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Beware of Hidden Dangers Inside Your Home

Jan 4, 2023

When frigid temperatures become dangerous outside, it’s important to remember the dangers that may be inside your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning is most prevalent during the winter months. Remember these tips to keep your family safe.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Contamination

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced when combustion of any fuel takes place without sufficient oxygen and proper venting. You can’t see or smell it, so carbon monoxide can accumulate unnoticed and cause illness or death.

  • DO NOT use a charcoal grill indoors — even in a fireplace.
  • DO NOT sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
  • DO NOT use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
  • DO NOT run a vehicle or fuel-burning equipment in an enclosed space, including portable generators in garages.
  • DO NOT ignore headaches, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and flu-like symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling ill.
  • DO put a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Position these detectors in an open area where they will not be covered by furniture or draperies.
  • DO inspect natural gas appliances. Gas appliance flames should appear mostly blue. A yellow flame may indicate the appliance isn’t burning properly and could be giving off harmful fumes or carbon monoxide.

Generator Safety

Operate portable generators outdoors in a well-ventilated area, away from doors, windows, and vents, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not run a generator in a garage, even with the door open. Observe the generator manufacturer’s safety operating instructions and information on how to avoid electrocution. Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This creates an electrocution risk and is extremely dangerous for utility workers and neighbors served by the same electric transformer.

Outdoor Natural Gas Equipment

Extra precautions may be necessary to keep outdoor natural gas equipment cleared and working efficiently.

  • Chimneys and vents for gas appliances must be cleared following a major snow or ice storm to enable proper venting and to prevent carbon monoxide accumulation.
  • Snow and ice falling from roofs can block regulators and relief valves, preventing them from functioning properly.
  • Combustion air vents must be cleared of snow and ice to prevent carbon monoxide accumulation or operational problems.
  • Use a broom to sweep ice and snow away from your gas meter.
  • Never use a shovel or kick the meter to break or clear ice. Damages to the meter could cause serious problems.

Smell Natural Gas? Act Fast!

The smell of natural gas, or rotten eggs, is an indication your equipment may not be operating properly and needs repair. Always ACT FAST if you detect a natural gas leak. City Utilities will quickly check suspected leaks at no cost. Leaks can be reported anonymously. Call City Utilities’ 24-hour emergency hotline at (417) 863-9000 and 911 to check a suspected leak.

For more tips, click here.