12/21/2017 13:19 EST | Updated 12/22/2017 12:30 EST

Carbon Monoxide Leak Prevention Tips To Make Sure One Doesn't Ruin Your Holiday

And take your life.


Most of us have enough to think about during the holiday season, but seriously, don't forget about carbon monoxide safety.

You likely have an alarm already, maybe as a combination carbon monoxide/fire alarm. But unlike smoke, the gas is invisible, odourless and tasteless, and it can build up quickly in confined spaces if you're not careful.

During the holidays, it can be tempting to run several appliances at once, but anything that burns fuel, including a gas stove, water heater, furnace, barbecue, space heater and even a portable generator can produce carbon monoxide when they don't have enough oxygen.

So make sure you get them inspected every year, Ashley Gocken, brand and PR manager with First Alert, a U.S. company that makes alarms, told HuffPost Canada.

"I would recommend doing this before the holidays, to help ensure that if you do have loved ones visiting, that they're safe, if they're staying over," she said.

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Also make sure that you test your alarm so it works.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting and chest pain. In extreme cases, it can lead to death.

If the alarm does sound, get out of your house, get some fresh air, and call 911, regardless of whether or not you have symptoms.

This B.C. power and gas company has some tips to prevent you and your family from being exposed, including making sure outside air ducts are clear and opening dampers on wood fireplaces.

Gocken also says that you should make sure your car's exhaust pipe isn't clogged with snow, and never leave your car running in the garage, even if the door is open.

Also, if there's a power outage and you're using a portable electric generator, run it at least 15 feet from the house — never inside.

These might seem like obvious tips, but people have died from home exposure. It can be easy to forget when you get busy, but that's no excuse.

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