The winter is the peak time for carbon monoxide exposures, since the cold weather means homes are often sealed up tight.

Carbon monoxide gases result from the burning of wood, natural gas, oil, and kerosene. It is odorless and colorless, which means home owners wouldn’t know its presence unless they had a detector to alert them to when levels get dangerous inside their home.

Carbon monoxide can be deadly. When gas levels get high, home owners may start to experience a headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, vomiting, and shortness of breath. If carbon monoxide is ever suspected, home owners should leave the home immediately and then call 911.

Carbon monoxide is light so it can rise with warm air inside the home. Experts recommend placing a carbon monoxide detector or alarm on a wall about five feet above the floor or on the ceiling. Also, experts recommend having a detector on every floor on a home.

“Never put one close to a fireplace or gas stove or an oven that produces a flame,” according to an article at The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Keep the detector 15 feet from furnaces or water heaters; close proximity likely will set off the alarm. Detectors should not replace smoke alarms but, rather, be used in concert with them.”

Experts also recommend having a backup battery in carbon monoxide detectors, since some of the most common situations where the gas can be dangerous is during power outages.

Source: “In Winter, Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are a Must,” The Philadelphia Inquirer