable and clean. Like other fossil fuels it can produce carbon monoxide (CO) if it does not burn completely. Make sure your home and business is using natural gas properly, especially in fall and winter when we run furnaces in cold weather.

Keep Your Meter Clear

As a Michigander, you know winter can be tough. In fact, snow and ice build up on your natural gas meter may interfere with its operation, cause damage and result in a potential safety hazard. Heavy snow and ice sliding off the edge of a roof can easily damage a meter below. They can also block the exhaust and air intakes of natural gas appliances increasing your risk of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure.

Provide easy access to your natural gas meter at all times in the event of an emergency and to accommodate service visits and periodic safety inspections.

Safeguard your home or business during the winter season by following these precautions:

  • Be careful using a shovel, snow blower or snowplow when clearing snow and ice near your natural gas meter.
  • Keep your natural gas meter and equipment free of snow and ice by carefully removing accumulations by hand, brush or broom.
  • Do not use sharp objects, salt, ice melting chemicals or hot water to remove snow and ice.
  • Look up! Cautiously remove ice hanging from roof edges above your natural gas meter.
  • Clear your natural gas appliance vents and air intakes of potential obstructions.
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Call Before You Dig
Natural gas service lines that supply gas to homes and businesses are often buried in easements and on private property. Sharp tools can damage these lines, causing injury or loss of service.

If you are planning to excavate by hand or with power equipment, contact MISS DIG at 811 or missdig811.org at least three business days prior to starting your project. To learn more, visit the DTE Energy MISS DIG page.

Sight

  1. Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area.
  2. Abnormally dry or hardened soil.
  3. Continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas.

Sound

  1. A blowing or hissing sound.

Smell

  1. Presence of a rotten egg odor.

Other Signs

  • Dust blowing from a hole in the ground.
  • Flames, if a leak has ignited.

  • Do not start up or shut down any machinery, vehicles or equipment in or near the area.
  • Do not smoke, light matches or use a lighter. Avoid the use of all open flames.
  • Do not use any electrical devices near the affected leak area, including appliances, doorbells, garage door openers, light switches, landlines and mobile phones.
  • Leave the area at once and go to a location where you no longer smell natural gas, outside of the home or building.
  • Call DTE Energy’s 24-hour Gas Leak hotline at 800.947.5000 immediately to report the situation.
  • Do not attempt to locate the leak.
  • Do not re-enter the building until DTE Energy says it is safe to do so.

  1. Furnace
  2. Water Heater
  3. Dryer
  4. Grill
  5. Stove
  6. Car
  7. Natural Gas Fireplace
  8. Blocked Vents or Chimney
  9. Generator
  10. Gas Space Heater

DTE recommends an annual inspection of all your natural gas appliances.


CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is hazardous because it can prevent you from breathing in the oxygen needed to survive. If you suspect a carbon monoxide problem, act immediately to protect yourself and others.


Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are similar to those of a cold or the flu.


  • Immediately leave the building and get into fresh air.
  • If necessary, seek medical assistance.
  • Call DTE Energy at 800.947.5000 to have an emergency inspection performed.
  • Do not re-enter the building until it is determined safe by a qualified professional.

Do

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on a wall or ceiling near all sleeping areas in your home to detect the presence of carbon monoxide. For businesses, install carbon monoxide detectors in main areas away from vents and appliances or equipment that produce smoke or steam.
  • Make sure natural gas appliances are properly installed, vented and maintained.
  • Have a professional maintenance check of your furnace and other fuel-burning appliances annually.
  • Schedule a yearly inspection of your flues, vents and chimneys to ensure they are clear of debris and in proper working condition.
  • Keep the area around your heating equipment clean and unblocked to allow proper airflow.
  • Keep all furnace compartment doors in place and secure.
  • Schedule a yearly inspection of all your natural gas appliances.

Don't

  • Do not use a natural gas range or oven to heat your home or business.
  • Do not operate a generator inside your home, garage or other enclosed building.
  • Do not operate a vehicle, lawn mower or grill in a closed garage or use an outdoor grill inside the home or business.
  • Do not sleep in a room with an unvented natural gas or kerosene space heater.
  • Do not use a wood-burning fireplace and furnace simultaneously for long periods of time. This can cause back drafting.
  • Do not hang objects on natural gas lines inside your home or business.

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