At the beginning of the year, it's a great idea to check all the smoke detectors in your home, and replace batteries as necessary. That's not the only detector you need though. Aside from a fire, carbon monoxide (CO) is something else to think about. This gas is colorless, tasteless, odorless, and is lethal in high concentrations. CO is produced by many of your household appliances, and if they aren't working properly or aren't properly ventilated, CO can build up in the air leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. This can cause symptoms similar to the flu, including headaches, nausea, and fatigue, and prolonged exposure may result in brain damage and even death. Since it's the number one cause of accidental deaths in the US (500 a year), it's important to know if the CO levels in your home are safe.
To be sure, install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. You can get one that plugs into an outlet ($49), or they also make Combo Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors ($48). If you're only installing one, put it where the majority of you sleep. If you can afford it, put one on every level for added safety. I am curious if you have a CO detector in your home. Tell me in the comments section below.