I'm lucky that Kathy Burke walks her dog and has an excellent sense of smell. If it weren't for that, my wife Dianne and I might have made the obituary section this week.
Kathy is our neighbor. The other day she was walking Egan after work and she noticed what she thought was a gas smell around our houses. So she called MG&E. When the gas company guy showed up he traced the smell to our house and specifically our basement, where he found carbon monoxide readings way above safe levels. (The next morning our new furnace installer got readings of 18,000 ppm. He told us 200 ppm was considered a problem. So, we had a problem times 90.)
The MG&E guy red-flagged our twenty-year-old furnace and told us we could stay in the house only if we turned it off overnight.
So, we put on an extra blanket and the next day we got ourselves a new furnace, which burns more efficiently, comes with a humidifier, oh, and doesn't emit deadly amounts of carbon monoxide. So, that's a nice plus. We're also on our way to getting one of those carbon monoxide detectors for our bedroom, something we should have had all along.
Too much of this gas in your home can lead to headaches and nausea on a scale that is usually only experienced while viewing episodes of The Biggest Loser. Exposure to even moderate amounts over a long period of time could lead to getting your name in the paper with an invitation to the visitation and lunch in the church basement to follow.
Since we might have awakened dead the next morning had it not been for our neighbor's vigilance, Dianne and I gave Kathy Burke a nice bottle of red wine with a note that said she had saved our lives and also cost us $3,000 and some change, but on balance we were still grateful.
Seriously though, this is a problem. So the idea is to get your furnace serviced every year and get one of those detectors. Learn more by checking out a safety guide provided by MG&E.