Don’t Let a Silent Killer into Your Home This Winter

LINCOLN, Neb.— JoAnn and her husband just had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right.

They weren’t feeling that great and noticed that when they were going through their daily routine, their appliances didn’t seem to be working quite right.

So, they called their local Black Hills Energy natural gas service technician to take a look.

It turns out, it was a call that saved their lives.

The couple’s home exhaust vents were clogged. This, coupled with a small leak in their kitchen stove and lack of carbon monoxide detectors in the house, led to a buildup of the hazardous gas in their home.

Simple steps in an annual maintenance routine — like adding or checking batteries in CO detectors and having the vent swept — could have allowed the family to catch the issues long before they felt any physical signs of a problem.

“Natural gas is a clean, safe fuel that keeps more than 70 million homes and business warm,” said Jeff Sylvester, vice president of Nebraska operations for Black Hills Energy. “But it’s vital to make sure that systems that keep you warm and safe in your home are inspected and doing their job well.”

As the weather keeps getting colder, here are some tips to keep you and your family safe:

*Hire a certified professional to perform an annual heating system inspection.
*Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors and have them inspected regularly. That includes making sure their batteries are fresh.
*Watch for signs of a carbon monoxide leak that can include:
o Flu-like symptoms, including a scratchy throat, runny nose, headache, drowsiness or nausea
o Frosted windows because of excessive humidity or a draft from the front of the furnace when it is not turned on

If you think you have a carbon monoxide leak, get out of your home immediately. Once you’re safe, call 911 or Black Hills Energy’s emergency service line — 800-694-8989 — from your cell phone or nearby location.

Courtesy Melissa Garcia