Install carbon monoxide detectors

Before your home is full of company this holiday season, install carbon monoxide detectors.

Any home with a gas furnace, fireplace or other fuel-burning appliances should be equipped with at least one carbon monoxide detector to alert its occupants to the presence of gas.

You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, which is a potential byproduct of burning fossil fuels.

Here are some safety guidelines:

  • If you install only one carbon monoxide detector, put it near the bedrooms so it can alert your family to wake up in case levels of the gas reach an unhealthy level. Better: Place a detector on every floor of the house. If your home has bedrooms on more than one level, install a detector near each sleeping area.
  • Keep your  detectors at least 15 feet away from a gas stove or oven, which may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide on startup.
  • Detectors don’t operate properly in humid areas like the bathroom.
  • Replace the batteries in your alarms twice a year.
  • Properly maintain your gas appliances, including the furnace and stove. Same goes for devices that use gasoline.
  • Know the warning signs of too much carbon monoxide in the house: Stuffy, stale air; condensation on windows; yellow burner flames on the stove; and fluttering or extinguishing pilot lights.
  • If you see the signs or your alarm sounds, turn off suspect appliances, open doors and windows, and call a natural gas contractor to inspect the equipment. Even better: Get out of the house.
  • If your garage is connected to your house, avoid idling your car. Car exhaust is a source of carbon monoxide.